A semianalytical method for two-phase flowback rate-transient analysis in shale gas reservoirs

Fengyuan Zhang, Hamid Emami-Meybodi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


We propose a new semianalytical method for analyzing flowback water and gas production data to estimate hydraulic fracture (HF) properties and to quantify HF dynamics. The method includes a semianalytical flowback model, a set of two-phase diagnostic plots, and a workflow to evaluate initial fracture volume and permeability, as well as fracture compressibility and permeability modulus. The flowback model incorporates two-phase water and gas flow in both HF and matrix domains and considers variations of fluid and rock properties with pressure. The HF domain is modeled by boundary-dominated flow, whereas an infinite-acting linear flow is assumed for the matrix domain. The flowback model is developed by assigning the variable average pressure in the fracture as the inner boundary condition for matrix according to Duhamel’s principle. The average pressure in the fracture and distance of investigation (DOI) in the matrix are calculated from a modified material-balance equation by updating the matrix DOI as well as phase saturation and relative permeability in both the fracture and matrix domains. A modified DOI equation is used for two-phase flow in the matrix, which considers the pressure-dependent fluid and rock properties in pseudotime. The diagnostic plots shed light on the identification of flow regimes during the coupled two-phase flow in both fracture and matrix. The proposed workflow quantifies the HF dynamics through the loss of both fracture volume and fracture permeability by reconciling flowback and long-term production data. The accuracy of the new method is tested against numerical simulations conducted by a commercial numerical simulator. The validation results confirm that the proposed method accurately predicts initial fracture volume, permeability, and permeability modulus. Further, we use production data from a multifractured horizontal well (MFHW) drilled in Marcellus Shale to test the practicality of the proposed method. The results show a significant reduction in fracture volume and permeability during production attributable to the HF closure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1599-1622
Number of pages24
JournalSPE Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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