Production Forecasts and Reserves Estimates in Unconventional Resources

Disciplines: Reservoir

Course Description

This course will provide training in production forecasting and reserves estimation for low-permeability resource plays (such as shales) using simple, rapidly applied decline models favored by the industry for routine forecasting. Recommended methodology will be based on fundamental fluid flow theory rather than only on experience with different modeling techniques. The course will conclude with a comparison of decline models and a suggested workflow applicable to a wide variety of models and soundly grounded in fundamentals.


  • Fluid flow fundamentals
  • Empirical and semi-theoretical decline models including Arps, Fetkovich, Stretched Exponential, Power-Law, Transient Linear Flow, and Duong
  • Diagnostic plots for flow regime identification, pressure normalization of rate data, recommended workflow for pressure-rate-time production data analysis
  • Typical Well Production Profile (Type Well, aka Type Curve) construction

Learning Level


Course Length

2 days

Why Attend

There are various ways to forecast production and estimate the size of unconventional oil and gas reservoirs. In this course, you will learn the strengths and weaknesses of each decline model and how to develop reliable forecasts.

Who Attends

The course will be particularly important for reservoir engineers interested in production forecasting in low permeability reservoirs using techniques that lead to the ability to forecast production for large numbers of wells in short periods of time. Other engineers, geoscientists, reserves analysts, and managers of low-permeability assets will also deepen their understanding of both appropriate and inappropriate forecasting techniques and how to select appropriate methodology.


1.6 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) are awarded for this course.

Additional Resources

This course has supplemental books located in our SPE Bookstore entitled Estimation and Classification of Reserves of Crude Oil, Natural Gas, and Condensate and Unconventional Gas and Tight Oil Exploitation. Please check out these valuable resources!

Cancellation Policy

All cancellations must be received no later than 14 days prior to the course start date. Cancellations made after the 14-day window will not be refunded. Refunds will not be given due to no show situations.

Training sessions attached to SPE conferences and workshops follow the cancellation policies stated on the event information page. Please check that page for specific cancellation information.

SPE reserves the right to cancel or re-schedule courses at will. Notification of changes will be made as quickly as possible; please keep this in mind when arranging travel, as SPE is not responsible for any fees charged for cancelling or changing travel arrangements.

We reserve the right to substitute course instructors as necessary.



W. John Lee holds the DVG Endowed Chair in petroleum engineering at Texas A&M University. Prior to this position, he held the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished University Chair at the University of Houston’s petroleum engineering program from 2011 to 2015. Still earlier, Lee was a professor of petroleum engineering at Texas A&M from 1977 to 2011. He was the former executive vice president of S.A. Holditch & Associates, where he specialized in reservoir engineering for unconventional gas reservoirs. He served as an Academic Engineering Fellow with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Washington during 2007–2008, and was a principal architect of the new SEC rules for reporting oil and gas reserves.

Prior to beginning his career in academia, Lee managed Exxon’s Major Fields Study Group. He has written many technical papers and four SPE textbooks: Well Testing, Gas Reservoir Engineering, Pressure Transient Testing, and Applied Well Test Analysis. Lee is an Honorary Member of SPE and a member of the US National Academy of Engineering. He received his BChE, MS, and PhD degrees in chemical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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