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SPE 90865

Application of After-Closure Analysis Techniques to Determine Permeability in Tight


Formation Gas Reservoirs
Larry K. Britt, NSI Technologies, Inc., Jack R. Jones and J. Harmon Heidt, BP America, Inc., Imtiaz Adil, Patrick Kelly,
Dan Sparkes, and Bruce Collin, BP-Canada Energy Company

Copyright 2004, Society of Petroleum Engineers Inc.


This paper was prepared for presentation at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and
Exhibition held in Houston, Texas, U.S.A., 2629 September 2004.
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Abstract
The primary objective of hydraulic fracturing is to create a
propped fracture with sufficient conductivity and length to
maximize or at least optimize well performance. In permeable
reservoirs where transient flow is short lived, a fracture with a
Dimensionless Fracture Capacity, FCD, of 2 is required to meet
the design objective. In low permeability formations where
transient flow can be extensive and where fracture fluid
cleanup requires additional conductivity, an FCD in excess of
10 is desired. As a result, reservoir permeability becomes/is a
key fracture design and analysis parameter. In higher
permeability applications, permeability is determined simply,
inexpensively, and routinely through conventional well testing
techniques. Conventional well testing in tight formation gas
reservoirs has not been proven as effective, can be expensive
(cost of lengthy tests and production deferment), and is quite
simply not routinely utilized. These reservoirs are often non
productive without fracture stimulation and post fracture
stimulation testing requires extensive shut-in time as the time
to pseudo radial flow is proportional to the square of the
fracture half-length. As a result, the development and routine
use of any technique to determine permeability in these tight
formation gas reservoirs has great value.
In addition, without adequate well testing techniques and
capabilities in tight gas reservoirs, the engineer is left with the
use of log derived values of permeability which can often
overstate in-situ permeability by factors of five to ten.
Determination of in-situ permeability not only aids the well
completion and stimulation but can be used to calibrate the log
and core derived estimates of permeability improving
performance predictions and field development. Prior papers
have developed the use of After Closure Analysis techniques
in permeable reservoirs, this paper will show the application

of this technique to several tight gas formations in North


America.
This paper will demonstrate the following:
1) The effective application of this technique in
tight gas formations in the U.S. and Canada,
2) Develop a cost effective and operationally
simple means of collecting and analyzing the
data,
3) Compare and contrast the technique to other
methods of determining permeability in tight
formation gas reservoirs, such as impulse,
Perforation Inflow Diagnostic (PID), Closed
Chamber Drill-Stem Tests (CCDST), post-frac
build-up, production decline analysis, Modular
Dynamic Formation Tester (MDT).
4) Show the application and value of calibrating log
and core-derived permeability with in-situ
measurements for improved well performance
predictions.
Introduction
Knowledge of reservoir permeability and pressure is important
to field development. Such knowledge prior to well
completion and hydraulic fracture stimulation is especially
critical to optimum well performance and is therefore
desireable. In higher permeability applications, permeability is
determined simply, inexpensively, and routinely through
conventional well testing techniques. Conventional well
testing in tight formation gas reservoirs has not been proven
nearly as effective, can be expensive, and perhaps most
important is, not timely enough for completion and fracture
optimization, and as a result is not routinely utilized.
Tight gas reservoirs are often non productive without
fracture stimulation and post fracture stimulation testing
requires extensive shut-in times. As a result, the development
and routine use of any technique to determine permeability
pre-frac in these tight formation gas reservoirs has great value.
Conventional pressure transient analysis methods have a
long history in the ground water and petroleum industries and
analysis techniques with application to hydraulically fractured
wells has a shorter but equally illustrious theoretical and
application history with just some of the noted papers
identified here1-8. These works and others established a
foundation for subsequent advances in many areas of the

petroleum industry including hydraulic fracturing of tight


formation gas wells for which this paper is focused.
Ramey et al9 provided a complete discussion of DST
applications of the Slug Test in 1975. The work included the
development of additional typecurves and was included in the
Earlougher Monograph10 in 1977. Fenske11 showed that the
pressure behavior for a well that was flowed for a short period
of time would match the slug test type curves. In addition,
numerous authors12-15 have shown that the fluid withdrawal
can be considered to be an instantaneous source if the well is
produced for a short period of time as compared to the shut-in
time, This assumption has led to the development of impulse
and slug testing for determination of permeability.
Within the last decade, several methods have been
developed to determine permeability from pre-frac diagnostic
injections. These methods fall into two main categories; preclosure and after-closure methods. The pre-closure methods
were initially published by Mayerhofer et al16-18 and advanced
by Valko and Economides19-21, Ispas et al22, and Craig et al2325
. Though these techniques could be used to determine
permeability for specific applications their broad application
has been hindered by the complex interactions between the
fracture and reservoir during fracture closure and the methods
sensitivity to fracture dimensions, rock properties, and
reservoir pressure considerations. The sensitivity to these
reservoir and geomechanical properties was well documented
by Ispas et al22.
An alternate approach is the use of an Impulse-Fracture
Iinjection Test and analysis of the post-closure pseudo-radial
flow period. Evaluation of this flow regime, allows for the
determination of reservoir transmissibility, flow capacity, and
reservoir permeability. The Impulse-Fracture Iinjection Test is
similar to more conventional well test methods, such as the
slug test, closed chamber DST, and impulse test26-35. In these
tests, a small volume of fluid is injected or produced from the
reservoir to create a pressure perturbation that is evaluated to
determine the reservoir flow properties.
Like the slug test or the more conventional impulse test the
theory and analysis of the Impulse-Fracture Iinjection Test are
based on an instantaneous source solution to the diffusivity
equation. When the injection period is short as compared to
the shut-in time, the injection can be considered as an
instantaneous source, the pressure response approaches 1/t and
the reservoir parameters can de determined. The ImpulseFracture Iinjection Test and After-Closure Analysis technique
to evaluate radial flow was developed and advanced by Gu et
al36 and Abousleiman et al37. This latter paper also developed
approximations for the early time pseudo-linear flow
regime. Nolte et al38-39, and Guirajani et al40 extended the
analysis of the pseudo-linear flow regime further. These works
showed how the after-closure analysis of impulse-fracture
injection tests when used with the standard fracture pressure
analysis techniques of Nolte41-42 and Nolte and Smith43
comprehensively addresses all aspects of fracture evaluation.
The combined evaluation estimates the reservoir parameters
(transmissibility and reservoir pressure) as well as those
affecting fracture behavior (fluid loss, stresses, and formation
compliance). Thus, all of the parameters required for
optimization of fracture treatments can be determined prior to
the fracture stimulation.

SPE 90865

Talley et al44, Chipperfield et al45, and Gulrajani et al46


addressed field applications of the Impulse-Fracture Iinjection
Test and techniques and procedures for successful/economic
application. All of these papers deal with impulse-fracture
injection testing in permeable reservoirs. Application of this
technique to wells in tight formation gas reservoirs has been
limited.
Conventional well testing is also very limited in tight
formation gas wells, since these wells often produce little or
no gas prior to fracture stimulation. In contrast, since pre-frac
fluid injections are routinely utilized by the industry to
breakdown formations and gather pre-fracture data, the
incremental cost of performing an Impulse-Fracture Iinjection
Test and subsequent After-Closure Analysis is often less than
conventional well test methods since there is no requirement
for additional equipment and flow to sales is not further
postponed. In addition, because the Impulse-Fracture Injection
Test and After-Closure Analysis technique is an injection test
procedure, it does not require the well to flow prior to the
fracture stimulation for analysis. Thus, this technique has
significant potential for application in tight formation gas
reservoirs.
Finally, any successful permeability test for application
to tight gas reservoirs must provide reliable and timely results
cost effectively with some level of operational simplicity for
routine application. Each of these objectives is achievable with
the Impulse-Fracture Injection Test in tight formation gas
reservoirs as shown by the following series of case histories.
Discussion
The subsequent sections detail three field applications of
impulse-fracture injection testing and after closure analysis for
the determination of reservoir pressure and permeability in
tight formation gas reservoirs in North America.
Case History 1: TFG Formations, Canadian Rockies
Geologic Setting:
The first two case histories encompass a series of tight
formations in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. One
of the formations in this evaluation is a widespread sandy
conglomerate. The gross zone is twenty-to-thirty meters thick
and persistent throughout the study area; net-to-gross pay
thickness is typically greater than 0.7. Within the zone, the
depositional environment is expected to result in large lateral
variability in reservoir character on the scale of tens of
meters.
Core and log analysis data show characteristics consistent
with a tight gas reservoir. Porosities range from two to six
percent. These unusually low values of porosity result from
the solid pebbles combined with the more porous sand matrix.
Insitu, klinkenberg permeabilities from core range from fiveto one-hundred microdarcies. Average water saturation from
logs is calculated at around thirty percent.
In addition to this horizon a package of tidally-influenced
deltaic, stacked and isolated fluvial channel sands were also
included in this analysis. Well logs show interbedded
sandstones and shales with thin coal beds, lacking regionally
correlative surfaces or clearly-defined depositional trends.
These sandstones are poorly- to moderately-sorted, fine to
coarse-grained litharenites. They have been highly compacted,

SPE 90865

and extensively cemented by silica. Reservoir quality ranges


from poor to very poor. Net clean sand thicknesses range up to
40 meters in the east, but thicken westward into the fore deep.
Insitu, klinkenberg permeabilities from core range from oneto fifty microdarcies and average water saturation from logs is
calculated at around twenty five percent.
Neither of these formations in the area produce as a
conventional reservoir, except in isolated locations.
Occasionally, an anomalous development of secondary
porosity in these sands yields a high-quality gas well, which
drains a very small area. Tests elsewhere indicate very poor
reservoir quality.
Formation Permeability Testing Chronology:
This first case history shows the chronological development of
a viable testing methodology for determining formation
permeability in tight formation gas reservoirs. Though the
chronology encompassed several wells and numerous
formation intervals all were extremely low permeability dry
gas completions. Further, the chronological development of a
testing procedure started first with the more conventional
pressure transient techniques to develop an understanding of
reservoir permeability. Theses tests consisted of a
conventional post frac build-up test, production decline
analysis, Perforation Inflow Diagnostic (PID), an impulse
injection test with nitrogen, and a PID/Closed Chamber DrillStem Test (CCDST).
Each of these conventional testing techniques failed to
pass the criteria for a successful tight gas permeability test
as they failed to provide timely, cost effective, reliable results
with some degree of operational simplicity. For example, the
post frac build-up test and production decline analysis had
fairly reliable results after numerous iterations but failed to
provide the information in a timely fashion that could be
utilized for the completion and fracture design, optimization,
and execution. The other techniques simply failed because
good wellbore-reservoir communication was not established.
As a result, not until the impulse-fracture injection tests were
conducted were the desired permeability test objectives
achieved with reduced shut-in times and costs. Modifications
to the technique further reduced both shut-in times and costs
to obtain good reliable reservoir permeability in these tight
formation gas reservoirs.
The subsequent sections will detail the testing chronology
used in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin to determine
reliable estimates of reservoir permeability. This chronology
will include a discussion of the methods employed,
operational procedures, and costs associated with the tests. A
summary of the tests conducted, results, costs, and an
assessment of the successful permeability test criteria for
application to tight gas are included as Table I located at the
end of the paper.
Test 1: Post Frac BUT & Production Decline Analysis
The first set of tests conducted included performing a
conventional post frac build-up test and subsequent production
decline analysis to determine reservoir permeability. A waterfrac stimulation (treated water with friction reducer and
nitrogen) was conducted on this well with 12.6 mkg of
proppant placed. After the fracture stimulation, the well was

flowed for six days to clean-up prior to performing a singlepoint flow and buidup test. After the initial clean-up period,
the well was flowed for 30 hours then shut-in for an extended
pressure build-up test.
Figure 1 is a plot of the rate and pressure response for the
post fracture stimulation flow and build-up test. Note, the well

Figure 1: Rate and Pressure Response From Post Frac Build-Up (Test 1)

was flowed for nearly six days following the fracture


stimulation, however, it is doubtful whether this extended flow
period was adequate to totally recover the load fluids and
clean-up the fracture.
Figure 2 shows the interpretation of the build-up test
response. As shown on this figure, a well defined unit slope in
the data prior to 0.1 hours indicates the wellbore storage
dominated period. Following the transition out of the
wellbore storage flow period, a fairly well developed -slope
period starts at about 100 hours and lasts until the end of the
pressure buildup test at 326.5 hours (13.6 days). This -slope
data is indicative of a finite conductivity fracture. The finite
conductivity fracture is consistent with the low proppant
concentrations and volumes pumped in this well, the results of
the pre-fracture design simulation, and the post-fracture match
of the treating pressures. It should be noted that no flow
periods exist in this build-up data that clearly define effective
formation permeability or effective fracture half-length. As a
result, permeability and fracture half-length must be
determined from an iterative model history match of the
pressure response.
This lack of obvious constraint on permeability and
fracture half-length implies that there is no unique solution to
Figure 2: Post Frac Build-Up Test History Match (Test 1)

SPE 90865

this build-up. However, the best understanding of the data can


only be achieved by investigating a number of different
solution iterations of the data. The best match of the build-up
pressure data is shown in Figure 2 with the best match of
formation permeability of 0.011 md while the effective
fracture half-length exhibited following the six day post frac
clean-up period was 60 meters with an FCD of 5.
In general, the quality of the match is extremely good.
Derivative features and the pressure response are matched
well. This fracture description (short half-length and low
conductivity) can only be viewed as consistent with the
fracture design expectations if it is assumed that fracture
clean-up was not complete prior to this pressure buildup test.
To test this as a possibility and to confirm the permeability
level obtained from the pressure buildup interpretation, the
long-term performance data from this well was history
matched.
The match approach was to constrain the
permeability to the build-up interpretation (0.011 md) and
attempt to match the performance data by gradually increasing
the fracture half-length and effective fracture conductivity
with time. This was accomplished by utilizing a three
dimensional, numeric, single phase, finite difference simulator
(GAS3D). This approach has been utilized extensively to
match fracture clean-up well performance in the East Texas
(Cotton Valley) Formation.47-49
Figure 3 shows the match of the first 100 days of rate-time
performance data obtained in this manner. The simulator uses

2000
1800
1600
1400
1200
1000
800
600
400
200
0

Test 2: Perforation Inflow Diagnostic (PID) Test


On the next well a Perforation Inflow Diagnostic (PID) test
was conducted. A service rig was put on the well, tubing
tripped in, and the cement displacement water was circulated
out and displaced with nitrogen. A perforating and test string
was run with Tubing Conveyed Perforating (TCP) guns
beneath a retrievable packer to reduce the size of the wellbore
storage chamber. The guns were oriented and the packer set.
Due to restrictions in the packers available for the casing used
and the need for oriented perforations, this exercise was very
difficult, time consuming, and costly to execute.
Pressure gauges were connected to the drop bar used to
detonate the perforating guns. A plug was set in the tubing to
further reduce the chamber size and the well was then left shut
in for 6 days. Due to low inflow, there was no definitive
indication that the guns had fired until the packer was unset
and the guns tripped out of the hole. Inspection confirmed that
the perforating guns had fired, yet poor inflow resulted. Was
this poor inflow due to low permeability and reservoir quality
or to poor wellbore-reservoir connection? The first test took
10 days total and cost $84,000 with no reliable results
obtained. In addition, this test not only failed to provide cost
effective results it also failed the operational simplicity
criterion due to the elaborate test string utilized.
Figure 4 shows a plot of bottomhole pressure and gas flow
rate versus time for this test. As shown, the pressure had built

1200
1000

Figure 4: Rate and Pressure response (Test 2)

800

12 00 0

0 .6

10 00 0

0 .5

8 00 0

0 .4

6 00 0

0 .3

600

20

40

60

Time, Days

80

100

0 .2

4 00 0
P

Qs c (N )

2 00 0

the measured wellhead pressures, translated to bottomhole


pressures with the Cullendar and Smith method, as the
imposed production constraints. Obviously, the quality of the
match is quite good. The fracture half-length has been
increased from 62 m at the beginning of the simulation to
approximately 215 m at the end. This was done in three steps
with minimal fracture conductivity change (+/- 5%) required
over time.
Though this is not a unique solution to the post fracture
production analysis, it does provide a solution that fits both the
early time fracture clean-up period as well as later time
production period when the full effective fracture half-length
is achieved. Though non-unique the production match strongly
supports the formation permeability determination of 0.011
md and implies the fracture was cleaning up for months
following the fracture stimulation. Though after a number of
iterations a fairly reliable interpretation of permeability was
obtained with the post-frac build-up and production data. The

R t (10^3

0
120

Fl

200

3/d)

400
Pressure (kPa)

Rate, MscfD

Figure 3: Post Frac Production History Match (Test 1)

BUT and production decline analysis were not timely for


completion and fracture optimization purposes or cost
effective due to the lengthy shut-in and production deferrment.

0 .1

0
0

20

40

60

80

10 0

12 0

T im e (H rs.)

up to less than half of the anticipated reservoir pressure. The


petrophysical permeability expectation was well in excess of
the pressure response seen in this well. As a result, poor
wellbore-reservoir communication rather than poor reservoir
quality was viewed as the likely cause of the anamolous
pressure behavior.
Test 3: Impulse Test with Nitrogen
The next test conducted on a nearby well was an impulse
injection test with nitrogen. This test was chosen because it
was believed that it would better address the wellborereservoir communication issue. Once again, a service rig had
to be utilized to execute this test. In addition, an elaborate test
string was utilized to complete all functions at once as

SPE 90865

required. The TCP guns, packer, and other elements of the test
string were tripped in the hole. The cement displacement
water was circulated out of the hole and displaced with
nitrogen. Attempts were made to orient the perforating guns in
the direction of maximum horizontal stress and set the packer
simultaneously. After 2 days, the operation was stopped and
the packer was set with the guns in the incorrect orientation. A
wellhead isolation tool had to be installed at surface due to the
high pressures needed for the test. The well was pressured up
with nitrogen to well in excess of reservoir pressure. This
detonated the pressure actuated TCP guns and initiated the
test. Once again, there was no definitive indication that the
guns had detonated as no pressure losses were visible on the
surface gauges for the first several hours. The well was left
shut in for 6 days and remained in wellbore storage throughout
the test. As a result, no permeability information was obtained.
The cost of the test was $128,000. This cost included the
associated well work described previously in addition to the
rental of a tree saver for the extremely high test pressures.
Figure 5: Log-Log diagnostic Plot (Test 4 CCDST)
102

Storage 1

Figure 6: Pressure Response From Test 5 Impulse-Fracture Injection Test

BHP (MPa)

10-1

30.0

35.0

25.0

, 106 kPa2/ Pa.s


Derivative , 106 kPa2/Pa.s

101

As a result of the concerns over wellbore-reservoir


communication and costs that had been encountered during
the first three more conventional tests. The next test attempted
was an Impulse-Fracture Injection Test and After Closure
Analysis38. This test and analysis technique has been
successfully applied in low to moderate permeability
applications throughout the world.
The test was conducted by perforating, then running in a
tubing string, packer, and fluid control valve to provide
downhole shut-off to reduce the chamber size. The packer was
set, and fluid was injected down the tubing to break down the
formation. Injection was stopped immediately after
breakdown. Leak-off rates were sufficiently low that no
pressure bleed off could be seen when the pump was stopped
before breakdown. A pressure testing truck could, therefore,
be used for the breakdown as only very low pump rates were
necessary.
Once broken down, the well was shut-in and the pressure
decline monitored for five days. This test provided estimates
of permeability at a cost of $62,000. In addition, the
breakdown procedure ensured good wellbore-reservoir
communication.
Figure 6 shows a plot of bottom hole pressure versus time
for the breakdown and pressure decline. As shown, the well

10-1

101

102

103

104

20.0

10-2

ta , hr

Test 4: Closed Chamber Drill-Stem Test (CCDST)


The next test conducted was a PID/ Closed Chamber DST.
This test consisted of displacing the well to nitrogen and
wireline perforating with the well open to the atmosphere.
Once perforated, a plug was set in the casing immediately
above the permanent downhole pressure gauge (restricting the
sample chamber to approximately 1 m3. Once again concerns
over the lack of wellbore-reservoir communication were
evident as the well built to one percent of reservoir pressure in
the first nine days and only to fifty one percent of reservoir
pressure over the course of seven months. Because of low
inflow and production deferrment, the test was finally aborted
at a cost of $106,000. Though operationally simple, the test
was still not cost effective and failed to provide useable
permeability results.
Figure 5 shows a log-log diagnostic plot of the pressure and
derivative response for this test. As shown, it took well over
300 hours to get out of wellbore storage much less into radial
flow. It should be noted that extensive simulation work was
conducted to analyze this data. The pressure response in this
well does not fit any classic slug test type curve and as a
result, no reasonably unique solution was obtained.
Test 5: Impulse-Fracture Injection Test

500

1000

1500
2000
T ime (min)

2500

3000

3500

broke down at 39 MPa and declined to 20 Mpa over the next


fifty-seven hours.
Figure 7A and 7B show the After Closure Analysis flow
regime identification plot and pseudo-radial flow analysis plot,
respectively. As these figures show, pseudo-radial flow was
achieved and a reliable permeability estimate of 0.008 md was
determined.
The permeability interpreted from this data is viewed as a
reliable estimate for several reasons. First, the pressure
response seen was a classic impulse test response. Secondly,
the pseudo-radial flow period was readily identifiable with the
analyses procedures38 undertaken, and finally the estimates of
permeability obtained in this manner proved to be a much
better fit with the actual well performance. Though reliable
results were obtained, additional modifications were
undertaken to the Impulse-Fracture Injection Test procedure to
make the technique more cost effective.
Tests 6-12: Modified Impulse-Fracture Injection
Due to the good permeability results and ensured
communication between the wellbore and reservoir, the next
series of tests consisted of conducting a modified form of the
Impulse-Fracture Injection Test44. The reasons for the

SPE 90865

dP/dP'
dP'

5.0

dP

1.0
0.50

dP/dP'

2.0

5.0
0.20 0.50 1.0 2.0

0.20

0.020 0.050

dP = (P-Pi) and dP'

10

19.5

50 100

PRes

20

Figure 7A: Flow Regime Identification Plot (Test 5 IFIT):

0.0020

0.0100

0.050

0.20 0.50 1.0 2.0


1/F-L^2
Less Smoothing

5.0 10

20

50 100 200

More Smoothing

Figure 7B: After Closure analysis Interpretation (Test 5 IFIT)


P(t) vs FR

M-R (MPa) =
kh/mu =
kh (md-ft) =
k (md) =

P(t) vs FL

828.9
0.53
0.01
0.003

Case History 2: Ricinus (Viking) Field


Geologic Setting:
The Viking Formation of Southwest Alberta is a Cretaceous
(Late Albian), sand-prone deposit overlying the Joli Fou
shale/Mannville Group and below the Westgate shale on the
Colorado Group. The formation can be divided into three
major cycles, the lower two of which occur regionally with the
upper cycle confined to the Bearberry, Alberta area.
The lowermost Viking cycle is dominated by sand and is

P(t) MPa

30

35

Radial Flow
Pi (MPa) =
19.20
Volume (CuM) = 0.34

Figures 8A and 8B show the diagnostic flow regime


identification plot and pseudo-radial flow analysis for one of
the Modified-Impulse-Fracture Injection Tests, respectively.
As shown, a definitive pseudo-radial flow period is identified
(Figure 8A) and a reservoir permeability of 0.008 md is
interpreted (Figure 8B). It should be noted that the costs
reported in US$ and are for an application in a semi-remote
location. Table I summarizes the permeability test chronology,
results, and assessment of the permeability test criteria for
each test conducted. As shown, the Modified Impulse-Fracture
Injection test with After Closure Analysis achieved all
objectives admirably.

dP

50000

dP/dP'

-0.007

0.000

0.007

0.014
FR or FL

0.021

0.028

0.035

20000

dP'
-0.014

5.0

20

25

Figure 8A: Flow Regime Identification Plot (Test 7 MIFIT)

0.042

2.0
1.0
0.50

dP/dP'

10000
5000
2000

0.20

1000
500

2.0

5.0

10

20

50

100

200

500

1/F-L^2

Figure 8B: After Closure Analysis Interpretation (Test 7 MFIT)

P(t) vs FR
P(t) vs FL

M-R (KPa) =
kh/mu =
kh (md-ft) =
k (md) =

190070.0
5.32
0.11
0.008

25000

P(t) KPa

30000

Radial Flow
Pi (KPa) =
17999.97
Volume (CuM) =
2.00

20000

modifications were to reduce the costs further and to improve


the interpretability of the data. The interpreted permeability is
proportional to the total fluid injection volume so the fluid
volumes must be determined accurately which can be a
problem when injecting such small fluid volumes. On the
other hand, the time to pseudo-radial flow is directly related to
the square of the fracture half-length. Double the size of the
created fracture during the injection test and you quadrupal the
time to get to pseudo-radial flow. As a result, the test was
modified so that the injection volume could be increased for
better volume accuracy without creating a larger fracture. This
was achieved by conducting a step down injection test (shown
in Table 2) as proposed and advanced by Nolte. The modified
test included multiple injection rates with each injection step
consisting of an equal volume of fluid injected. This might
entail, for example pumping 2 BPM (0.32 m3/min) for 1
minute, 1 BPM (0.16 m3/min) for 2 minutes, 0.67 BPM (0.11
m3/min) for 3 minutes, and 0.5 (0.05 m3/min) BPM for 4
minutes.
Following the step down test the wells were shut-in from
two to six days until pseudo-radial flow was achieved. In all of
the Modified Impulse-Fracture Injection Tests, reliable results
were achieved at a fraction of the cost of the more
conventional pressure transient tests with the average cost to
conduct one of these tests averaging $15,000. It should be
noted that these costs include reperforating the wells, when the
entire interval can be perforated and tested the costs have been
on the order of $7,000.

dP = (P-Pi) and dP'

FR:828.9 FL:0.0

0.2

0.0

0.4
FR or FL

FR:190070.0

FL:0.0

0.6

SPE 90865

regressive, consisting of two unconformity-bounded


progradational wedges comprised of storm-dominated
shoreface and offshore shelf sediments. The middle Viking
cycle is also regressive and is capped by an unconformity
formed following sea-level fall and erosion into underlying
deposits. In the Bearberry area an additional Upper Viking
transgressive cycle occurs, consisting of coarse-grained sands
and conglomerates delivered to the basin margin during the
sea-level lowstand and subsequently reworked into offshore
bars and tidal channels during subsequent transgression.
These coarsest sediments exhibit the best reservoir quality and
now occur as E-W trending bodies within the transgressive
Viking. Permeability in the Viking Formation ranges from 0.1
to 10 md.
Determination of Reservoir Permeability:
The second case history is an interesting comparison of the
use of the open-hole Modular Dynamic Formation Tester
(MDT) and After Closure Analysis technique applied to prefrac diagnostic pressure decline data. The MDT estimates of
permeability were determined prior to running production
casing and as a result, were useful in making dry hole versus
set pipe decisions. Though timely, interpretation of this data
can be highly subjective due to multiple phase flow of drilling
mud filtrate and gas (this example) and the inability to
establish the correct/equivalent downhole flow rate.
The After Closure Analysis technique employed for the
evaluation of the mini-frac pressure decline data though not as
timely as the MDT, was still timed adequately to favorably
impact fracture design and execution. In addition, this
example highlights another application for the After Closure
Analysis (ACA) Technique as a part of pre-fracture
stimulation diagnostic testing. Note, that this method of
determining permeability is less geared for application to truly
tight formation gas reservoirs due to the time it takes to
achieve pseudo-radial flow. The subsequent sections detail the
evaluation of the MDT and ACA techniques employed in the
Ricinus (Viking) Field.
The Viking Formation in the area is an extremely complex
reservoir(s) with a conglomeratic section overlying a
sandstone interval. The numerous thrust sheets, reservoir
juxtaposition, and interwell communication make knowledge
of reservoir pressure prior to setting pipe paramount to
optimized field development.
The Modular Formation Dynamics Tester (MDT) is
perfectly fit for this purpose. The MDT is an openhole tool
that is used to isolate a one-meter interval, produce and/or
inject fluids, while monitoring bottomhole pressure. Though
the tool can be utilized to conduct flow and build-up tests or to
determine in-situ stresses, it was used in the Ricinus Field to
conduct flow and build-up tests to determine reservoir
pressure and permeability.
Figure 9 highlights the tool configuration used for the
Viking Formation. It should be noted that due to an eightdegree dogleg in this particular well the full tool configuration
could not be utilized. The dogleg further restricted the rigid
tool length and knuckle joints (i.e. labeled AH-107 in Figure
9) were required. In addition, the tool run in the Ricinus well
consisted of a tension and compression sub (CTS-B1), a
telemetry cartridge (TCC-BF), and a gamma ray sonde (SGT-

Figure 9: Modular Formation Dynamics Tester (MDT)

L). Below the knuckle joint is the power supply (MRPC), the
pump off (MRPO) and flow (MRF_C) controller, and the live
fluid analyzer (LFA). Below the flow analyzer are two TAM
packers (MRPA) that are one meter apart. Once run, the
packers are used to straddle the zone of interest (zero point of
the tool is between packer elements), formation fluids are then
produced or wellbore fluids injected in the formation and the
pressure monitored.
Multiple packer sets, flow, and build-up tests were
successfully conducted in the Ricinus well of interest.
However, only one of the Viking intervals tested is detailed in
this case history.
Figure 10 shows the bottom hole pressure versus time
chart for two flow and build-up tests conducted using the
MDT in the Viking conglomerate. As shown, the pressure was
drawn down from hydrostatic to 3900 KPa and built back up
to 10400 KPa during the first flow and shut-in sequence and
drawndown to 4900 KPa and built up to 10300 KPa during the
second sequence. The first flow period lasted only 5 minutes
and nearly 2.5 liters of drilling mud was produced during this
time period. Subsequently, the tool was shut-in and the
pressure build-up monitored for nearly an hour. Following this
test and to validate its results, the tool was opened up and an

SPE 90865

Figure 11B: Horner Analysis (Method 1)

140
100
80
60

300

200 500 2000 10000 50000


500000
(tp+dt)/dt

5000000

interest and fracture stimulated. As part of the pre-frac testing


on this well a fluid displacement and a mini-frac test were
conducted. Though the mini-frac test and pressure decline
monitoring was aborted prematurely due to operational
considerations, After Closure Analysis was applied to the fluid
displacement pressure decline data in an attempt to determine
estimates of reservoir pressure and permeability. Note, that
this data collection utilized a dead string to monitor
bottomhole pressure.
Figures 13A and 13B shows the flow regime identification
plots and the analysis of pseudo-radial flow using the After
Figure 12A: Flow Regime Identification Plot (Method 2)
PRes

10
5.0

dP'

1.0
0.20

0.50

dP/dP'

0.50 1.0

2.0

2.0

dP/dP'
5.0

dP

9.9

dP = (P-Pi) and dP'

additional 30.0 liters of drilling mud, gas cut mud, and gas
were produced during a 41-minute flow period. Next, the tool
was again shut-in and the pressure was allowed to build for
nearly three hours. During this time, the pressure built from
the instantaneous shut-in pressure of 4900 KPa to 10300 KPa.
Next, the second extended flow and build-up test was
interpreted to determine the reservoir permeability and
pressure. To evaluate the build-up test a log-log diagnostic
plot and conventional horner plot were developed. Note,
however,, the conventional interpretation of the data is made
more difficult because both drilling mud and gas were
produced during the extended flow period. Two methods were
employed for the analysis of this data. First, a downhole gas
flow rate was estimated and used in a conventional horner
analysis and secondly, the test was assumed to be an impulse
test even though the shut-in time to flow time (tsi/ti) ratio was
only 4.
Figures 11A and 11B show the log-log diagnostic plot and
horner analysis for method 1. As shown, the data was
transitioning from wellbore storage to pseudo-radial flow at
the end of the test. Further, the horner analysis with the
downhole gas flow rate assumption (Method 1) indicated a
reservoir permeability of 0.07md.
Next, method 2 was employed to interpret the data. Figures
12A and 12B show a flow regime identification plot and
pseudo-radial flow analysis plot, respectively for the impulse
assumption (Method 2). As shown the analyses resulted in an
estimated formation permeability of 0.10 md.
Following the MDT, production casing was run and the
well was completed in the Viking Formation interval of

0.050 0.10 0.20

200
Time (min)

0.0100

100

P* = 10469.715 KPa
kh = 0.234 md-ft
k
= 0.071 md
Skin = 71.456
Flow Eff = 0.078

120

m(p) (psi^2/cp e-06)

20000
12000
0 4000

0.50

1.0

2.0

5.0

10

20

1/F-L^2
Less Smoothing

Figure 11A: Flow Regime Identification Plot (Method 1)

More Smoothing

Figure 12B: Impulse Analysis (Method 2)


P(t) vs FR

13
P(t) MPa

20
10

M-R (MPa) =
kh/mu =
kh (md-ft) =
k (md) =

0.4
22.40
0.34
0.102

11

5.0

Radial Flow
Pi (MPa) =
9.88
Volume (Liters) = 30.00

10

2.0
0.50 1.0

dm(P) (psi^2/cp e-06)

50

14

100 200

P(t) vs FL

12

Pressure (KPa)

28000

160

Figure 10: MDT Pressure Response (Repeated Flow/Build-up Tests)

0.0

0.5

1.0

1.5
FR or FL

0.0020 0.0050

0.020 0.050 0.10 0.20


0.50
dTeq(hours), Tp = 2188.8

1.0

2.0

5.0

FR:0.4 FL:0.0

2.0

2.5

SPE 90865

Figure 13A:Flow regime Identification Plot (Fluid Displacement Test)


dP

0.20

5.0

0.50

10

1.0

dP/dP'

20

dP = (P-Pi) and dP'

2.0

dP'

5.0

50

dP/dP'

cost justify this application of the MDT as its use saved nearly
$1,500,000.
Though extremely beneficial, there still is some inherent
difficulty in interpreting the results of the data collected with
the tool. What is the correct/appropriate downhole gas flow
rate to utilize in the interpretation? This multi-phase
interpretation problem can be negated in future MDT tests,
however, by using the MDT tool in an Impulse-Fracture
Injection Test mode to breakdown the formation and monitor
the decline to pseudo-radial flow using the instantaneous
source solutions developed by Gu et al38 and Nolte40-41.

1.0

2.0

5.0

10

1/F-L^2
L

thi

thi

Figure 13B: After Closure Analysis Interpretation (Fluid Displacement Test)


P(t) vs FR

25

Radial Flow
Pi (MPa) =
11.70
Volume (CuM) = 33.66
M-R (MPa) =
kh/mu =
kh (md-ft) =
k (md) =

43.1
429.50
6.44
0.131

15

20

P(t) MPa

30

35

P(t) vs FL

0.0

0.3

0.6

0.9
1.2
FR or FL

1.5

1.8

2.1

2.4

FR:43.1 FL:0.0

Closure Analysis Technique, respectively. This analysis


estimated a permeability of 0.13 md for this interval. Thus, all
analyses were in good agreement. It should be noted that the
well went on a vacuum shortly after the apparent pseudoradial flow period was achieved.
Comparison of MDT to After Closure Analysis
The Modular Dynamic Formation Tester (MDT) performed
admirably in this and subsequent wells to determine both
reservoir pressure and permeability. The true value in this tool
is that the required reservoir information can be obtained prior
to setting pipe and completing the well. In one of the Viking
applications, the use of the MDT tool and subsequent analysis
results precluded setting pipe and conducting completion
operations in Viking intervals that had already been depleted
by offset wells saving millions of dollars in pipe and
completion costs. Benefits from such timely data collection
are easy to quantify.
In one application in the Viking Formation the MDT
testing cost $118,000 for multiple MDT runs and $130,154 for
rig time and rental charges for a total cost of $248,154. In
another application with fewer intervals to interpret the tool
cost only $113,000 to run (MDT and rig charges). Given that
the tool saved running production casing and multiple
completions in a severely depleted reservoir in one application
and eliminated up to five completions in another it was easy to

Case History 3: Almond Formation, Wamsutter Field


Geologic Setting:
The Wamsutter Field is a Tight Formation Gas field located in
Southwestern Wyoming with a resource base that covers over
2,000 square miles. The field is roughly centered on the
Wamsutter Arch, which is a broad structural high that may
have been uplifted as late as Paleocene time. Production in the
field is primarily from the Almond Formation, an
overpressured sandstone/siltstone/shale sequence in the Upper
Cretaceous Mesaverde Group. The field has produced around
2 TCF to date, with over 3 TCF additionally recoverable.
Most of the sands found in the Almond Formation are
lenticular and fluvial in origin with a marginal marine
exposure. The average grain size is fine to very fine grained in
individual fluvial beds of from a few inches to tens of feet.
The gross pay section consists of lenticular stacked sands (612 pay sands in each wellbore), most of which are of 60-200
acres in size, with 0.005-0.100 md permeability. The Almond
section is slightly overpressured at 0.52 psi/ft reservoir
pressure.
Modified Impulse-Fracture Injection Tests:
The final case history is the interpretation of pressure and
permeability for the Almond Formation of the Meseverde
Group.
More conventional pressure transient analysis
techniques have been employed over the years, but are little
used today due to the time and cost involved. Conventional
pressure transient tests in these low permeability reservoirs
generally require long flow flow periods (days), longer shut-in
periods (days to weeks), downhole shut-off tools to reduce
wellbore storage effects, and cost tens of thousands of dollars.
More recently, log analysis and petrophysical correlations of
log and core porosity and permeability have been utilized in
Wamsutter Field development. These methods have
shortcomings as well, and well performance is often poorly
predicted by these log-core correlations. As a result, the
completions are difficult to optimize, and the economics of the
field development program suffer.
As an aid in determining permeability in-situ and testing
the log-core correlations used previously, the Modified
Impulse-Fracture Injection Test and After Closure Analysis
technique were employed. This test was conducted by
identifying and perforating a well bounded Almond sand
interval and breaking down the formation with the Modified
Impulse-Fracture Injection (step down) procedure. Once
broken down, the well was shut-in and the pressure decline
monitored for approximately two days. This test gave
excellent results and cost only $2,000. The reduced cost

10

SPE 90865

Figure 15A: Flow Regime Identification Plot (Almond MIFIT)


dP

2.0
dP/dP'

1.0

10

0.20

20

50

0.50

100 200

dP = (P-Pi) and dP'

500 1000

dP'

5.0

5000

dP/dP'

5.0

2.0

5.0

10

20

50
1/F-L^2

100

200

500

1000

Figure 15B: After Closure analysis Interpretation (Almond MIFIT)


P(t) vs FR
9000

P(t) vs FL

8500

occurred due to the low pressures encountered as compared to


the Canadian examples and the ability to utilize a small skid
mounted centrifugal pump equipped with an accurate
flowmeter and surface pressure transducer. Figure 14 shows a
log montage for a Wamsutter Field well where one of the
Almond sands was isolated and tested through the use of the
Modified Impulse-Fracture Injection Test. The interval tested
is highlighted on the figure with an arrow.
Figures 15A and 15B shows the flow regime diagnostic
plot and the interpretation of the pseudo-radial flow period for
the Wamsutter Field test, respectively. As shown in (15A) a
good pseudo-radial flow period was established in this test as
determined by the pressure and first derivative declining at a
negative unit slope and the second derivative flattening at a
value of 1.
Figure 15B shows the test interpretation of 0.003 md for
the Wamsutter test. Also, note that the reservoir pressure
determined was 5610 psi. A sidewall core plug taken from the
same interval showed 0.035 md Klinkenberg corrected
permeability to air at 800 psi confining stress. It is important

7500
6500

7000

P(t) psi

8000

Figure 14: Log for The Almond Formation Test (MIFIT)

6000

Radial Flow
Pi (psi) =
5610.00
Volume (M-Gal) = 0.43
M-R (psi) = 106261.0
kh/mu =
1.37
kh (md-ft) =
0.03
k (md) =
0.003

-0.2

0.0

0.2
FR or FL

0.4

0.6

FR:106261.0 FL:0.0

2.
0

100
GR, API Units

200 0

0 .5 0
Ne utro n, Phi

1 .0 0 0

5 0 .0 0
Re s is tivity, Ohm s

100

to note that while core derived permeabilities represent a


reservoir thickness of less than one foot the Modified ImpulseFracture Injection Test measures the average permeability of
the entire sand thickness encountered and communicated
during the test.
Numerous such tests were conducted on a number of
Almond Formation intervals in the Wamsutter Field.
Individual sands tested ranged from 7 to 56 feet thick, with
permeabilities from 0.001 to 0.090 md. Reservoir pressure
gradients ranged from 0.434 to 0.795 psi/ft. These test results
are being coupled with log derived data and a correlation will
be developed between reservoir permeability from the
Impulse-Fracture Injection Tests and effective hydrocarbon
porosity to more accurately estimate reservoir permeability for
optimizing completion designs in the future.
Conclusions
1. The application of Modified Impulse-Fracture
Injection Tests and After Closure Analysis
techniques can be a time and cost effective means

3.

4.

5.

of determining reservoir permeability and


pressure in tight formation gas reservoirs,
By conducting the impulse test above fracturing
pressure, communication with the reservoir can
be ensured, providing a distinct advantage over
conventional impulse, slug test, and/or closed
chamber DST,
The application of Modified Impulse-Fracture
Injection Test Procedures (breakdown procedures
utilizing a step-down approach as advocated by
Nolte) is particularly important in tight formation
gas reservoir applications,
Determination of reservoir permeability and
pressure is critical to optimum field development,
well completions, and fracture stimulation. The
Modified Impulse-Fracture Injection Test is a
viable means of determining formation
permeability,
Formation permeability obtained from the
Modified Impulse-Fracture Injection Test can be
used to improve permeability predictions from
log-core correlations.

Acknowledgements
The authors wish to thank the management of BP and BPCanada Energy Company for permission to publish this work.
In addition, the authors wish to thank Dr. Ken Nolte for his

SPE 90865

11

continued development and tireless advocation of this valuable


technology.
Nomenclature
A = area, L2
F (t ) = time function, Eq. 18, dimensionless
L(t ) = time function, Eq. C-5, dimensionless
N = number of spatial cells, dimensionless
P = defined by C-28, T
R(t ) = time function, Eq. C-9, dimensionless

k = permeability, L2
x = distance from wellbore, L
w = fracture width, L
m H = Horner slope, M / LT 2
m L = linear-flow slope, p vs F, M / LT 2
m LL = log-log slope, App. D (dimensionless)
m R = radial flow slope, p vs F2, M / LT 2
p = pressure, M / LT 2

E ' = plane strain modulus, M / LT 2


C R = reservoir fluid-loss coefficient, L / T1/2

p * = corrected slope of G-plot, M / LT 2

CT = total fluid-loss coefficient, L / T1/2

p R = pressure of reservoir beyond filtrate, M / LT 2

F * (t ) =

pc = fracture closure pressure, M / LT 2

t c F (t ) , Eq. C-27, T1/2

G * = G-axis intercept, dimensionless


M R = recession multiplier for t c , dimensionless
Pg = press. fcn. for gas res. (App. D) , M / LT 2
S p = spurt value, L
T = t D x f , dimensionless res. time for a fracture
Tc = T evaluated at tc, dimensionless
Tknee = T evaluated at tknee, dimensionless
T p = T evaluated at tp, dimensionless
V f = volume of fracture, L3
V f p = volume of fracture at tp, L3

pi = initial reservoir pressure, M / LT 2


q i = injection rate, L3 / T
t = time since pumping began, T
t D = dimensionless time for radial flow (App. D)
t R = time of recession (App. B) and of ramp (App. D), T
t a = apparent time, or time of fracture arrival, T
t c = time of fracture closure, T
t knee = time of transition-flow knee, T
t p = time of pumping, T
x f a = apparent value of, xf, L

V Lp = volume of fluid lost at tp, L

V LT = total volume of fluid lost, L3


a = 1/2 length, Eq. A-7, L
i, j, k = indices, dimensionless
s = prior time (App. C), L, or dimless skin (App. D)
c f = fracture compliance, L / M / LT 2

ct = reservoir total compressibility, LT 2 / M


e = exponent or symbol in Eq. B-10, dimensionless
f C = CT-component of f x , dimensionless
f R = recession fraction, Fig. 3, dimensionless
fV = volume fraction for proppant, dimensionless
f L = fraction of fluid loss because of spurt, dimensionless
f pad = pad volume fraction, dimensionless
f x = xfa /xf , dimensionless
f = spurt-component of f x , dimensionless
g ( t D ) = loss function, Eq. A- 22, dimensionless
g 0 = g (0)
h = reservoir height , L
h0 = initial fracture height, L

p f = fracture pressure, M / LT 2

x f = final fracture half-length, L

Vi = volume of fluid injected, L3

h f = fracture height, L

p D = dimensionless reservoir pressure

x t = fracture half-length at time, t, L


t = t t p , time since end of pumping, T
t c = t c t p , time for closure period, T
t c* = t c ( f R = 0) , time with no recession, T
t d = (t t c ) / t c , dimensionless time since closure
t D = t / t p , dimensionless time since end pumping
p R = p R pi , press. difference in reservoir, M / LT 2
p RD = dimensionless simulation pressure, Eq. B-3
pT = pc pi , total pressure difference at closure, M / LT 2
p f = p f pc , net fracturing-pressure, M / LT 2

= time exp. for propagation, Eq. B-4, dimensionless


= spatial-averaging coeff., Eq. A-27, dimensionless
= factor for app. time = 2 in Eq. A-11; 16 / 2 in Eq.18

= difference, or ( g 0 / 2) 2 for Eqs. A-22 to 25, dimless


= dimensionless pressure difference, Eq. C-24
= exponent for prop schedule, Eq. A-31
= porosity, dimensionless
= reservoir diffusivity, L2 / T
= spurt coefficient, Eq. A-12, dimensionless
* = upper bound for , defined by Eq. C-25, dimless

12

SPE 90865

= reservoir fluid viscosity, M / LT


= dimenless time difference for simulation, Eq. B-12
= Vf p /Vi , dimensionless
= dimensionless prior time for simulation
= dimensionless time current time for simulation
= fluid loss flux, L/T
= ramp rate, L3 / T 2
= dimensionless distance for simulation
c = equivalent dim. close time with recession, Eq. A-21
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2.
3.

4.

5.

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SPE 90865

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14

SPE 90865

Table 1: Case History One- Summary of Tests, Results, Costs, And Assessment of TFG Permeability Test Criteria

Tst
#

Test Type

Perm
md

Core
Perm
md

1
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12

Post Frac BUT


Prod Decline
CCDST
N2 Impulse
PID+
I-FIT & ACA
MI-FIT & ACA
MI-FIT & ACA
MI-FIT & ACA
MI-FIT & ACA
MI-FIT & ACA
MI-FIT & ACA
MI-FIT & ACA

0.011
0.011
NA
NA
NA
0.003
0.0078
0.008
0.0068
0.0125
0.0047
0.007
0.0552

0.010
0.015
0.008

0.076

Actual
Cost
M$
5
0
84
128
106
62
15
15
7
7
7
7
7

Cost

Production
Deferrment

Timeliness

Operational
Simplicity

Very Good
Excellent
Very Poor
Very Poor
Very Poor
Poor
Very Good
Very Good
Very Good
Very Good
Very Good
Very Good
Very Good

Poor
Excellent
Fair
Fair
Very Poor*
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent

Very Poor
Very Poor
Good
Good
Good
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent

Excellent
Excellent
Poor
Very Poor
Poor
Excellent
Very Good
Very Good
Very Good
Very Good
Very Good
Very Good
Very Good

* PID was aborted without results, extension of shut-in time to nearly seven months resulted in significant production deferment

Table 2: Modified Impulse-Fracture Injection Test Example Procedure


Stage

Injection
Rate,
BPM

Injection
Time,
min

Cumulative
Time,
min

Stage
Volume,
Bbls

Cumulative
Volume,
Bbls

1
2
3
4

2.00
1.00
0.67
0.50

1
2
3
4

1
3
6
10

2
2
2
2

2
4
6
8