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SPE
SPE 14517
A Study of Reservoir Parameters
West Virginia

Affecting

Gas we!!

spacing

in

by K. Aminian, S. Ameri, and M.S. Saradji, * West Virginia U., and C.D. Locke, BDM Corp.
Now with U.S. DOE/METC
SPE Members

Copyright 19S5, Bociity of Petroleum Engineers


This paper waa praaantad at the SPE 1985 Eastern Regional Meeting Held in Morgantown,West Virginia November 6-S, 1985. The material is sub@ctto
correctionby the author. Permission to copy is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 worda. Write SPE, P.O. Box 8SSSS6,Richardson,Texaa
7506$SSS6. Telex: 7S0869 SPE DAL.

Abstract

Introduction

Well spacing has a significanteffect on ga~


reservoir deliverability
optimization. A single well
seldom provides the desired rate of production from
a given reservoir. Generally,the totalrate of gas
production increases with the number of the wells
completed in the gas reservoir. At the same time,
inter-wellinterferencetends to reduce this increase
in total rate of production as the number of
thera
producing wells are increased. C!43neequently$
must exist a weU-spacing which will result in the
mc~t effkiefit.~~@-v-~~y from a naturai gas
reservoir. This optimum well spacing depends upon
the producing formation characteristics
as well as
economics s2ffiekidevelopment.

As iacreemi more of tilenaturai gas reserves


are depleted, more efficientmethods of extraction/
recovery must be used to insure a reliablesupply
of natural gas in the future.
Generally,a single
well seldom provides sufficientwithdrawal capacity
for a whole reservoir. Totsl production can be
increased by drillingand producing additionalwells,
but inter-wellinterference tends to diminish the
:-e----.11..
.USSGin tahi
rate of production as the number
of producing wells are increased, Consequently:
there must existan optimum number of wellsand an
optimum spacing pattarn which will result in the
most efficientrecovery of natural gas from a
reservoir.

The overall objective of this paper is to


provide a general guideline based on reservoir
engineering principals for efficientwell spacing
pertaining to gas producing formations in West
Virginia. The objectivewas achieved by developing
a general reservoir model which simulatesthe flow
of gas in a reservoircontainingseveral wells. The
model was then used to study the parameters which
affectwell interferenceand spacing. The model has
the advantage of also accounting for the inertial
component of pressure drop in gas flow through
porous media, a factor which was found to affect
well interference.

The optimum well spacing is defined by Van


Winegenl as The density of wells that willresultin
the greatestultimateprofitto operator. Defined in
these terms, it implies that the evaluation of
differentdevelopment programs willbe controlledby
such economic factors as drillingand completion
cost, net price of hydrocarbons, intarestrate, and
operating life. The optimum number of wells that
are identicalin their geometry as well as production
capacity in a reservoir can be estimated when the
reservoir is substantiallyuniform throughout. If,
however, the reservoir is highly hetrogenaous or
contains numerous faults,no known general model
lends itselfto a realisticestimate of optimum well
spacing.

Reservoir data pertaining to Big Injun and


Benson formations were collectedand interpreted.
Tineinterpreteddata were statistically
analyzed and
the results were utilizedin conjunction with the
model to provide general guidelinespertaining to
~Mc&g
fop gae weiis producing from these two
horisons in West Virginia.

In order to determine the optimum well spacing


in a gas reservoir,it is necessary to identifyand
study the reservoir and well parameters w~.~~~.
controlthe reservoirdeliverability
y and interference.
The objectiveof this study is to determine general
guidelines for optimum well spacing for efficient
recovery of naturalgas in West Virginia. The result
of this study can be used as a technicalbasis for
evaluatingstate-widegas well spacing regulationsor
to determine the most efficient
gas fielddevelopment
method by the individualoperator.

References and illustrations


at end of paper.
251

A STUDY OF RESERVOIR

PARAMETERS AFFECTING

GAS WELL SPACING

SPE 14517

IN WEST VIRGINIA

where:
Gas flow in reservoirs has been discussed in
literally
hundreds of technicalpapers over the past
of fieici
data has been presented
40 year=. A W-eaitii
mathematical
with
increasingly complex
along
treatments.
The
partial differentialequations
describing gas flow in a porous medium is given
below:
v(w)

- 0 ~

(1)

The real gas potential which is introduced by


A1-Hussainy,Ramey, and Crawford2 and is defined as:
(2)
can greatly facilitate
the incorporationof viscosity
and gas deviationfactorinto a mathematicalmodel of
gas flow. The final form of the equation which
describes the flow of gas through porous media can
be obtained by combining Equations 1 and 2 with the
equation of state of real gas (Equation 3) and
Darcys Law (Equation4) as follows:
P

us

PM
j--T

K Cip
- 6.328 --z

(3)

2.223 X 10-15 j#G+;

Case histories involving interference and


drainage have given ample evidence that gas can
move throughout a continuous porous reservoirover
a distance far exceeding any spacing normally
employed in gas fields6. Both from s practica!e!xi
an analyticalpoint of view, it is convenient to
distinguishbetween, and treat separately,multi-well
systems in which wells form groups distributedover
areas small compared to totalarea of hydrocarbon
bearing sand and those in which the well system is
distributedover allor a,large part of the reservoir
or producing aand7. The former types of situations
willarise during the early stages of development of
a large reservoir.
Flow interferenceamong a multitudeof flowing
wellsdraining from oilproducing reservoirhas been
discussed and effectiveflows for a discretenumber
of wells has been mathematically evaluated by
Muskat7~8.
It was shown by Muskat that the
pressure dWributiep. et sp. imiivid*ua!
we!!j ear~
be expressed as:
Pj = Pe + -.@2nKh

(4)

(8)

f,;
(Ji

-.
in ~

~%1
+ i=l Qi In ~e
iZj
I

(9)

where:
(5)

Pe
= reservoirpressure
f1ow rate
Qi
z
Equation 5 is essentiallythe diffusivityequation in
ri
= well bore radius
terms of real gas potential. This equation is,
rii = distancebetween the WaIIS
ao~d~~~
=X~SX.S.
however, non-!inearand no ana!yticd
r:
= reservoirradius
Equation 5 is solved numericallyby finite-difference ~=
-.
.. i1ity
...-
permeab
techniques in reservoirsimiiitors,
h=
thickness
B=
formation volume factor
It has long been establishedthat Darcys Law
viscosity
P=
(Equation 4) becomes inadequate in describing high
velocity g$jas flow
through
porous
media.
Upon applying Equation 9 to 2 wells,of spacing
Forchheimer proposed the followingequation:
d2 and common well radius of rw and pressure of
Pw, the interferenceeffect (which is expressed by
dp
.- . PV
~--+ @pi/z
(6)
the
total flux capacity from the two wells to two
dL
non-interferingwells)may be expressed as:
The firstterm on the right-hand side is the Darcy
Q~+Q.2
or viscous wmponent while the second is a high
ln(re/rw)
productivity
index ratio = -
= -----velocity or non-Darcy component.
In this latter
(lo)
2Q0
term, # is the velocitycoefficientor coefficientof
rinertial resistance. This term has been called
turbulence factor and
correlated with
the
permeability by Katz and Corne114 and ~tz and
and for four wellsin square pattern of side d4:
Janicek5. The high velocitycomponent in Equation 6
is negligibleat low flow velocitiesand is generally
ln(re/rw)
productivity _
_ -
Q1+QPW9
= --.---... .
omitted from liquid flow equations. For a given
(11)
index
ratio
re4
4Q0
pressure draw-down, however, the velocityof gas is
in
at leastan order of magnitude greater than for oil,
/Zrwd;
[1
because of the low density of gas, The high-velocity
component.is,therefore,always included in equations
Muskat carried through similar applications to
describing the flow of real gas through a porous
groups of 5, 9, and 16 wells. The same principles
medium.
had been utilizedby Dereiewaki9 tQ determine the
effectiveflow for gas reservoirs. The modifiedform
The p~eudo-steady-statesolutionof Equation 5
of the Mus kat Equation for gas wellsis as follows:
for radial flow when the non-Darcy effects are
included is given below:

in192
[1

1422 q in ~~ - 0.75 + S + Dq] (7)


m(p) m(wf) = -fi
[
,

SPE 14517

K. AMINIAN,

S.

AMERI,

M.S.

SARADJI, & C.D. LOCKE

Where exponent n is incorporatedin the equation to


account for the pressure drop due to inertialeffect.
This adjustment, however, is empiricaland, in order
to obtain the general solutionfor a multi-wellgas
system, it is necessary to start with Equation 5 and
combine it with Equation 6. The finalequation can
be solved by employing a reservoir simulator.
Reservoir simulation is the proceaa whereby the
behavior of a hydrocarbon reservoiris inferredfrom
the behavior of a mathematicalmodel which describes
it. Reservoir simulators offer the advantage of
accounting for many parameters,and variableswhich
affect reservoir or well behavior and which are
ignored
in
conventional analysis techniques.
Numerical reservoirmodels have been developed and
successfully employed
to
optimize reservoir
development and production. GAS 3D2 is a general
purpose
multi-dimensional, single-phase, gas
simulator which
developed for the
has been
Department of Energy10. Two solutionalgorithms are
availablein GAS 3D2. For most problems, iterative
solutionwith LSOR (Line Successive Over-Relaxation)
is recommended, as it ia very powerful and requires
very littlearray storage.
For very difficult
problems where LSOR converges very slowly,a direct
solution algorithm which is baaed on D4 ordering
scheme may be used if sufficientcore storage is
available. A complete descriptionof the simdkter
and its various routines are given in the published
manuallO.

Data Collection
and Analysis

Methodology

The initialopen flow and pressure data were


used ta evaluate the formation permeabilityand/or
flow capacity (permeability
y x thickness). This was
achieved by entering the pressure and open flow
into the computer program/equation 7 to determine
permeability. Figures 1, 2A, and 2B are the
quick-reference plots which can be used for the
same purpose and exhibit the relationshipbetween
open flow,pressure,and flow capacityfor Big Injun
It must, however, be
and Benson horizons.
recognized that these resultsare based on a radial
model pseudo-steady state flow assumption and will
--if the
actuaiflow in the reservoiris
ordy
- be correct
close to the assumed flow regime.

To etudy well interferenceand spacing in a gas


reservoir,it is necessary to develop a reservoir
model which simulates the gas flow in a reservoir
containing several wells.
The simulator should
include a numerical model of the reservoir in which
the individualreservoir parameters can be assigned
to each element of model grid, and a system of
equations describing the flow of the gas into
individualwells. The model then willbe employed to
investigate the effect of various rock and fluid
g 17,

.nA
properties on ~p.~~~f$~~pa~~
-..
~p=c~r,
&am
--reservoirs. Considerablework has been accomplished
and reported in the literature.In order to minimize
duplication of effort, GAS
3D2 (Sawyer 1983)
simulatorwas obtained. Using this simulatoras the
starting point, changes to reflect the effect of
non-Darey flow in the reservoirwere madel1*12 since
it was believed that the non-Darcy effects in gas
reservoirsare important to consider.
During the study of well interference,
it became
Qp.~y

clear that the effect of interference IS


significant
when a group of wells are placed in small
~ee&;Gr,
~f ~~e regervo~r
. The uniform distribution
of
all the reservoir area will result in
wells over
non-interferringwell behavior. In other words, each
well willdrain a certainsectionof the reservoirand
other wells willonly simulateboundary effectsat the
edges of its drainage area. In the light of this
result,a reservoir model based on Equation 7 was
developed to study the uniform well-spacing. A
computer
program
based on
this model was
developed11~12. This program contains the routines
ta convert the pressure ta real gas potential
(pseudo-pressure)and convert the real gas potential
back to pressure.

Relative data such as well logs .(


FDC/GR,
sNP-cNL/GR; IL); initlhSOpe?! f]ew petentki, ir,itkd
pressure, well location,and depth was collectedfdr
the wells that were producing from Big Injun and
was limitedto
Benson horizons. The data collection
gas-producing wells and was performed in such a
fashion as to attempt to avoid data-clustering,
thereby creating a uniformly distributed sample
across West Virginia.
The major sources of data included:
1.

Petroleum Information$data base for open flow


potentialand well location.

2.

The West VirginiaGeologicand Economic


Survey for various well logs.

3.

The Eastern Tight Formations Data Base


(under development by the Petroleum
---, IMX?TC?)
...- .-.
Engineering Department Of ww
f~~
DOI?
for initial
pressure, depth, and other relevant
data.

The collected well logs were analyzed for


:Aa..
++#4
-4:---- -c
ifitervrii8and
gesi-bearhig
LU=lluu!a..wl!
delineationof respective values of porosity,water
saturation,and, hence, the gas saturation.

The interpreteddata were statistically


analyzed
to evaluate the representative ranges of major
reservoir parameters. The results of data analysis
and statistical
analyaisare summarized in Table L
Results
-..---This segment of the paper deals with simulation
d .J~i,-.fi
tk,seariy #tages of Ciev-eiqmient
~e~s~~~=
in a
gas reservoirwhen the group of wellsare placed in
an area small in comparison to the totalreservoir
size and the interferenceeffect are significant.
Several cases for study were considered. They
included 2-well,4-well (4-spot),and 5-well (5-spot)
The average flow rate per well was
cases.
calculatedusing the simulatcmand compared to the
flow rate of a single well producing from the same
reBervoir. It became evident that the reservoirsize
and distance between the wells are the two major
parameters controllingthe interference, This result
is similar to those concluded by Mus kat8 for oil
wells. To compare the resultsof the simulatorwith
those proposed by Muskat$ the interferenceeffect
was calculated and shown in Figure 3 for 4-well

A STUDY OF RESERVOIR

PARAMETERS AFFECTING

Various reservoir parameters were studied to


determine which (ifany) have a significant
effecton
interference. It became evident during various
simulationruns that fluidpropertiesand some of the
reservoir characteristicssuch as thickness and
porosity do not have any significanteffect on
interference. However, permeabilityappears to have
an effect.
To further study the effect of
permeability,several
runs with differentpermeability
values were made. Figure 3 summarizes the results.
As can be seen, with an increase in permeabilitythe
iat.ei%s~eaee
decreases especiallyat short distances.
This could be explained by the fact that non-Darcy
effectswillincreaaewith an increasein permeability,
and the non-Darcy effects,as were found earlier,
the interferenceeffects.
tend to reduce

SPE 14517

It is clear that the optimum spacing for nny


reservoir is unique for that reservoir and its
conditions and constraints. These conditions and
constraintsinclude the economics (cost of drilling
and price of gas), gas purchase contract conditions,
state-wide regulations,line pressure, and reservoir
characteristics. Many of the above mentioned
conditions and constraintscan not be generalized
especial]
y the economics,and, as a result,a general
spacing can not be recommended which would be
optimum under all circumstances. However, the
general guidelinesdeveloped during this study can
Discussion
be used as technicalbasis to evaluate the positive
and negative aspects of specific spacing and
Table I summarizes the results of statistical development programa.
analysis of the interpreted data and shows the
representativevalues of major reservoir parameters
The results obtained in this study are only
that were obtained during data collection and
applicable to continuous, homogeneous formations.
analysis. These results were used in conjunction
The results should not be extended to naturally
with the results of model studies to determine a
fractured reservoirsor tight formations where the
general guidelinefor well epacing in the formations
nature of gas flow is differentthan those assumed
under study.
in this study. Differentreservoir models should be
employed/developed for those reservoirs.
As mentioned earlier,two situationswill arise
when well spacing is considered. One situationdeals
Conclusion
are
pkmeci
in a smfiii
portion of a reservoir. This simulationleads to
This research task has been a preliminarystudy
mutual interferencebetween the wells. The extent of
and, consequently,requires many modificationsand
interfa~Qnc~w~ii ~~p~~d O= se>~eraip=~~~=~ef~ ~H
cansiciemtieriii
to provide generaiizeciconciusdons.
this case. They are: distance between the wells, Having the extent of this study in mind, the
the number of wells,permeabilityof the formation, followingconclusions
are
made:
and reservoir size.
The reservoir size is the
variable that can not be generalized, thus, a
1. The various simulationrunu indicatedthat
not be determined.
representive average value can
interferenceeffectsare significant
when a
The sizes of the reservoirs have been found to be
group of wellsare placed in an area smallin
highly variable. Other parameters such as the
comparion to the totslarea of the reservoir.
number of wells and distance between the wells can
be decided during drillingand development stages
2. When a uniform spacing is employed in a
rock
while the formation permeabilityis a reservoir
completelyhomogeneous reservoir,interference
y values inTable 1,
property. Based on permeability
effectsare non-existant.
Figures 4 and 5 were developed for Big Injun and
Benson.
The 4-well case has beon cho~en as an
3. During the early stages offielddevelopment,
example case and the effectof distance between the
when interferenceeffectsare significant,
it
wells and
reservoir sizo on
was found that the reservoirsize,distance
interference are
illustrated.These figures have been developed,first
between the wells,number of wells,and
by calculatingproductivityindex ratio (Equation 11)
formationpermeabilityare tho factorswhich
based on reservoir radius and distance between the
controlthe inter-wellinterference.
wellsand ~ with the aid Of Figure 4f t-he interfemmce
effect has been evaluated for the proper formation
4. Well interfcrenco only affeciathe viscous
permeability.Similarplots can be developed for any
component (Darcy)o~ the pressure drop and
desired number of wells.
tho inertial(non-Darey ) wmponent is not
affectedby well interference.As a result,
The second situationariaes when the reservoir
interferenceeffectsare lesR extensivein a
is completely developed and each well drains a
gas reservoirin comparison to a similar
certainsegment of the reservoirand other wells just
situationin an oilreservoir.
determine the boundary of the drainage area. In a
wi4h
...

-.

IN WEST VIRGINIA

~cmpietueiyk.mmgaeci-us ail
d uriiforin
reservoir for
such a situationto occur, it is necessary to have
the same distancebetween the wells. Otherwise,the
performance of the individualwellswould be inferior
to a single well (interferenceeffects). Howevefi,if
the reservoiris heterogeneous and non-uniform,the
distance between the wells should be decided based
on the characteristics
of various segments of the
reservoir. Based on the average characteristics
of
the two formations,Figures 8 and 9 were developed
using uniform spacing model (based on Equation 7).
the allowable flow rate
These
figures show
(estimated as 25% of AOF ) versus the distance
between the well (twicethe drainage radius).

This f@Ir-e illustratesth=t the exterltet


case.
interference estimated based on the productivity
index ratio (as proposed by Muskat) is higher than
those obtained from the simulationstudy. It must be
noted, however, that the Muskat equation is based on
liquidflow, i.e.,the non-Darcy effectsare ignored,
while the simulator accounts for such effects.
Similarresultsfor 2-well case and 5-well case were
obtained11~12.

..

GAS WELL SPACING

.a.e~]

ir=w

~f

--

W-MC*I

SPE 14517

K. AMINIAN,

S.

AMERI,

5. The methodology could be applied to any gas


producing formationif sufficient.
data is
availableto determine the general
characteristics
of the formation,
!!!?!!l?nG!?!&c.rf?
B=
Cg
G=
h=
K=
M=
m=
n=
P=
Q,q
R=
re
rW
s=

s=
T=
~=
v=
P
0=
P
P

=
=
=

SARADJI, & C.D.

M.S.

Fornmt.ionVolume Factor, bbls/STR


[;QScompressibility,psil
Gas Gravity, Dimensionless
FormationThickness,ft
Permeability,mcl
Molecular Weight, Ibmol
Real Gas Pot.entinl,
psi2/cp
Exponent.of BackPressureEquation,
Dimensionless
Pressure, psi
FJOW Rate, NCII/D
UniversalGas Constant
Reservoir Radius, ft
Wellbore Radius, ft
Skin Factor, Dimensionless
Length, ft
Temperature,R
~j.~e,~~~
Velocity, ft/sec
Density, lbm/ft3
Porosity, fraction
Viscosity,cp
TurbulenceFactor, ft-]

10.

2. A1-Hussiany,R.;Ramey, H.J.;and Crawford,


P.B.,1966,The Flow of Real Gases Through
J. Pet.Te@..,624.
Porous Media,

4.

Cornell,D. and Katz,D.I.,,


1953,Flow of Gases
Through Porous Media,Ind. Eng. Chem., Vol.
45, 2145.

5.

Janicek,J.D.and Katz, D.L.,1955,Applications


of Unsteady State Gas Flow Calculations,
paper presented at Research Conference on
Flow of Natural Gas from Reservoirs,University
of Michigan,Ann Arbor.

6.

Craze, R.C.,1938,Spacing of NaturalGas


Wells,Trans. AIME, Vol.213, P. 213.

7.

Muakat,
M., 1946,The Flow of Homofleneoug
g~!d~.~.h~~g.~h.
Poroug, J.W. Edward8, Inc.,Ann
Arbor, Michigan.

8.

Muskat, M., 1949,P.hxsjcgl..PmRc2Pl~.ot~il


Production,McGraw-HillBook Company, Inc.

9.

Dereniewski,E.;Hekim, Y.;and Roberts,J.L.,


1982,Deliverability
Interferencein Gas
Storage Reservoirs,paper presented at AGA
TransmissionConference,Chicago,ILL.

Snwyer, W,K,,1983,GeneralPurpose Gag


Simulatorfor Single or Multi-wellstudies
GAS3D2, Version 1.00,DoIi/MC/21990-1441,
,McwgaE:owfillm?gy Technology Center.

12. Sarad.ii.
M.S.,A TheoreticalStudy of Different.
Reser~oir Parameters AffectingGas Well
Deliverability
and Spacing in West Virginia,
Masters thesis,West V}rginiaUniversity,
Department of Petroleum Engineering,
Morgantown, WV, (under preparation),1985.

1. Van Winegen, N., 1944,Method of Approach to


Determine the Optimum Spacing of Wells,The
Petroleum Engineer,p. 67.

Forchheimer,
P., 1901,Wasserbewegung durch
Boden, ZZ~tz,ver deutach, ~,
45, 1731.

11. Aminian,K. and Ameri, S., WellSpacing Model


for NaturalGas Production in West Virginia,
FinalReport,West---VirginiaUniversityEnergy
Research Center, 1s85.

Referenqe&

3.

LOCKE

SPE

14517

TABLE I

SUMMARY OF DATA ANALYSIs

PARAMETER

BIG
MEAN

95%
L.L.

IOOROS
ITY

(%)

THICKNESS

(FT)

GAS SATURATION (%)

(MD)

PERMEABILITY

FLOW CAPACITY (MD-FT)


DEPTH (FT)

BENSON

INJUN

Cir,
.

95%

MEAN

L,L,

UiLi

CII,
U,L,

11.96

11,56

12,36

8,51

8,21

8,81

18.97

15,51

22,43

10,32

8,50

12,14

66,83

65,26

68.40

67s 41

65,69

69,14

10,10
172.33
2024,40

8.084
169,66
1945s 68

12,04

5,20

3,86

6.37

213,12

35,80

28,11

43.41

4284,54

4169,70

4399,40

2103.12

25000

20000

15e00

10000

5000

e
0

200

4@e

660

FLOU CfWRCITY. Kh(,d-f&


Fig.l-Ab801uto

open flow (AOF) vs. flow c8pdty

(Kb), Blg Inlunformation.

(0/J%4]jOU

M014

N3d0

(x)om

ZllnlOSSW

801tmw1s

30 s17ns3ti

\\\\N-

(0/J~W)40tl

MOld

N3d0

3LITIO!33H

W
(ZIOW13kiolu7nwIs
40 sllns3~

450

400

350

300

250

RESERVIJIR
Fig.5-Effecf

RWJIUS, FT

Distance

of dlsfance between the wel18(onInterference, Oens.anfonntilon (four-well c~se).

500
\

4s0

400-

350.

1 I

~---&-f-l-f1s00
Dlstence

The

lblls.

ft

Fig.6Effectof uniform spacing onolloweblle flow rote, Blglnjun formation.

550

Betueen

De

Betueen The Uaile,

fIL

F@. 7-.Effect of .nffonn apaci.g on allowable flow ret., Benson f..tnaflon.

2000