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11/17/2016 TraditionalDeclineAnalysisTheory

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TraditionalDeclineAnalysisTheory
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ConceptualDefinitionofDeclineAnalysis
Declineanalysisisareservoirengineeringempiricaltechniquethatextrapolatestrendsintheproductiondatafromoiland
gaswells.ThepurposeofaDeclineanalysisistogenerateaforecastoffutureproductionratesandtodeterminethe
expectedultimaterecoverable(EUR)reserves.

Figure1:Rateversuscumulativegasproduction

Typically,declineanalysisisconductedonaplotofrateversustimeorrateversuscumulativeproduction(asshownin
figureabove).ThemostcommonlyusedtrendingequationsarethosefirstdocumentedbyJ.J.Arps(1945).Thefollowing
figuredemonstratesamatchtrendandextrapolationtotheEUR.

Figure2:Rateversuscumulativegasproduction

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HistoricalBackground
J.J.ArpswasanAmericangeologistwhopublishedamathematicalrelationshipfortherateatwhichoilproductionfroma
singlewelldeclinesovertime(1945).Hispapermadeseveralreferencestoexistingmethodsandtheoryaboutdecline
analysis.ReferencesincludedArnoldandAnderson(1908),W.W.Cutler(1924),H.N.Marsh(1928),andR.E.Allen
(1931).

ManycontemporarypublishedpapershavetriedtoinvestigateormodifytheArpsdeclinebasedontheoretical
derivations.However,after70years,theoriginalmethodisstillwidelyinuse.

PracticalDeclineAnalysisKeyPoints
Allproductioncanbecharacterizedashavinganinitialtransientflowperiodfollowedbyaboundarydominatedflow
period.Duringthetransientperiod,thereservoirpressureattheflowboundaryremainsconstantattheinitialreservoir
pressureandtheflowboundarymovesoutwardfromthewellthroughthereservoir.Thisportionofawellsflowis
characterizedbyveryhighdeclinerates.Whentheflowboundaryreachesanactualreservoirboundary,ormeetswitha
flowboundaryofanotherwell,thereservoirpressurebeginstodeclineandthewellenterstheboundarydominatedflow
period.Itisinthisperiodthattraditionaldeclinemethods(i.e.Arps)canbeused.

Thetransientflowperiodcanlastfortimeperiodsfromseveralminutestoseveralyears,dependinguponpermeability
andthearealextentofthereservoir.Formostconventionalproduction,thetransientflowperiodendsafterafew
days.Tighterreservoirsthathavepermeabilityinthe0.5to1.0mDrangecanhavetransientperiodsthatlastseveral
months.Reservoirsthathaveevenlowerpermeabilitiesthatrequireextensivefracturenetworkscanhavetransient
periodsthatcouldlastforseveralyears.

Onceawellhasachievedboundarydominatedflow,anotherimportantconsiderationisthesandfaceflowingpressure.For
theperiodofproductionincludedinthedeclineanalysis,thesandfaceflowingpressuremustberelativelyconstantbefore
areliablesetofdeclineparameterscanbeextracted.Factorsthataffectsandfaceflowingpressureareratecontrolled
wells,changingwellheadbackpressure,changingwellboreconfigurations,andliquidloading.

DeclineTheory
Thetheoryofalldeclinecurveanalysisbeginswiththeconceptofthenominal(instantaneous)declinerate(a),whichis
definedasthefractionalchangeinrateperunittime:

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Anotherwayofrepresentingthedeclinerateisbasedonrate(q)andthedeclineexponentconstantb.

Whenproductionisplottedasflowratevs.time,thenominaldeclinerateisequaltotheslopeatapointintimedivided
bytherateatthatpoint.

Figure3

Thebehaviouroftheproductiondatacanbecharacterizedbasedonthewayinwhichthenominaldeclineratevarieswith
rate,basedonthevalueofthedeclineexponentconstantb.

Exponentialb=0

Hyperbolicbisavalueotherthan0or1

Harmonicb=1

Exponential
Fortheexponentialcase,b=zero.Thedeclineratecanbeshownas:

Wherekisaconstantequaltoa/qbatinitialconditions:

Asthedeclinerateremainsconstant,theintegrationoftheequationfordeclinerateresultsin:

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Therefore,aplotofflowratevs.time,withratesettoalogarithmicaxis,willresultinastraightline.

Thecumulativeproductionisdefinedas:

Therefore,aplotofflowratevs.cumulativeproductionwillresultinastraightline.

Hyperbolic
Forthehyperboliccase,bisequaltoanynumberbetweenzeroandone.Thedeclineratecanbeshownas:

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Wherekisaconstantequaltoa/qbatinitialconditions:

Asthedeclinerateisnotconstant,thesubstitutionandintegrationoftheequationfordeclinerateresultsin:

Substituting

Thecumulativeproductionisdefinedas:

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Substituting

Itisnotedthatneitheraplotofflowratevs.timeorflowratevs.cumulativeproductionwillresultinalinearrelation
(regardlessofwhetherrateissettoaCartesianorlogarithmicaxis).

Harmonic
Theharmoniccaseisaspecialcaseoftheabovehyperboliccase,wherebisequaltoone.Thedeclineratecanbe
shownas:

Wherekisaconstantequaltoa/qbatinitialconditions:

Asthedeclinerateisnotconstant,thesubstitutionandintegrationoftheequationfordeclinerateresultsin:

Substituting

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Thecumulativeproductionisdefinedas:

Substituting

Itisnotedthataplotofflowratevs.timewillnotresultinalinearrelation(regardlessofwhetherrateissettoa
Cartesianorlogarithmicaxis).Aplotofflowratevs.cumulativeproduction,withratesettoalogarithmicaxis,willresult
inastraightline.

ExponentialDeclineRate:Nominalvs.Effective
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Whenproductionfollowsanexponentialdecline,therearetwodifferentwaysofdefiningthedeclinerate:Nominaland
Effective.

Thefirstisthenominaldeclinerate,representedbythesymbol"a".Thenominaldeclinerateisdefinedas:

Thenominaldeclinerateisusedtocalculatetheratedeclineataspecifictime.Foragiventime,theequationforrate
usingnominaldeclineis:

Thesecondistheeffectivedeclinerate,representedbythesymbol"d".Theeffectivedeclinerate,foraparticulartime
period(typicallyoneyear),isdefinedas:

Theeffectivedeclinerateisusedtocalculatetheratedeclineforparticulartimeperiods.Foronetimestep,theequation
forrateusingeffectivedeclineis:

Notethatthetimeintervalisincludedintheequationforrateusingeffectivedecline,butisexplicitlystatedinthe
equationforrateusingnominaldecline.

Althoughtheequationsfornominalandeffectivedeclineratesaredifferentfromoneanother,thereisarelationshipthat
willgivethesameanswerforq2providedthetimeintervalsbetweenq1andq2arethesame.Therelationshipbetween
thetwoisgivenby:

Note:Theaboveequationisonlyvalidfortheexponentialequations.

Thedifferencebetweenthetwodeclineratesisillustratedbelow.Ineffect,thenominaldeclinerateisrelatedtothe
instantaneousslopeoftheline,whereastheeffectivedeclineratederivesfromthechordsegmentapproximatingthat
slope.Also,theratebywhichtheslopeisdividedisdifferentinstantaneousrate(q)isusedinthecaseofnominal
decline,whereastheprecedingrate(q1)isusedinthecaseofeffectivedecline.

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Figure4:ComparisonofNominalDeclineandEffectiveDecline

Theeffectivedeclineratetypicallyariseswhendealingwithflowratedataintabularratherthangraphicalformat.The
differencebetweenthenominalandeffectivedeclineratesisverysmallwhenthenominaldeclinerateissmall,butas
thenominaldeclinerategetslargerthedifferencebetweenthetwoincreases.Itisthereforeimportanttousethesevalues
correctly.

ModifiedHyperbolicDecline
Extrapolationofhyperbolicdeclinesoverlongperiodsoftimefrequentlyresultsinunrealisticallyhighreserves.Toavoid
thisproblem,ithasbeensuggestedthatatsomepointintimethehyperbolicdeclinebeconvertedintoanexponential
decline(Robertson).Thus,assumethatforaparticularexample,thedeclineratestartsat30%anddecreasesthrough
timeinahyperbolicmanner.Whenitreachesaspecifiedvalue,10%forexample,thehyperbolicdeclinecanbe
convertedtoanexponentialdecline,andtheforecastcontinuedusingtheexponentialdeclinerateof10%.

LimitedDeclineRate
Thelimiteddeclineratebeginsasahyperbolicdeclinecurveandtransitionsintoanexponentialdeclinecurveata
specifiedlimitingeffectivedeclinerate,dlim.Thelimitingeffectivedeclinerateisconvertedtoalimitingnominaldecline
rate,alim,andthefollowingratetimeequationsareappliedintheanalysis:

where:

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Thelimiteddeclineratecanalsobeexpressedasratecumulativeproductionusingthefollowingequations.

Forb>1:

Forb=1:

Valuesofb>1

Avalueofb=0correspondstoexponentialdecline,valuesofb>0and<1correspondtohyperbolicdecline,andavalue
ofb=1correspondstoharmonicdecline.Valuesofb>1arenotconsistentwithdeclinecurvetheory,buttheyare
sometimesencountered,andtheirmeaningisexplainedbelow.

Declinecurveanalysisisbasedonempiricalobservationsofproductionratedecline,andnotontheoreticalderivations.
Attemptstoexplaintheobservedbehaviourusingthetheoryofflowinporousmedialeadtothefactthattheseempirically
observeddeclinesarerelatedtoboundarydominatedflow.Whenawellisplacedonproduction,therewillbetransient
flowinitially.Eventually,allofthereservoirboundarieswillbefelt,anditisonlyafterthistimethatdeclinecurveanalysis
becomesapplicable.Duringboundarydominatedflow,thevalueof"b"liesintherangeof0to1,dependingonthe
reservoirboundaryconditionsandtherecoverymechanism.

Occasionally,declinecurveswithvaluesofb>1areencountered.Belowaresomereasonsthathavebeenpresentedto
explainthis:

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Theinterpretationiswrong,andanothervalueofb<1willfitthedata.

Thedataisstillintransientflowandhasnotreachedboundarydominatedflow.

GentryandMcCray(1978),usingnumericalsimulationshowedthatreservoirlayeringcancause
valuesofb>1.

Bailey(1982)showedthatsomefracturedgaswellsexhibitvaluesofb>1,sometimesashighas
3.5.

ArpsProductionDeclineEquationSummary
Type ExponentialDecline HyperbolicDecline HarmonicDecline
Declineisconstant Declineisproportionaltoafractionalpower(b)ofthe Declineisproportionalto
b=0 productionrate productionrate
0<b<1 b=1

RateTime

Rate
Cumulative

EUR

Copyright2014IHSInc.

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