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SPE 100993

Well Test Analysis in Lean Gas Condensate Reservoirs: Theory and Practice
A.C. Gringarten, M. Bozorgzadeh, S. Daungkaew, and A. Hashemi, SPE, Imperial College, London

Copyright 2006, Society of Petroleum Engineers


This paper was prepared for presentation at the 2006 SPE Russian Oil and Gas Technical
Conference and Exhibition held in Moscow, Russia, 36 October 2006.
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Abstract
Gas condensate reservoirs exhibit a complex behavior when
wells are produced below the dew point, due to the existence
of a two-fluid system, reservoir gas and liquid condensate.
Different mobility zones develop around the wellbore
corresponding respectively to the original gas in place (away
from the well), the condensate drop-out, and capillarity
number effects (close to the well). Condensate drop-out causes
a non-reversible reduction in well productivity, which is
compensated in part by capillarity number effects.
All these effects can be identified and quantified from well
test data. Tests in condensate reservoirs, however, tend to be
difficult to interpret. Build-up and/or drawdown data are
usually dominated by wellbore phase redistribution effects and
the main analysis challenge is to distinguish between reservoir
effects, boundary effects, fluid behavior and wellbore phase
redistribution perturbations.
The paper compares theoretical well test behaviors in vertical
and horizontal wells as obtained from compositional
simulation with actual behaviors selected from more than
twenty different gas condensate reservoirs. An interpretation
methodology is described, which uses time-lapse analyses,
deconvolution and different analytical and numerical tools to
identify the probable causes of the pressure data behavior:
two-region and three-region analytical composite models to
represent the various mobility zones around the wellbore; a
voronoi-grid numerical simulator to represent discontinuous
boundaries; a multilayered analytical simulator to account for
the geological description and a compositional simulator to

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verify the fluid behavior. It is shown that, in addition to the


usual well test analysis results, it is possible to obtain
parameters required for reservoir simulation and well
productivity forecasting, such as gas relative permeabilities at
the end point, critical oil saturation, and the base capillary
number.
Introduction
Gas condensate reservoirs are becoming more common as
deeper depths are being targeted in the exploration for oil and
gas. The behaviors of such systems are complex and are still
not fully understood, especially in the near-wellbore region.
Well tests, in particular, are difficult to interpret.
A discussion of the state-of-the-art in gas condensate well
test interpretation was published in 2000 by Gringarten et al1.
with an extensive review of the related literature. To
summarize, a characteristic of gas condensate production is
the creation of a condensate bank when the bottomhole
pressure drops below the dew point2 pressure. This reduces
the gas relative permeability3 around the well and leads to a
loss of well productivity4-7, with some wells even ceasing
production completely due to condensate loading in the
wellbore5. This condensate banking effect, however, is
compensated by velocity stripping which increases the gas
mobility in the immediate vicinity of the wellbore8. Velocity
or viscous stripping (also called positive coupling)9-13
occurs at high capillarity number, a dimensionless parameter
that represents a ratio of viscous to capillary forces14,15:
Nc =

(1)

In Eq.1, represents the velocity, the viscosity, and the


interfacial tension (IFT). High capillary numbers are obtained
for high flowrate8 or low interfacial tension16.
Consequently, four regions develop around the wellbore
with different liquid saturations7,8,17,18. Away from the well, an
outer region, still above the dew point pressure, contains gas
with the initial liquid saturation; next, there is an intermediate
region with a rapid increase in liquid saturation and a
corresponding decrease in gas relative permeability. Liquid in
that region is immobile. Closer to the well, a region forms
where the liquid saturation reaches a critical value2, and the
effluent travels as a two-phase fluid with constant composition
(the condensate deposited as pressure decreases is equal to that

SPE 100993

flown towards the well). The fourth region is in the immediate


vicinity of the well and is characterized by a decrease of the
liquid saturation and an increase in gas relative
permeability4,19 at low interfacial tensions or high rates (Fig.
1).

0.1

Condensate bank region


Mobile oil zone

0.08

Velocity stripping
zone

Original So

4
start of
two-phase
zone

Critical So

0.02
0
0.1

10

100

1000

Radial distance from the well (ft)

Fig. 1: Condensate saturation profile with condensate drop-out


and velocity stripping

The existence of capillary number effects has been inferred


from numerical studies8, field production data8,9,20 and
laboratory experiments16,21. Gringarten et al.1 showed that the
corresponding near-wellbore region, the second and third
regions, and the fourth region appeared as three different
mobility zones, exhibiting a three-region radial composite
behavior in a well test (curve a in Fig. 2), when the analysis
was made in terms of a single-phase or dry-gas pseudopressure function, also called real gas potential22:
p
p
(2)
m( p ) = 2
dp
(
)
(
)
p
Z
p

p
ref

where Z is the real gas compressibility factor.

mn(p) change and derivative (psi)

103

H ig h c o n d e n s a te
s a tu r a tio n
(liq u id d r o p -o u t)

102
(b )
(a )

G a s w it h lo w e r
c o n d e n s a te s a tu r a tio n
( C a p illa r y n u m b e r e ff e c t)

10

G a s w ith in itia l
C o n d e n s a te
s a tu r a tio n
1
1 0 -3

1 0 -2

1 0 -1

10

102

ref

The Gringarten et al.s paper1 provided the first well test


evidence in the literature of the existence of the velocity
stripping zone. Previous well test publications had only
reported the existence of a condensate bank7,24-27 (zones 2 to 3
in Fig. 1) as a two-region radial composite behavior (curve b
in Fig. 2).

0.06
0.04

ref

instead of pseudo-pressure, because of its convenience: units


are the same as for pressure, and equations for well test
analysis are the same as for oil, with the gas formation volume
factor in Bbl/Mscf.

P > pdew

Immobile
oil zone

Condensate saturation (So)

Pressure < pdew

In this paper, we use a normalized single phase pseudopressure23:


p
Z
p
(3)

mn ( p) =
dp

(
)
p p p p Z ( p)

103

E la p s e d tim e ( h o u rs )

Fig. 2: Schematic of pressure and derivative composite


1
behaviors: (a) three-region composite; (b) two-region composite

The objective of this paper is to discuss the impact of the


condensate bank on well test data, to document further
examples of complex well test behaviors from a number of
lean gas condensate sandstone reservoirs and to describe an
interpretation methodology to identify the probable causes of
these behaviors. This methodology, which combines timelapse analyses, deconvolution and the use of different
analytical and numerical tools, provides parameters required
for reservoir simulation and well productivity forecasting in
addition to the usual well test analysis results.
Dynamic Behavior of the Condensate Bank
As in all complex well test situations, it is helpful to use
simulation to identify key features that can then be recognized
on actual data. The following summarizes the main findings
on the dynamic behavior of the condensate bank from
numerical compositional simulation12.
Drawdown versus build up condensate saturation
distribution
Fig. 3 presents a pressure and rate history for a lean gas
condensate well in a sandstone reservoir of infinite extent with
homogeneous behavior, and the corresponding simulated
condensate saturation distributions in the reservoir for both
drawdowns and build ups. The first drawdown, Dd1, is below
the dew point pressure and has a duration which is long
enough so that a condensate bank has time to fully develop
(zones 1 to 3 in Fig. 1). It is followed by a build up where the
final pressure is above the dew point pressure. The next
drawdown, Dd2, has a much lower rate and the pressure
remains above the dew point pressure. Subsequent drawdowns
are at increasing rates and below the dew point pressure,
whereas all build ups end above.
Fig. 3 shows that the saturation distributions in drawdowns
and build ups are only slightly different. This is because,
during a shut-in, the high accumulation of condensate mass
near the well prevents the re-vaporization of the condensate
that should occur due to the increase in pressure (hysteresis
effect)19. The condensate saturation may even be higher than

SPE 100993

while the pseudo-pressure shows a skin effect that corresponds


to the wellbore skin. Dd3 and Dd4 are the first drawdowns
where the pressure drops below the dew point pressure. The
derivatives in the following build ups, Bu3 and Bu4
respectively, still exhibit a homogeneous behavior, but the
corresponding pressures display higher total skins, which
include the wellbore skin and the effect of the condensate drop
out. This is because the condensate saturation around the well
has not yet reached the critical saturation and only zones 3 and
4 (Fig. 1) exist. Only the gas phase is produced and the
immobile condensate appears as an additional skin effect.
4000

Dew
Point
Pressure

Dd5
14
Dd4
10

1000

50

100

150

200

250

Bu4

Bu5

6
Bu3

Bu1
0

Bu2

Dd3
Dd2

300

2
0

Dd1 15MMscf/D for 200 days


Dd5 15MMscf/D for 10 days

0.20

Dd4 10MMscf/D for 10 days


End of Dd1 (200 days)
End of Bu1 (210 days)
End of Dd2 (220 days)
End of Bu2 (230 days)
End of Dd3 (240 days)
End of Bu3 (250 days)
End of Dd4 (260 days)
End of Bu4 (270 days)
End of Dd5 (280 days)
End of Bu5 (290 days)

So

0.15

0.10

Dd2
2.5MMscf/D for 10 days

0.05

Dd3 2.5MMscf/D for 10 days


0.00
10-1

10

102

103

Dd14

Dd12

Bu11

Bu12

Dd10

Dd11

Bu4

Bu3

Bu1

1000

Bu10

Dd3

Dd4

Dd1

2000

40
30

0
20
10

100

0
300

200

Time (days)

Time
(Days)
0.25

3000

104

Radial distance from well (ft)


Fig. 3: Lean gas condensate saturation distribution with
29
increasing and decreasing flow rates

Homogeneous versus composite fluid behavior


Fig. 4 shows another pressure and rate history for a similar
well-reservoir configuration, and a rate-normalized log-log
plot of the simulated normalized pseudo-pressure and
derivative curves of some of the build ups. The pressure in
the first two drawdowns, Dd1 and Dd2, remains above the
dew point pressure, whereas the pressure in all subsequent
drawdowns, from Dd5 to Dd14, is mainly below. As there is
no depletion in the reservoir, the pressure at the end of all the
build ups is above the dew point pressure. The log-log
derivative for the build up following the first drawdown, Bu1,
exhibits a homogeneous behavior, as expected from a dry gas,

Rate normalized mn(p) and Derivative (psi)

18

Dd1

2000

Flow rate (MMscf/D)

Pressure (psia)

3000

Pressure (psia)

3443

Dew point pressure

Dd2

4000

Gas Rate (MMscf/D)

during the preceding drawdown because excessive


accumulation of condensate and migration of the heavy
components towards the well changes the fluid composition
and makes the fluid to behave as a black oil28 (the gas may
dissolve into the oil, thus increasing the condensate saturation
in the vicinity of the well). Some re-vaporization does occur,
but only near the outer edge of the two-phase region, and only
if the preceding drawdown has a high production rate. The
leaner the gas and the lower the production time, production
rate and critical saturation, the smaller the saturation profile
difference between a drawdown and the subsequent build-up29.

10 4

10 3

Bu12

5 MMscf/D

Bu10

27.5 MMscf/D

Condensate bank
Bu11

10 2

30 MMscf/D

Reservoir effective permeability


Bu3

7.5 MMscf/D

Bu1

2.5 MMscf/D

Bu4

10 MMscf/D

10
10 -5

10 -4

10 -3

10 -2

10 -1

10

10 2

10 3

Elapsed time, hrs


Fig. 4: Lean gas condensate well test behavior with increasing
30
and decreasing flow rates

As production time increases, the condensate saturation


reaches a critical value and the condensate becomes mobile.
Zones 1 and 2 (Fig. 1) develop while the saturation at the
wellbore increases further (up to a maximum value). This
yields a composite behavior and a further increase in total skin
(Bu10 and Bu11).
Initially, capillary number effects create a three-region
composite well test behavior, with three derivative
stabilizations (Fig. 5). The first derivative radial flow
stabilization line develops as soon as oil becomes mobile in
the reservoir because the gas effective permeability in the
near-wellbore region is greater than that in the condensate
bank due to capillary number effects. As production continues,

SPE 100993

Condensate Saturation (So)

the oil saturation increases. Consequently, the gas effective


permeability decrease in the two-phase zone. This
permeability reduces faster in the velocity stripping zone than
elsewhere in the reservoir. Eventually, the first stabilization
line disappears when the near-wellbore gas effective
permeability becomes less than that in the mobile zone, in
which case a two-zone radial composite behavior develops,
with only two stabilizations on the derivative (after 50 days
production in Fig. 5)30.
50 days

0.12

45 days

0.10

20 days
0.08

5 days

0.06
0.04
0.02
0
0.1

10

Condensate re-vaporization with decreasing gas rate


Figs. 3 and 4 also show the effects of decreasing gas flow
rates. In Fig. 3, lowering the rate maintains the pressure above
the dew point pressure in Dd2 and causes the condensate
saturation in the near-wellbore region to decrease, as part of
the condensate accumulated near the wellbore is recovered. As
soon as the bottomhole pressure drops again below the dew
point pressure in a subsequent flow period (Dd4), oil
saturation increases near the wellbore due to renewed
condensate deposit. The bank radius (i.e. the start of the twophase zone) remains approximately constant in this particular
example. Fig. 4 shows the corresponding impact on the
pressure derivative: as the flow period Dd12 has a much lower
rate than Dd11, the condensate saturation decreases around the
wellbore, and consequently, the following build up, Bu12, has
a lower condensate stabilization level and a lower total skin
effect. In a multirate exploration test, where the pressure
during successive drawdowns may fall below or remain above
the dew point pressure, depending on the flow rate, the skin
due to the condensate may appear and disappear accordingly.

100

Radial distance from well (ft)


50
45
20
5

Field examples of condensate banking with capillary number


effects are shown in Fig. 6, where the normalized pseudopressures from Eq. 3 and derivatives are plotted versus elapsed
time on a log-log graph. For demonstration purpose, data have
been shifted vertically so that the derivatives coincide in the
condensate bank area.

days
days
days
days

2nd
stabilisation

10 2

1st
stabilisation

3rd stabilisation

10
10-5

10-4

10-3

10-2

10-1

10

102

103

Elapsed time (hrs)


Fig. 5: Impact of capillary number effects on saturation profiles
and log-log derivative shapes (10 day build-ups following
30
drawdowns with various production durations at 15MMscf/D)

The two-region composite behavior yields two stabilizations


on the derivative. The last one corresponds to the gas mobility
in the portion of the reservoir still above the dew point, i.e. it
represents the reservoir effective permeability. The first one,
at a higher level, corresponds to the lower gas relative
mobility in the condensate bank. The level of this first
stabilization depends on the condensate saturation in Zone 2
(Fig. 1) and therefore increases as the condensate saturation
increases until the condensate saturation reaches its maximum
value. This maximum condensate saturation is slightly higher
at high production rates than at low production rates, for the
same cumulative production. As production time increases at
constant rate, the maximum condensate saturation at the
wellbore and the first derivative stabilization level no longer
change, but the bank radius increases.

Rate normalized mn(p) and derivative (psi)

mn(p) Change and Derivative (psi)

Well test analysis with a composite model


10 3

G erm any
High condensate
saturation
(liquid drop-out)

Croatia

Gas with lower


condensate saturation
(Capillary num ber effect)

North Sea
Algeria
Gas with initial
Condensate
saturation

Elapsed tim e (hours)

Fig. 6: Examples of well test derivatives from different lean gas


condensate reservoirs showing condensate drop-out and velocity
stripping

The single-phase pseudo-pressure is normally used for well


test analysis in dry gas reservoirs, in an attempt to linearize the
diffusivity equation. Using it for gas condensate reservoirs
amounts to considering the gas as the dominant fluid, and the
condensate as a fluid heterogeneity. When the bottomhole
pressure drops below the dew point pressure, this creates a
fluid-induced composite behavior, as illustrated in Fig. 2, on
top of any possible geology-induced heterogeneous behavior
and/or complex well behavior, as in hydraulically fractured or
horizontal wells (Fig. 7).

SPE 100993

0.40

Increasing production
time below the dew
point pressure
at constant rate

Radial flow

0.30

0.20

slope

Above the dew


point pressure

slope
10-4

10-3

10-2

10-1

102

10

103

104

105

Elapsed time (hours)


104

Horizontal well60
Increasing production time below the
dew point pressure at increasing rate
103

Condensate Saturation

Rate normalized mn(p) and derivative (psi)

Fractured well59

Increasing production
time below the dew
point pressure
at constant rate

0.10

0
10-2

10-1

102

10

103

104

Distance perpendicular to the fracture (ft)


0.3

Increasing production
time below the
dew point pressure
at increasing rate

0.2

slope
102
0.1

10
10-4

Radial
flow

Above the dew


point pressure
10-3

10-2

10-1

10

102

103

104

Elapsed time (hours)

0
10-1

10

102

103

104

Distance perpendicular to the well (ft)

Fig. 7: Composite behaviors due to condensate banking in a


31
32
hydraulically fractured well and in a horizontal well obtained

from compositional simulation


The diffusivity equation in a gas condensate reservoir can be
further linearized33 with a two-phase pseudo-pressure
function:
p
k
k
(4)
m2 ( p) = ( rg + ro )dp

B
B
g g
o o
p
ref

S in g le -p h a s e

Sw
St
Sw
G a s w ith in itia l
c o n d e n s a te
s a tu ra tio n

max

T w o -p h a s e

k rg mn(p) and derivative (psi)

mn,2(p) and derivative (psi)

This amounts to converting the two-phase fluid into a single


fluid equivalent in the two-phase flow regions (Regions 1 to 3
in Fig. 1). As a result, the fluid-induced composite behavior
obtained with single-phase pseudo-pressures no longer exists
and any heterogeneous behavior must be due to the geology,
not to the fluid. In the case of a reservoir with homogeneous
behavior and infinite extent, a single derivative stabilization is
therefore obtained, which yields the absolute permeability.
The skin effect obtained from the corresponding analysis
represents the wellbore skin (Fig. 8). Calculation of the
integral in Eq. 4, however, is challenging, because it requires
the knowledge of the gas phase relative permeability as a
function of pressure.

E la p s e d tim e (h o u rs )
Fig. 8: Single-phase vs. two-phase pseudo-pressure formulation
max
to yield a final
(single-phase pseudo-pressures are multiplied by k rg
derivative stabilization that corresponds to the absolute permeability
instead of the effective permeability)

Assuming the durations of the analyzable flow periods are


long enough so that all the features of the composite behavior
have had time to develop, interpretation of gas condensate
pressure transient data that exhibit a two- or a three-region
radial composite behavior yields the effective reservoir
permeability and the total skin effect from the final derivative
radial flow stabilization, and the mobility or permeability
ratios between the various regions from the respective
derivative radial flow stabilizations. The radius of each
mobility zone, on the other hand, cannot be un-coupled from
the storativity ratio between that zone and the next because
analytical well test analysis methods can only account for one
set of PVT data. An independent estimate of the condensate
bank storativity is therefore required to calculate the bank
radius, the contribution of the bank to the skin effect, and the
wellbore skin effect. Bozorgzadeh and Gringarten29 have
shown that, for the analysis of build up data, the total
compressibility of the two-phase region could be obtained
from the wellbore flowing pressure at the time of shut-in and
the corresponding saturation profile. They demonstrated on
both computer-generated and real data that the calculation
procedure they proposed (Fig. 9) ensures that the condensate
bank characteristics obtained from well test analysis were
consistent with those from compositional simulation.
1. Construct an equation of state (EOS) model to predict the
actual reservoir fluid properties
2.
Tune the EOS parameters with reservoir fluid
experimental data, using the critical properties of the pseudocomponents as variables in the tuning process.
3. Generate live oil and wet gas PVT tables as a function of
pressure over the pressure range of the test, using the tuned
EOS and Whitson and Trops procedures 52 .
4. Calculate the total compressibility for the two-phase region
at the pressure and time of shut-in, using the PVT table
generated in Step 3:

Sg

Bg
ctc = (1 S w ).
S
o
Bo

dBg dRv B0 Rs Bg
+

1
dP
R
R
s
v
dp

+ S w c w + cr
dBo dRs Bg Rv Bo

dP 1 Rs Rv
dp

5. Calculate the total compressibility for the outer gas region


(where the reservoir pressure is above the dew point pressure)
at the average reservoir pressure
6. Calculate
the
storativity
ratio
compressibilities from Steps 4 and 5:

( h ct )1 / 2 =

using

the

total

ct1
ct 2

Fig. 9: Procedure to calculate the total compressibility in the


29
condensate bank

Table 1 emphasizes the dependency of the condensate bank


radius on the storativity ratio. Experience indicates that the
storativity ratios are almost always underestimated by

SPE 100993

interpreters, resulting in an overestimation of the condensate


bank radius (by up to one order of magnitude). The impact on
the wellbore skin, on the other hand, is small.
Outer zone
radius (ft)
289
103
30

(cth)bank/reservoir
0.3
1
4.9 (correct value)

Total skin
effect
20
20
20

Wellbore
skin effect
5.7
6.7
7.9

Table 1: Relationship between storativity ratio, zone radius and wellbore skin
effect for a North Sea well29

One particularity of gas condensate well tests below the dew


point pressure is that the wellbore skin effect may increase,
decrease (Fig. 10) or remain constant as the gas rate increases,
instead of increasing with rate, the expected behavior above
the dew point pressure. This reflects the balance between the
positive impact on productivity of the capillary number effect,
and the negative impact of inertia (non-Darcy or turbulent
flow).
30

25

Capillary number
effects dominate
over inertia

Wellbore skin

20

15

10

Above the dew


point pressure

Below the dew


point pressure

0
0

10

15

20

25

Gas rate (MMscf/D)

Fig. 10: Wellbore skin effect vs. rate

START
Conventional
analysis
Estimation of
pseudo-relative
permeabilities

Guess krg @ S wi

Build-up
pressure data

Single - phase
pseudo -pressure

i = 0
m

krg @ Swi

keff @ Swi

Mobility ratio of
bank to reservoir

Base
capillary
number

(k abs )i
k eff

/ (k abs )i+1

Pseudo- k r

(k abs )i+1
(k abs )i

(k abs )i+1

Two-phase
pseudo pressure

=1

END

30

Fig. 11: Procedure for estimating relative permeability data .

In addition to the usual results from conventional analysis, it is


possible to estimate the relative permeabilities and the
absolute permeability from well test analysis in lieu of

experimental data, using single-phase and two-phase pseudopressures simultaneously. It is also possible to obtain the base
capillary number (i.e., the minimum value required to see
capillary number effects) using single-phase gas pseudopressures. The gas relative permeability at near-wellbore
saturation and at the initial liquid saturation, and the absolute
permeability are thecontrolling parameters for predicting well
productivity in gas condensate reservoirs. The trial and error
procedure, schematically described in Fig. 11, has been
validated with field data and has been found to be accurate
enough to be used for forecasting well productivity in gas
condensate reservoir34.
Well test analysis using compositional simulation
The conventional well test analysis approach described above
provides a series of snapshots of the well-reservoir-fluid
characteristics at specific times from the start of production. It
does not allow predicting how the system will evolve in the
future. This can only be achieved by compositional
simulation. Compositional simulation also provides a
verification of the results from conventional well test analysis,
and in particular of the condensate bank radius. Using the
analytical well test interpretation results as inputs, the
compositional model must provide a reasonable match not
only on the pressure-rate history and the producing GOR, but
also on the loglog plot of pseudo-pressure and derivatives of
the main build-ups and drawdowns.
In general, a radial local grid is used with logarithmically
increasing sizes away from the well to permit evaluation of the
near-wellbore gas condensate behavior in enough detail. High
resolution time steps must be used, which provide linear
pressure gradients and smooth saturation profiles on a semilog scale.
In order to ensure the reliability of the compositional
simulation, it is essential to have a fluid model that behaves as
the actual reservoir fluid, within the applicable pressure range.
Therefore, a proper characterization of the most representative
fluid sample is mandatory. Often, however, there is no fluid
sample from the well under study or the available samples are
not representative and a PVT fluid sample from a different
well, which had been correctly recombined, must be selected.
The heavier fractions of the fluid samples (i.e. C7+) must be
lumped into fewer pseudo-components in order to decrease
CPU time. An equation of state must be selected to predict the
actual reservoir fluids properties and its parameters tuned by
regressing on the critical properties of the plus fraction until a
good match was obtained between predicted values and
observed data, such as dew point pressure, fluid density and
viscosity, fluid volume and composition, and liquid shrinkage
during CVD and CCE experiments. These variables are
selected for regression because the properties of the plus
fraction were less accurate and not well defined.
Relative permeability curves should be selected from a set
used in the actual full-field compositional simulation based on
the reported fluid connate water saturation. The end point of
the gas relative permeability must be adjusted in order to

SPE 100993

obtain a gas effective permeability consistent with that from


conventional well test analysis. When special core analysis is
not available, the relative permeability characteristics can
estimated using Corey function12. Sensitivity runs must be
made on the Corey parameters to define a consistent set of
relative permeability curves that provides both calculated oil
rates equal to the measured oil rate at a specific gas rate, and a
good match with the flowing bottomhole pressure.
Capillary number and inertia effects must be included in the
simulation. The Forchheimer62 parameter that defines inertia
can be obtained from Geertsmas correlation36, whereas
capillary numbers can be obtained from a number of
correlations37-42. These require coefficients that must be
determined experimentally or from correlations29.
Once the capillary number parameters are obtained, well skins
must be adjusted by trial and error to obtain a good match for
all the drawdown periods on the pressure history plot.
An example of results from compositional simulation analysis
is shown in Fig.1229.
16

Data
15

Simulation with
capillary number

3000

<10%

14

2000

13

Simulation without
capillary number

1000

12

0
0.0

0.4

0.8

1.2

1.6

2.0

GOR
Measured
Calculated

2.4

10

10-4

10-2

10-1

10

Condensatesaturation

Effective permeability
10-3

Elapsed time (days)

10

12

14

102

Elapsed time (hours)

0.06
0.04

Bu6
Dd5

0.02
0
10-1

0.08

r2=38 ft
(Numerical)

Data

Dd5

10000

0.1

Simulation with capillary number


and no wellbore storage

102

r1=5 ft
(Numerical)

mn(p) and derivative (psi)

Elapsed time (days)


103

r2=30 ft
(WTA)
10

Radial distance (ft)

Corrected but uncomplete rates


6000

102
R=38 ft
(Numerical)

Interpretation Challenges

Corrected rates

Raw rates
5000
4000

100

3000

80

2000

60

1000

40
20

0
0

400

800

1200

1600

Time from start of production (hrs)


Rate normalized mn(p)
and derivative (psi)

Data
Well test interpretation consists of solving an inverse problem,
the solution of which is non-unique by definition43. The only
way to decrease the non-uniqueness is to increase the amount
of data one is working with. These include more pressure and
rate data (ideally, all the pressure and rate information on the
well), and all possible interpreted information on the reservoir
(geology, seismics and logs), the fluid (PVT) and the well
(drilling and completion) and on the way the test has been run
(sequence of operations). The more complex the environment
of the test, the more information is required. Tests in gas
condensate reservoirs below the dew point pressure are
probably at the high end of the difficulty scale, as they
combine the complexities of the geology and the well with the
complexity of the fluid.

Complete rates

2000

4000

6000

8000

10000

Time from start of production (hrs)

104

103

Bu392
Bu499

102

Bu392
Bu499

Bu322

10

Bu322
Bu456 Bu310

1
10-2

10-1

10

Elapsed time (hours)

Bu456
Bu310
102

10-2

10-1

10

Elapsed time (hours)

44

Fig. 13: Impact of rate history on derivative shapes

102

Rate (MMscf/D)

Fig. 12: Verification of conventional well test analysis with


29
compositional simulation

Pressure (psia)

4000

GOR(Mscf/D)

Pressure (psia)

6000
5000

Incorrect or inconsistent rate history


The issues more specifically associated with rates are
illustrated in Fig. 13. They are of two types: uncertainties in
the values and incomplete histories.
Rates measured at the separator during a well test have
typically errors between 10 and 20%. In production wells,
rates are often allocated, with the allocation calibrated at
regular interval, and may be incorrect. Even the latest
multiphase flowmeters provide noisy data which must be
smoothed with a moving average algorithm, thus introducing
additional errors. The rates must therefore be validated and
made consistent between flow periods, otherwise errors in
rates will be transmitted to the calculated permeability values.
This is usually done by plotting rate-normalized derivatives
together on a log-log graph and verifying that they share the
same stabilization during radial flow: if there is an inconsistent
flowrate in any period, the radial flow derivative stabilization
for that period would be different from that for other periods.
Flowrate adjustments should be limited to the uncertainty in
the rates (10-20%). When the main radial flow stabilization
has not been reached or does not exist, a different flow regime
could be used for adjustment, with the caveat that such a flow
regime may be affected by the rate history and therefore have
different characteristics in different flow periods. In a gas
condensate well test, for instance, the radial flow stabilization
corresponding to the condensate bank could be used if the
reservoir stabilization has not been reached (a common
occurrence, as discussed later). In that case, great caution must
be exercised in adjusting the rates, as the level of the bank
stabilization varies with the condensate saturation and
therefore with the rate. Such an adjustment has been
performed in the left hand side of Fig. 1344.

SPE 100993

10 3

FP 8 Bu

Rate normalized mn(p) and derivative (psi)

(DD 45 M Scf/D)

10 2

FP 21 Bu

FP 15

(DD 38 MScf/D)

(DD 47 M Scf/D)

FP 17
10

(DD 57.5 M Scf/D)

FP 14
(DD 38 M Scf/D)

10 -2

FP 18 Bu
(DD 57.5 M Scf/D)

10 -1

Belo w dew point pressure

1 second
pressure
acquisition

pressure
Above dew point

103

Condensate
bank

Production test
102

Reservoir
Effective
permeability

DST
24 hour flow period
10
10-5

10-3

10-1

103

10

105

107

Elapsed time (hours)

Fig. 15: Influence of the size of the condensate bank on the onset
of the final derivative stabilization

If we consider a typical test, a maximum build up duration of


24 hour may be enough to see a radial flow stabilization on the
derivative if the pressure remains above the dew point
pressure, and even in a DST below the dew point pressure,
when the condensate bank has just started to form. In a
production test, on the other hand, the radius of the condensate
bank may be such that the derivative is still only showing the
stabilization due to the bank at the end of the 24 hour period.
Seeing the final derivative stabilization would possibly take
ten times as long.
104

DST well B

103

102

10

Effective permeability from core


1

FP 7
(DD 45 M Scf/D)
1
10 -3

104

Rate normalized mn(p) and derivative (psi)

Phase redistribution in the wellbore


Wellbore phase redistribution is a recurrent problem in gas
condensate reservoir well tests. It occurs whenever gas and
condensate flow in different directions in the wellbore1. This
would not happen in a drawdown with a gas rate high enough
to lift the condensate droplets to the surface, but it would most
likely be present in a subsequent build-up or a subsequent
drawdown period at a lower rate20. Similarly, phase
redistribution can take place during low flowrate drawdowns,
in which case there would be no phase redistribution in a
following build-up or lower rate drawdown20. Wellbore phase
redistribution creates an increase in wellbore storage during
both drawdown or build-up periods and may dominate the test.
Figure 14 is a rate-normalized log-log plot of drawdown data
for a North Sea lean gas condensate well1. Phase redistribution dominates the drawdown data and is more
pronounced and lasts longer for low flow rates (Flow periods
14, 7 and 15). The highest rate drawdown, FP 17, is less
affected and only at very early times, which makes it
analyzable. Its derivative is similar to the build-up ones, Flow
periods 8, 18 and 21.

Lack of final radial flow derivative stabilization


The interpretation results described earlier can only be
obtained if all the flow regimes required for analysis can be
identified on the data. Fig. 6 points to a very common problem
in condensate gas well test analysis, namely, the derivatives
have not reached their final stabilizations. This is mostly the
case in production tests, as illustrated in Fig. 15.

Rate normalized mn(p) and derivative (psi)

Incomplete rate history


The entire production history is required in order to obtain a
correct analysis, especially for production well tests.
Truncating the rate history by ignoring its early part or
simplifying it with an equivalent Horner time45 (cumulative
production divided by last rate) may distort the derivative46
and lead to erroneous interpretations. This is illustrated in Fig.
13: the derivatives calculated on the left hand side with only
the rates corresponding to the pressure measurements are
different from those on the right hand side, which include all
the rates from the start of production. As a rule, the more
recent the changes in production rates, the more detailed the
rate history must be. Describing accurately the rate history
over a period corresponding to the last 40% of the cumulative
production of the well, and using the equivalent Horner time
to represent the first 60% provides a correct derivative46.

10

10-3

North Sea
10 2

10-2

10-1

10

102

Elapsed time (hours)


10 3

Elapsed time (hours)

Fig. 14: Example of increasing wellbore storage due to phase


1
redistribution in the wellbore during low rate drawdowns

Fig. 16: Final derivative stabilization from a DST in a North Sea


44
well: well test effective reservoir vs. core permeability

The interpretation challenge, when there is only a single


derivative stabilization on the derivative, is to decide whether

SPE 100993

that stabilization corresponds to the condensate bank or to the


reservoir. In sandstone reservoirs, our experience indicates
that the effective permeability from the final derivative
stabilization is in good agreement with the arithmetic average
core permeability44 (Fig. 16). The single derivative
stabilization should therefore be compared with the
stabilization level corresponding to the core permeability: if it
is above, it is likely to represent the condensate bank.
104

Bu392

Fluid versus reservoir behavior


The derivative shapes are often ambiguous and can due either
to the fluid or to geological features. Forward modeling with
analytical or numerical models must be used to identify
possible causes.

103

Bu499

?
102

WIRE.PEF_1

50000

Core permeability

IN

V/V

WIRE.VSHGR_1
16 0

V/V

TVDSS

150 0

WIRE.CALI_1

140
FEET

WIRE.VSHTH_1

FACIES

10

API

10 0.2

WIRE.DT_1
2082

BED

WIRE.PAYAUTO_2 0.45

V/V

G/C3

20

OHMM

20

WIRE.AT30_1
40 0.2

OHMM

20

WIRE.AT60_1

-0.15 0.2

WIRE.RHOB_1

6 1.95

US/F

WIRE.NPHI_1

WIRE.NETAUTO_2

OHMM

WIRE.AT20_1

B/E

CORE.PLT_1
WIRE.GR_REF_1

2.95 0.2

OHMM

20

OHMM

WIRE.KAHCOMPN_1 CORE.PORBEST_1
0.01

WIRE.RT_1

MD

1000 0.3

CORE.KAHBEST_1
20

0.01

MD

1000 0.3

Sw
PERFS

MSCFT/DAY

kh

WIRE.AT10_1
0.2

PLT.FLOW_1

CONTACTS

PLT
0

CORE.SWC_1
1

WIRE.PHIT_1
V/V

V/V

WIRE.SW_1
0

V/V

12860

Bu322

Bu310

Layer

1 6 /2 6 -B 1 0

Condensate mobility

TOPS.ZONE_1

Bu456
mn(p) change and derivative (psi)

normalized to a unit rate. In Fig. 18, the downward trend in the


deconvolved derivative suggests that the derivative
stabilization represents the condensate bank mobility rather
than the reservoir effective permeability. The deconvolved
derivative does not match the data at the end because it is an
average over the deconvolved period, and therefore the
downward trend represents the average of the condensate front
locations. The final stabilization does not appear in the
deconvolved derivative because the test was too short.

C o re
S k in

(ft)

kh

kv

13

0 .0 6

12870

86
10
12880

12880

12886

84
11

12896

Z50
97

12900
82

Production well A

13

12910

c lo s e d

24

c lo s e d

19

25

0 to 4 0

20

12

c lo s e d

20

19

0 .0 5

30

0 .1

80
15

82

12920

12926
12933

78
13

12940

12946

1
10-2

10-1

102

10

12947

12960
GAS
232

0 .1 4 0 .0 7

12977

12980

Elapsed time (hours)

12

66
37

13000

13014

Fig. 17: Final derivative stabilization from a production test in a


44
North Sea well: condensate mobility vs. core permeability

13020
62
22

13037

13040
13042

60

Z45

7
13049

198

58
17

13060

13066

56
9
13075
13081

13092

52
11

104

Actual Normalised Derivative

13100

13105
13108

WATER

50

63

12
13120

13120

48
10
13130

13140

103

40

10

1E+01

13082

11

mn(p) and derivative (psi)

This is the conclusion reached from Fig. 17 on the test shown


in Fig. 12. A second conclusion is that the end of Bu310,
which falls below the bank stabilization, must correspond to
the transition between the bank and the reservoir
stabilizations, reflecting the advancement of the condensate
bank.

13080

54

I n c r e a s in g S 4 ( 0 ,5 , 1 0 ,2 0 ,4 0 )
10

Rate Normalised Derivative (psi)

1 0 -2

1 0 -1

10

102

103

104

106

E la p s e d t im e ( h o u r s )

Fig. 19: Multilayer behavior in a production test in a North Sea


44
well

1E+00

1E-01

Deconvolved Derivative

1E-02
1E-04

1E-03

1E-02

1E-01

1E+00

1E+01

1E+02

1E+03

Elapsed time (hrs)

Figure 18: Deconvolved derivative suggesting the existence of a


43
condensate bank

Another helpful tool is deconvolution47, particularly if core


permeability is not available. Deconvolution transforms
variable rate pressure data into a constant rate initial
drawdown with a duration equal to the total duration of the
test, and yields directly the corresponding pressure derivative,

In Fig. 17, the question mark,?, refers to the derivative data


between the end of wellbore storage and skin effects and the
start of the condensate bank stabilization. These data could be
part of the condensate bank, represent spherical flow or
correspond to the reservoir layering. An analytical
multilayered simulator48 was used to test the various
possibilities (Fig. 19). The reservoir includes three, noncommunicating, layers, labeled (1), (3-4-5) and 6 in the upper
part of Fig. 19. The middle layer, (3-4-5), is only perforated in
(4). If the skin coefficient for every perforated layer is the
same (say, zero), the multilayer derivative displays a double
permeability behavior, with a U-shaped minimum
corresponding to the V-shape found in double porosity
behavior49. As the contrast in skin increases, however, with the
skin factor in layer (4) increasing to 5, 10, 20 and 40, the
minimum disappears and the early part of the derivative shape
tends toward that found in commingled layers. This leads to

10

SPE 100993

the conclusion that the ? shape in Fig. 16 is due to layering,


not to the condensate bank.
104

Bank

Rate Normalised mn(p) & derivative (psi)

103

Bu3
102

Bu6
D S T w e ll 4

10
1 0 -2

1 0 -1

102

10

E la p s e d tim e (h rs )
104

D e c o n v o lv e d
d e riv a tiv e

Bu9
Bu7

103

B a n k o r b o u n d a rie s ?
Bu3

Another example of an ambiguous derivative shape that must


be resolved through forward simulation is shown in Fig. 20.
The derivative shapes of the build ups, Bu3 from well 4 in the
log-log plot at the top, and Bu3, Bu7 and Bu9 from well E in
the log-log graph at the bottom, are very similar. In well 4, the
next build up, Bu6, shows clearly a 3-region composite
behavior due to condensate banking. It can therefore be
concluded that Bu3 also shows the bank and more specifically,
the capillary number zone (zone 1 in Fig. 1).
The core permeability for well E suggests that the derivatives
data correspond to the condensate bank. The upward trend at
the end of the derivatives, confirmed by deconvolution, could
therefore be due to the bank or to the discontinuous faults
identified by seismic (Fig. 21). The effect of the faults is tested
in Fig. 21 with a voranoid grid simulator50, for a single phase
gas above the dew point pressure. The resulting derivative
clearly indicates that the upward trend is due to the fault, with
the derivative going directly from the condensate bank into the
fault without reaching the reservoir effective permeability
stabilization.

102

1 0 -1

102

10

E la p s e d tim e (h o u rs )
44

Fig. 20: Example of ambiguous derivative shape

4550 ft

13800 ft

1180 ft

13300 ft

9660 ft
10000 ft

180 ft

9110 ft

1090 ft

6000

FP16

FP50

10 4

No-flow boundary of limited extent

5600

10 3

60

5400

50

5200

40

5000

30

4800

20

4600

10

4400
20 40

FP50
FP16

Bu3

10

-1

10 -1

Effective permeability from core


1

10

10

103

10

104

103

-500

10-2

Elapsed time (hours)

Deconvolution

Condensate
mobility

Core
permeability

Deconvolution of FP16

Time from start of test (hrs)

10 2

10 -3

Deconvolution of all the build-ups


102

10
10-2

0
60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 220 240 260 280

500

10

103

80
70

Dew point
pressure

mn(p) and derivative (psi)

Rate Normalised mn(p) & derivative (psi)

Numerical simulation with core arithmetic average permeability (with bank)


Numerical simulation with core arithmetic average permeability (w/o bank)

Pressure (psia)

5800

Gas Rate (MMscf/D)

10
1 0 -2

Such a situation is very common in gas condensate well tests


and is due to the growth of the condensate bank. Another
example is shown in Fig. 22. The build up labeled FP16 has a
very different derivative from that of the build up FP50. FP16
is at the start of production and the condensate bank has just
begun to form. Its derivative exhibits a downward trend which
represents the transition between the stabilization due to the
condensate bank and that corresponding to the reservoir
effective permeability (represented by the core permeability
line). The derivative in FP50, on the other hand, is mostly flat
except for an upward trend at the end which is confirmed by
deconvolution. Voronoid grid simulation50 shows that that
trend is due to the faults of limited extent around the well. As
the radius of the condensate bank increases, the behavior
becomes less dominated by the bank and more by the
boundaries.
mn(p) and derivative (psi)

E ffe c tiv e p e rm e a b ility fro m c o re


D S T w e ll E

10 2

103

10 4

-1500

10 5

Elapsed time (hours)

Fig. 21: Verification of boundary effects with a voranoi grid


44
simulator

-1500

-500

500

Length [ft] vs Length [ft]

1500

Simulation with core


arithmetic average
Increasing permeability
bank
radius

102

FP50

FP16

Core
permeability
10
10-2

10-1

10

102

103

104

Elapsed time (hours)

Fig. 21: Example of changing well test behavior due to the growth
44
of the condensate bank and the presence of boundaries

SPE 100993

11

Finally, Fig. 22 shows a derivative in a gas condensate DST


slightly below the dew point pressure, which exhibits the
characteristics of a condensate bank, although it was not clear
from PVT data whether a condensate bank could have formed
or not. The ambiguity was solved by deconvolution: the
deconvolved derivative indicates a homogeneous behavior and
channel boundaries, with the derivative shape due to the
derivative calculation algorithm (the multirate derivative
differs from the drawdown derivative43 because of the
previous rate history).

capillary number effect, the total skin decreases to become


equal to 7 when k1=k3, i.e. for the theoretical case where all
condensate has been removed around the well. The other loglog plots in Fig. 23 show the effects of r1 and r2 and of the
bank size (r2 r1). They are negligible compared to the impact
of k1. The main conclusion is that the condensate saturation
need to be decreased only in the immediate vicinity of the well
to improve productivity significantly.
10000

St

28

St 19

18

18

12
7

1000

nm(p) Change and Derivative (psi)

Rate Normalised mn(p) & derivative (psi)

r1= 100 r2 = 250

10

Condensate bank?

10 -1

Reservoir effective
permeability?

10 2

Channel?
10 3
10 -4

St is independent of the distance to a condensate


bank of constant width

St decreases significantly as k1 increases


10000

10-2

10-1
1
Elapsed time (hours)

10

10 2

k2

r1= 1000 r2 = 1150

k3

100

100

k1= k3 = 3/2 k2
k1 = k 3 = 3 k2

k1= 2/3 k3 = 2 k2

k1= 1/2 k3 = 3/2 k2

10
0.001

0.01

0.1

10

100

10
0.001

1000

St increases slightly as the condensate doughnut


outer radius increases

10000

Rate Normalised mn(p) & derivative (psi)

0.01

0.1

100

1000

10000

10000

St

St 25

18 - 21

r1= 1 r2 = 1150
r1= 30 r2 = 1150
r1= 100 r2 = 1150

r1= 100 r2 = 550


1000

r1= 100 r2 = 1150

1000

18

100

r1= 500 r2 = 1150

103
r1= 100 r2 = 250

k1= 1/2 k3 = 3/2 k2


0.001

Drawdown derivative type curve

10

St decreases slightly as the stripping zone radius


increases

k1= 1/2 k3 = 3/2 k2

10

10

r1= 100 r2 = 250

k1= 1/3 k3 = k2

Sw=5

100

10 -3

r1= 10 r2 = 160

1000

r1= 1000 r2 = 1150

10
0.01

0.1

10

100

1000

10000

0.001

0.01

0.1

10

100

1000

10000

Elapsed time (hrs)

Pressure
1

Figure 23: Impact of the condensate bank saturation, size and


location on the total skin effect

Deconvolved derivative

10 -1

Derivative
Shape due to algorithm
for calculating the
multirate derivative

10 2

Multirate derivative type curve


10 3
10 -4

10 -3

10-2

10-1
1
Elapsed time (hours)

10

10 2

10 3

Figure 22: Deconvolved derivative proving the derivative shape is


due to the pressure derivative calculation algorithm, not to a
43
condensate bank

Productivity impairment remediation


Fig. 23 illustrates with a simple example the importance on the
total skin effect of the condensate saturation in the condensate
bank and in the velocity stripping zone. The four log-log plots
included in Fig. 23 all show a 3-region composite behavior
due to condensate banking. k3 is the reservoir effective
permeability, k2 the gas relative permeability in the condensate
bank, and k1 the gas relative permeability in the velocity
stripping zone (respectively, zones 4, 2+3, and 1 in Fig. 1). r1
is the inner radius of the condensate bank (the outer radius of
the stripping zone) and r2 is the outer radius. The wellbore
mechanical skin effect is equal to 5. The maximum total skin
effect is obtained when there is no capillary number effect
(k1=k2). Its value, 28, depends on the condensate saturation in
the condensate bank, i.e. on k2. As k1 increases with the

Several techniques have been used or proposed to increase


productivity. They include solvent injection, gas cycling,
acidising and hydraulically fracturing of vertical wells before
or after the development of the condensate bank, and drilling
horizontal wells instead of vertical wells.
In the solvent injection technique, a solvent is pumped into the
formation in order to alter the wettability of the reservoir rocks
near the wellbore from strongly liquid-wet to intermediate gas
wet51. The results from laboratory tests show that wettability
significantly affects both critical condensate saturation and gas
phase relative permeability52. This method however, is still at
the research stage and has not yet been used at reservoir scale.
In gas cycling, the condensate liquid is removed from the
produced (wet) gas, usually in a gasoline plant, and the
residue, or dry gas is returned to the reservoir through
injection wells. The injected gas maintains reservoir pressure
and retards retrograde condensation. Although this technique
appears to be an ideal solution to the retrograde condensate
problem, it is often less attractive due to practical limitations
and/or economical considerations. Gas cycling usually
requires additional expenditures for drilling additional wells,
liquid recovery plants and compression systems53.
The most common ways of improving productivity are still
acidification, fracturing, and horizontal wells, all aiming at
decrease or delay the pressure drawdowns, and therefore the
condensate saturation, in order to increase or maintain gas
well deliverability. In the following, we present examples

12

SPE 100993

showing the impact of these various techniques on well test


behavior.
Fig. 24 shows a log-log plot with build ups before (FP3 and
10) and after (FP26) a matrix acidification, performed because
a high skin damage had been observed during the test.
Deconvolution and the permeability from cores suggest that
only the condensate bank is seen on the derivatives before the
acid job, whereas the transition between condensate bank and
reservoir is seen afterwards. The post-acid data exhibit a high
wellbore storage, which hides the condensate bank derivative
stabilization and makes it impossible to decide whether the
condensate saturation has been decreased or not. The total skin
effect, however, has not decreased, which would imply that
acidification has not been effective in improving productivity
impairment due to the condensate bank.

Fig. 25 shows a log-plot of normalized pseudo-pressure and


derivatives for a North Sea horizontal well54. The pressure and
rate data, shown in Fig. 26, include a DST (build ups FP29
and 38), mostly above the dew point pressure, and two
production tests below the dew point pressure (respectively,
build ups FP 48-50 and FP62-65). The derivatives clearly
show the existence and growth of a condensate bank, which
appears as a composite behavior superimposed on the
horizontal well behavior, as predicted by forward composition
simulation (Fig. 7). There is, however, no published analytical
solution for such a model and the growth of the condensate
bank must be handled through an increase in the total skin in
conventional analysis. Deconvolution indicates the presence of
parallel faults, which is consistent with the seismic
information. Here again, the derivative would go directly from
the condensate bank to the boundaries, never reaching the
final radial flow stabilization identified from cores.

104
4000

Before acid

After acid

38

48

20

10

1000

FP10

Condensate mobility

0
10

20

30

40

50

FP26

Effective permeability from core


1
1

7630
Elapsed time (hrs)

2nd production
test

40

30

3000

Dew point pressure


2000

20

1000

10

1000

2000

Elapsed time (hours)

3000

4000

5000

6000

7000

0
8000

Elapsed time (hrs)

Figure 24: Impact of acidizing on the condensate bank saturation,


44
and size

Figure 26: Pressure and rate history for a North Sea horizontal
54
well

1st production
test

0.30

Condensate saturation

dF
P6
5

FP50

De
co
nv
olv
e

2nd
FP65 production
test
102

Core permeability

FP48
FP50

10
10-2

10-1

0.20

FP65
2nd production
test

0.15
0.10

FP38

0.05

1st
FP29
DST
production
FP38
test

FP48

0.25

Reservoir Boundary at 700 ft

0.35

103

mn(p) Change and Derivative (psi)

2570 7602

1st production
test

DST

102

10

2544
Elapsed time (hrs)

4000

10

10-3

30

2000

Elapsed time (hrs)

10-1

65

Dew point pressure

10-2

62

3000

102

FP3

50

Total Rate (MMscf/D)

29

Total Rate (MMscf/D)

Pressure (psia)

103

40

FP

Pressure (psia)

mn(p) change and derivative (psi)

Deconvolution

DST

FP29
10

102

103

104

Elapsed time (hrs)

Figure 25: Log-log plot of normalized pseudo-pressure and


54
derivative for a North Sea horizontal well

10

100

1000

10000

Radial distance perpendicular to the well from the heel, ft

Figure 27: Condensate saturation distribution for a North Sea


54
horizontal well

SPE 100993

13

As no analytical composite model is available for horizontal


wells, the only way to characterize the condensate bank is
through compositional simulation, which provides the
condensate saturation distribution in the reservoir (Fig. 27).
This in turn yields the bank radius, the contribution of the
bank to the total skin effect, and the wellbore skin coefficient.
The condensate saturation around the well in the final build up
of the second production test, FP65, is less than that in the first
production test. Therefore, the contribution of the condensate
bank to the total skin must be less. Yet, the total skin is higher
(Fig. 25). This means that the wellbore mechanical skin has
increased between the first and the second production test. In
this particular example, the condensate bank reaches the
boundary in the second production test, confirming that later
derivatives would go directly from the condensate bank to the
boundaries, never reaching the final radial flow stabilization.

2nd production
test

DST
FP12

Not all fractured wells behave as in Fig. 28. Fig. 29 shows a


pressure and rate history for a well in a multilayered reservoir
in the North Sea56. The pressure was below the dew point
pressure at all times. The wells productivity declined gradually
over time and a remedial massive hydraulic fracturing
operation was carried out which saw a sixty percent
improvement in the well productivity index.

Dew point pressure

5000

FP66 FP79

production
test

4000

FP50
40

2000

30

FP30
0

20
10
0

200

400

600

800

1000

1200

1400

3000
2000
1000

FP28

10

104

FP50

2000

4000

6000

8000

Elapsed time (hrs)

102

10

1
10-3

Deconvolved
derivative

FP7

Model, above the dew point pressure


10-2

10-1

10

102

103

104

105

Elapsed time (hrs)

Figure 28: Log-log plot of normalized pseudo-pressure and


derivative for a hydraulically fractured well in the Middle East

Fig. 28 shows a log-plot of normalized pseudo-pressure and


derivatives for a fracture well in a low permeability Middle
East reservoir. In this example again, the pressure and rate
data include a DST (build ups FP 7 and 12, with FP7 above
the dew point pressure), and two production tests below the
dew point pressure (build ups FP30 and FP50, respectively).
FP7 exhibits a normal fractured well behavior, represented by
the model above the dew point pressure. All the other

FP59

103

Condensate bank

de
riv
at
ive

FP12

104

ve
d

FP30

FP28

FP70

FP66

De
co
nv
ol

Condensate bank
103

Rate Normalised mn(p) and Derivative (psi)

Rate Normalised mn(p) and Derivative (psi)

Elapsed time (days)

20

FP59 FP70

Gas Rate (MMscf/D)

1st

Pressure (psia)

FP7

4000

Remedial Hydraulic Fracture

6000

Gas Rate (MMscf/D)

Pressure (psia)

8000

derivatives, below the dew point pressure, show a growing


condensate bank, which appears as a composite behavior
superimposed on the fractured well behavior, as predicted by
forward composition simulation31 (Fig. 7). Although there is
no published solution for such a model either, a composite
model for wellbore storage and skin with CDe2S <0.5 (which is
a characteristic of an infinite conductivity fracture)55 can be
used. The gas rate is lower in the second production test,
which triggers re-vaporization and a smaller condensate bank.
The total skin effect increase must therefore be due to an
increase in the mechanical skin, as in the previous example.
Deconvolution indicates a reservoir of infinite extent.

FP79
102

Phase redistribution
10-2

10-1

10

Core permeability
102

103

104

Elapsed time (hrs)

Figure 29: Log-log plot of normalized pseudo-pressure and


56
derivative for a hydraulically fractured well in the North Sea

The data in the log-log graph of Fig. 29 exhibit a wellbore


storage and skin two-region composite behavior even after
fracturing, instead of the fractured well composite behavior of
Fig. 28. This is due to the layering of the reservoir and is not
unusual in the North Sea. As a result, the fracture

14

SPE 100993

Before frac

50 hours after frac

This yields an increase in the condensate bank size and a


decrease in well productivity.
Whereas fractured vertical wells and horizontal wells increase
productivity in dry gas systems, their performance is even
better in gas-condensate reservoirs below the dew point, where
they decrease pressure drawdowns and condensate blockage
compared to a vertical well. Fig. 31 shows that they are
equally effective in improving productivity in gas-condensate
reservoirs below the dew point. The optimum choice, when
both are technically feasible, can only be made from economic
considerations57.
% increase in total gas production over vertical well

characteristics cannot be determined. The derivative radial


flow stabilization coincides with that corresponding to the
core permeability, as expected. The deconvolved derivative
suggests the existence of multiple boundaries.
The behavior of the outer bank radius is hidden by phase
redistribution, so it is not clear whether it is growing or not.
On the other hand, the derivative stabilization level
corresponding to the condensate bank, and therefore, the
condensate saturation in the bank, decreases after fracturing in
the build ups FP59, FP66 and FP70 from the level before frac
(FP28), and then increases again in FP79. This is paralleled by
a decrease then an increase in the total skin.

100

LH (ft)

90
80

1000

xf=300 ft

70

xf =50

60

xf =10
0 ft

ft

xf =200

800

ft

50

600

40
30
20

400
10
0
0

Production Time, years

100 hours after frac

500 hours after frac

Figure 31: Comparison of relative increase in cumulative gas


production for horizontal and fractured vertical wells compared to
57
that from a vertical well below the dew point

Summary of Results

1000 hours after frac

20000 hours after frac


31

Figure 30: Evolution of condensate bank after fracturing

Such a behavior matches the compositional simulation results


shown in Fig. 3031: a non-fractured well is produced until the
well bottomhole flowing pressure drops below the dew point
pressure and a condensate bank forms around the wellbore. A
hydraulic fracture is then created with a facture half-length
extending beyond the condensate bank and the well is
produced again at the same rate as before frac. The bottomhole
pressure is above the dew point pressure initially, and no
additional condensate is deposited in the reservoir. Instead, the
existing condensate is produced to the surface, decreasing the
condensate saturation and the size of the condensate bank. As
time increases, the bottomhole pressure fall again below the
dew point pressure and condensate drops out in the reservoir.

The results presented in this paper cam be summarized as


follows:
1. Condensate is deposited around the well when the
bottomhole pressure drops below the dew point during
production.
2. The corresponding impediment to flow is compensated by
capillary number effects.
3. Condensate deposit and capillary number effects yield a
two- or three region composite well test behavior when
single phase pseudo-pressures are used for analysis.
4. The final derivative stabilization corresponding to the
reservoir effective permeability in the composite behavior
is usually not reached in production tests. The
stabilization seen on the derivative is likely to represent
the condensate bank mobility.
5. The reservoir effective permeability is consistent with
core permeability in sandstone reservoirs. The core
permeability can be used to distinguish between
condensate bank and reservoir mobility if only a single
stabilization is seen on the derivative.
6.
The derivative stabilization corresponding to the
mobility of the condensate bank varies with the

SPE 100993

7.
8.

9.
10.

11.

12.

13.

14.

15.

condensate saturation and therefore the rate. At


constant rate, its level increases with time until a
maximum level is reached.
The condensate bank decreases in size and saturation
when the production rate decreases.
The condensate saturation distribution in a build up is
approximately the same as that as the end of the preceding
drawdown.
Wellbore phase redistribution may dominate the entire
test.
It is often difficult to distinguish condensate bank effects
from layering, boundary or derivative calculation effects.
A series of tools must be used for identification, including
conventional well test analysis, deconvolution, forward
modeling with analytical and numerical models, and
compositional simulation.
Behavior often changes with time as the condensate bank
grows and reaches the boundaries. Successive drawdowns
and build ups must be analyzed together to understand
these changes (time-lapse well test analysis).
Capillary numbers often compensate for inertia effects.
As a result, the wellbore skin may increase, decrease or
remain constant as the gas rate increases.
Calculating the bank outer radius requires to know the
bank total compressibility, which is greater than the gas
compressibility above the dew point pressure.
Pseudo-relative permeabilities, absolute permeability and
base capillary number can be estimated using singlephase and two-phase pseudo-pressures together.
Fracturing vertical wells and drilling horizontal wells is
equally effective for improving productivity in gascondensate reservoirs below the dew point.

Acknowledgement
Portions of this study were conducted at Imperial College
London by Manijeh Bozorgzadeh30, Saifon Daungkaew44 and
Abdolnabi Hashemi32, Olalekan Aluko56 and Tariq Baig58 in
partial fulfillment of post-graduate degree requirements. The
authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of this
research by the members of the Imperial College Joint
Industry Project (JIP) on Well test Analysis in Gas Condensate
and Volatile Oil Reservoirs: the UK Department of Trade and
Industry, Anadarko, Burlington Resources, BHP Billinton,
Britannia Operator Ltd, ConocoPhillips, Gaz de France and
Total. They are also indebted to software vendors for allowing
them access to the software products required for this work,
respectively Kappa Engineering (SaphirTM), Paradigm
Geotechnology B.V (InterpretTM 2005) and Schlumberger
(EclipseTM 300 and PVTiTM). Dr Daugkaew and Dr Hashemi
further acknowledge partial financial support from Britannia
Operator Ltd. and the Royal Thai Government, and from
NIOC, respectively.
Nomenclature
B
formation volume factor
(reservoir volume/standard volume)

15

ctc
c
h
k
Lh
m(p)
mn(p)
m2(p)
p
pref
Pdew
r1
r2
Rs
Rv
Sw
So
Sg
St
xf
Z
Greek

total compressibility in the condensate bank (psi-1)


compressibility (psi-1)
reservoir thickness (ft)
permeability (mD)
horizontal well length (ft)
single phase pseudo-pressure (psi)
normalized single phase pseudo-pressure (psi)
two-phase pseudo-pressure (psi)
pressure (psi)
reference pressure (psi)
dew point pressure (psi)
condensate bank inner radius (ft)
condensate bank outer radius (ft)
solution gas /oil ratio
dissolved oil/gas ratio
wellbore skin effect; water saturation
condensate saturation, fraction
gas saturation, fraction
total skin effect
fracture half length (ft)
gas deviation factor

porosity, fraction
interfacial tension, (lb/ft)
viscosity (cp)
interstitial velocity, (ft/sec)

Abbreviation
Bu
build up
CCE
constant composition expansion
CVD
constant volume depletion
Dd
drawdown
DST
drill stem test
EOS
equation of state
FP
flow period
GOR
gas-oil ratio
IFT
interfacial tension
PVT
pressure-volume-temperature
WTA
well test analysis
Subscripts
Abs
absolute
Eff
effective
F
formation
G
gas
i
initial
o
oil
r
relative
ref
reference
t
total
w
water
Superscripts
Max
maximum

16

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