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SPE 10181

Analysis of Naturally Fractured Reservoirs

by George Stewart, * Heriot-Watt University; Manfred J. Wittmann, * S. T.

Schlumberger; and Theodor van Golf-Racht, * NORSK-HYDRO

*Member SPE-AIME

@Copyright 1981, Society of Petroleum Engineers of AI ME

This paper was presented at the 56th Annual Fall Technica~ Conference a.nd Exhibition of the Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME, held in

San Antonio, Texas, October 57,1981. The material IS subject to correction by the author. Permission to copy is restricted to an abstract of

not more than 300 words. Write: 6200 N. Central Expressway, Dallas, Texas 75206.

ABSTRACT

The RFT* has important applications in the

study of naturally fractured reservoirs in which

low permeability matrix blocks are contained

wi thin a system of connected fractures of high

permeability.

The pressure inside an individual

matrix block, which is observable with the RFT,

is determined by the boundary pressure in the

fractures delineating the block. Hence RFT data

plotted on

a

pressure-depth

diagram follow

gradients corresponding to the fluids in the

fracture system with changes in slope at the

gas-oil

and

oil-water

contacts.

In

an

unproduced reservoir the actual OGOC and OOWC in

the fracture system may be determined whereas

logs measur ing fluid saturations in the blocks

indicate quite different distributions because

of cap illary pressure effects.

RFT data from

new

wells

in

a

developed

reservoir

allow

monitoring of the movement of the GOC and OWC in

the fracture network as a secondary gas cap

forms and aquifer influx occurs.

Oil recovery from a fractured reservoir is

controlled by the permeability of the fracture

system and by the permeability and size of the

blocks.

Fracture

permeability

is

readily

available from the analysis of well pressure

transient tests but the matrix properties are

more

difficult

to

determine.

The

test

pressure response of the RFT, with the probe set

in a block, is affected both by the matrix

permeability and the block size and a simplified

model of the process based on a spherical matrix

block with a constant pressure outer boundary

and a central point sink has been developed.

It

can be demonstrated that with a pressure gauge

of 1 psi resolution matrix permeabilities of

less than 5 md and block sizes of less than 2 m

can be detected.

The theory has been used to

evaluate RFT

tests in a fractured reservoir

and good agreement between the estimate of block

size using this technique and that obtained from

a statistical analysis of core was found.

Mark of Schlumberger

been used to simUlate pretest buildups in cubic

and parallelepiped matrix blocks.

The late-time

deviation

from

linear

spherical

buildup

commences when the nearest constant pressure

boundary is encountered.

Dimensionless buildup

type curves for such matrix blocks are given.

pressure as a result of mud filtrate invasion

has also been considered.

The proximity of

constant pressure fractures limits the degree of

over-pressure

which

can

develop

at

the

sand-face. Supercharging only becomes a serious

problem at very low matrix permeabilities and

the RFT gives successful pressure measurements

in fractured reservoirs with a tight matrix.

INTRODUCTION

Many naturally fractured reservoirs are

composed of a highly permeable fracture network

and

low

permeability

blocks

whose

average

dimension

is

controlled

by

the

fracture

density.

The proportion of the total porosity

contained within the fracture system is small

and conventional logs respond essentially to the

fluids contained in the matrix blocks.

However

the

reservoir

produces

into the wells

the

fluid (s) present in the fracture system and it

frequently occurs that the fluid content of the

matrix and fractures are quite different.

Hence

matrix saturations from open-hole logs may not

be

a

good

indicator

of

production

characteristics.

In

order

to

understand

the

complex

production mechanism of a naturally fractured

reservoir

it

is necessary

to consider

the

original oil accumulation process.

In many cases the matrix and fracture

system are initially filled with water and oil

migrates upwards through the fracture system.

The situation then arises where the matrix

blocks containing water are surrounded by oil in

the

fracture

system.

Due

to

the

density

difference between the phases water is displaced

SPE 10181

THE APPLICATION OF THE REPEAT FOR11ATION TESTER (RFT)

gravity-capillary

equilibrium

is

reached

as

shown in Figure 1.

Since the matrix block

originally contained water it is water-wet and

the

drainage

capillary

pressure

curve

is

appropriate.

This means that the lower portion of each

block will remain saturated with water to a

level which depends on the threshold capillary

pressure and the density difference between oil

and water.

Above this level the oil satur!ltion

in the block increases upwards and if the block

is large enough the irreducible water saturation

may be attained.

The important point is that

the logs will register this water held in each

block by capillary forces but initially the

reservoir will produce only the fluid in the

fracture system, Le. oil.

Evidently the size

of the blocks has an important effect on how

If

much oil has accumulated in the reservoir.

the average block size is small very little oil

will

have

migrated

into

the

blocks

and

vice-versa.

Blocks

smaller

than

a

certain

critical size

(determined by the pore size

distribution) will contain no oil at all since

the hydrostatic head over the block due to the

density difference is less than the threshold

displacement pressure.

A computer processed interpretation of a

suite of logs run in a fractured reservoir is

shown in Figure 2.

The repeating pattern of

water overlain by oil conforms to the model

given

above

and the

individual

blocks are

distinguishable.

In

this

example

from

the

Middle East the block size is large and there is

much more oil present in the blocks than water.

PRESSURE GRADIENTS IN NON-PRODUCED RESERVOIRS

When the RFT is employed in a fractured

reservoir the probe will almost invariably be

set in a matrix block and hence measure fluid

pressure in the matrix.

It is apparent that if

the test is made in formation containing only

water then the water phase pressure, Pw' will

be detected and a sequence of such tests will

exhibit a water gradient on a pressure-depth

diagram when hydrostatic conditions exist.

For

non-fractured

reservoirs

it

has

also

been

demonstrated by field experience and theoretical

analysis

of

the mechanics of mud

filtrate

invasion, that in the capillary transition zone

and the oil zone at irreducible water saturation

the pressure detected by the RFT is that of the

oil

phase,

Po'

provided

the

oil

is

continuous.

In th is case the measured pressure

gradient above the WOC corresponds to the oil

in-situ

density.

The

intersection

of

the

best-fi t lines through the pressure-depth data

in the water and oil phases respectively gives

the free water level (FWL) in the reservoir.

This is illustrated in Figure 3 which shows

measurements from a virgin reservoir in South

America with the threshold capillary pressure

effect clearly observable as a discontinuity in

the pressure-depth plot at the WOC.

Many other

field examples exist which confirm that the oil

capillary

transition

zone

although

the

discontinuity at the WOC is usually too small to

be apparent with a gauge resolution of

1 psi.

In a fractured reservoir a series of RFT tests

within an individual block would follow this

pattern, as illustrated in Figure 1.

However,

in practice, the block height is not large

enough

to be able

to distinguish

separate

gradients within a single block.

The important point is that in a reservoir

wi th an oil-filled fracture system there is a

FWL at the base of each matrix block. The water

phase is not continuous between blocks and the

phase pressure variation through such a system

takes the form shown in Figure 4.

The overall

pressure gradient is defined by the fluid in the

fractures since the water phase pressure is

brought back to the oil pressure - the same in

the fractures and matrix - at the bottom of each

block.

EVen when the probe is set in a local

water zone at the base of a block the pressure

measured will be very little different from that

in the oil phase at the same level.

Hence the

overall measured pressure gradient will reflect

the fluid in the fracture

system.

In the case

of small blocks - almost completely filled with

water and the open-hole logs showing little or

no oil saturation

the discovery of an oil

gradient demonstrates that the fractures are

oil-filled and wells will initially produce dry

oil above the fracture system WOC.

The basis for identifying a fracture system

phase contact from RFT data has been illustrated

for

the

case of oil

and water.

However

analogous arguments will apply when there is a

gas-oil contact in the fracture network and at

this location the measured pressure gradient

will evidently change from that of oil to that

of gas. Thus RFT measurements in exploration or

appraisal wells in the unproduced reservoir give

information on the initial fluid levels in the

fracture network provided sufficient tests are

made to allow the gradients to be defined with

adequate precision.

PRESSURE GRADIENTS IN DEVELOPMENT RESERVOIRS

RFT surveys will also be made in new

development wells drilled after the field has

been produced for some time.

In many reservoirs

the pressure will fall below the bubble-point

and gas will be liberated from the matrix blocks

and migrate upwards through the fractures to

form a secondary gas-cap as shown in Figure 5.

It is important to monitor the development of

the gassing zone and the secondary gas cap since

decisions concerning, for example, the setting

of gas exclusion liners in existing uncased

producers or perforation intervals in new cased

wells require knowledge of the current GOC in

the fracture system.

Also water may enter the

fracture network due to aquifer expansion - edge

or bottom, natural water drive

or water

injection. Again, in order to predict reservoir

performance it is necessary, if possible, to

monitor the change in fracture system WOC due to

water influx.

SPE 10181

equilibrium with the surrounding fracture system

during the depletion process the RFT measured

pressure

gradients

will

reflect

the

fluids

present in the fracture system.

Thus, as shown

in Figure 5, the primary and secondary gas-cap

will exhibit a gas gradient, the undersaturated

oil zone an oil gradient and the aquifer and

water invaded zone a water gradient presuming

vertical equilibrium in the high permeability

fracture network.

In the gas liberation zone

where gas emerging from the blocks is moving

upwards through the fractures countercurrent to

oil the observed gradient will be intermediate

between gas and oil hydrostatic.

Similarly in

the oil displacement zone where imbibition of

water into the blocks is expelling oil both

phases are moving in the fracture network and in

this

case

the

observed

gradient

will

be

intermediate between water and oil hydrostatic.

Conversely if smooth pressure-depth data, with

appropriate hydrostatic gradients as shown in

Figure 5, are observed in new development wells

this confirms that the block interiors are, in

fact, remaining at pressure equilibrium with the

fracture system.

This information itself is

just as important as monitoring fluid levels in

the fractures since it relates to the transfer

processes within the blocks.

The oil contained wi thin the matrix blocks

of a naturally fractured reservoir is produced

by a combination of some of the following

mechanisms :

oil expansion.

gas liberation in the interior of the blocks

(solution gas drive).

drainage of oil from blocks surrounded by gas

in the secondary gas cap.

imbibition of water into blocks which become

surrounded with water as the WOC in the

fracture system rises.

The rate of oil recovery from an individual

oil block,

particularly by the

latter

two

mechanisms, is dependent on two main factors the average block size and the block matrix

permeability.

Sophisticated

reservoir

simulation

models

for

naturally

fractured

reservoirs are based on the concept of a dual

porosity

system

and,

at

each

time

step,

computations are made for two coupled sets of

simul taneous

equations ~

one

set

describing

processes in the blocks with conditions in the

boundary fracture system assume~ known and the

other set modelling changes in the fracture

system with terms allowing for transfer to or

from the blocks assumed known.

Thus at each

grid point of the simulator two distinct sets of

saturations and pressures are computed - those

referring to the matrix and those referring to

the fracture system.

Block size and matrix

permeability are important parameters of such

models and, for example, water breakthrough in a

fractured reservoir can be rapid - corresponding

to very slow imbibition into the blocks - or

comparable to that of a homogeneous reservoir when water influx is absorbed into the blocks -

In

the following section it will be demonstrated

how an analysis of the pressure test buildup

response can give independent information on

these two important parameters.

Detailed

dual-porosity

reservoir

simulations of this type will yield values of

both the matrix and fracture system pressures

i.e.

depending on the block parameters and

depletion rate they will predict the approach

(or lack of it) to vertical equilibrium.

RFT

pressure tests in the developed field can detect

the

block

interior

pressures

directly

and

evidently

the

simulation

model

predictions

should match the measured matrix pressures. The

process of fitting a reservoir simulator to

observed

RFT data

in development wells

is

already

well

established

for

conventional

reservoirs.

However, there is even more benefit

to be gained in the history matching of a

naturally fractured reservoir simulator which

has more unknown parameters - especially matrix

permeability and block size

to be fixed.

Obviously

the

history

matching

should

also

account of any observed saturation changes in

the blocks as detected by TDT* or GST* logs.

PRESSURE BUILDUP ANALYSIS IN CONVENTIONAL RESERVOIRS

(1)

In a previous publication the transient

pressure response of the RFT

test operation

has been analysed in detail using spherical flow

theory.

It was demonstrated that the buildup to

formation pressure following the extraction of

20 cc of fluid, usually mud filtrate, will be

observable with a gauge of 1 psi resolution only

when the formation permeability is less than

about 5 md.

Here the term observable implies

that the duration and amplitude of the buildup

are

sufficient

for

the

slope

of

a

pressure-spherical time function plot to be

identifiable with some degree of confidence.

Spherical steady-state at the probe during the

flow period is not recommended as a basis for

permeability

analysis

because

the

effective

radius of the cavity created on entry of the

probe is unknown - spher ical flow sk in effect.

For a probe set in an infinite, unbounded

formation the spherical buildup plot will be

linear, once the effect of afterflow due to flow

line system capacity has disappeared, with a

slope dependent on the equivalent spherical

permeability,

ks = (k~kz)1/3,

of

the

anisotropic formation.

In addition, theoretical

analysis of the transient response for the caSe

where the probe is set symmetrically between two

hor izontal, impermeable barr iers showed that the

late time portion of the buildup is influenced

by the effect of the boundaries as shown in

Figure 6. Again with a pressure gauge of 1 psi

resolution the late time deviation from linear

behaviour

on

a

spherical

plot

is

only

discernible if the nearest no-flow boundary lies

within about 1 m of the probe:

this criterion

was used to define the depth of investigation of

the permeability estimate obtained from the

slope of the spherical buildup plot.

-Mark of Schlumberger

SPE 10181

THE APPLICATION OF THE REPEAT FORMATION TESTER (RFT) TO THE ANALYSIS OF NATURALLY FRACTURED RESERVOIRS

solution for this bounded case showed that the

time measured from the end of the buildup, ~t*,

at which the deviation commences is given by the

expression

h

=..J

Llt*k

CP]Jc

[0.0296 - 0.074

t

(RFT

~~j

the apparent thickness from pressure match hp

is 2.4 feet also.

The time match (equation 2) gives for a

time of deviation of t* = 50 sec an apparent

thickness

of

h t = 3.6 feet

again

assuming

isotropic

permeability.

These

results

are

reasonably consistent and compare well with the

information available from open hole logs.

(1)

units)

~p* ,between the actual formation pressure Pi' and

that

obtained

by

extrapolating

the

linear

portion of the buildup to infinite time, p*, is

given by:

1

h[4W(~:i*L]

(RFT

<PlJCth

- 960. 9 ....:....;..~k-'l'-

units)

(2)

~t*, and the

terminal pressure effect,

~p* , depend on the

thickness, h, of the zone between the barr iers.

Conversely, if ~t* and ~p* are measured from a

pretest response the thickness of the zone can

be estimated from equations 1 or 2.

A spherical buildup plot using field data

from a well in the North Sea is shown in

Figure 6.

It is easy to determine the straight

line portion of buildup which has a slope ms

of

-123 psi.sec- l / 2

The

extrapolation

of

this straight line gives p* = 6315 psi while the

late time data fallon a straight line on a

radial cylindrical plot (not shown) with a slope

of

46.6 psi/log

cycle

and

an

extrapolated

pressure Pi = 6323 psi.

For the following parameters

4>

0.3

0.3 cp

3.10- 6 psi- l

0.697 cc/sec

14.3 sec

19.9 sec

I..l

Ct

ql

Tl

T2

time upward deviation on a

spher ical

plot

indicating the presence of no-flow boundaries

wi thin the radius of

investigation

of

the

pressure

test

process.

Note

that

the

correlations for

At* and Ap* refer to the

ideal case with the probe set exactly in the

middle of the bounded zone.

If the probe is set

unsymmetrically in the interval the thickness

given by the time and pressure match using

correlations 1 and 2 will be different ~

many

field

examples

do

indeed

exhibit

some

discrepancy between the thickness estimates from

the two equations.

The RFT test analysis gives

no

indication

of

the

continuity

of

the

impermeable bar r iers on a scale larger than its

depth of investigation but the demonstration of

the presence of no-flow barriers even of limited

lateral extent is an important indicator that

the reservoir effective vertical permeability

may be low.

Since pretest buildups can only be

analysed

in

this

way

when

the

formation

permeability is less than about 5 md (with a

1 psi resolution gauge) the direct application

of the RFT to permeability evaluation is limited

to tight reservoirs.

Al though comparison with

core data is difficult because of depth matching

problems and the different scales of the two

measurements the indications are that the test

buildup permeabilities are always lower;

this

is due to the fact that in an anisotropic medium

the spherical permeability, k s , can be much

less than the horizontal, k r , and due to the

fact that the RFT buildup measures essentially

the effective permeability to water at residual

oil saturation in the mud-filtrate invaded zone.

the

spherical

permeability

ks

is

0.17 md.

Using the conventional relationship for radial

cylindrical flow (in RFT units)

k

88 4 qll

mh

the

radial permeabilty-thickness

is calculated to be 0.4 md ft.

product

krh

Assuming

isotropic

permeability

the

apparent

thickness,

h m,

from

spherical

and

radial

buildup

slopes

is

therefore

0.4/0.17 = 2.4 feet.

The

analysis

of

~any

tests

in

low

permeability,

unfractured

reservoirs

has

indicated that the theoretical basis for the

interpretation of buildup transient

response

using spherical flow theory is justified.

In

fact the best evidence that the test buildup

reflects

the

local

formation

permeability

derives from the study of the phenomenon known

as "supercharging" where the pressure at the

sand face , measured by the RFT, is in excess of

the formation pressure due to the pressure drop

associated with the influx (injection) of water

i.e. mud filtrate invasion. This effect is only

significant at low permeability - much less than

1 md

and it is now well proven that test

pressures in virgin reservoirs which lie above

the local hydrostatic pressure all exhibit a

very low p'ermeability from spherical buildup

analysis.

Actually

the

development

of

a

criterion

to

allow

the

discrimination

of

SPE 10181

5

George Stewart, Manfred Wittmann and Th. Van Golf Racht

main reasons for analysing the test transient

response in terms of permeability. However, in

a high quality reservoir most tests will exhibit

such a rapid buildup to formation pressure that

spherical analysis is impossible~ only if the

probe is set in a tight streak will the response

be observable.

PRESSURE BUILDUP ANALYSIS IN FRACTURED RESERVOIRS

In the case of a

naturally fractured

reservoir the matrix permeability is generally

low and certainly in the range where test

buildups will be amenable to analysis.

Since

the block permeability is one of the key

variables in the characterisation of fractured

reservoirs

a

direct

measurement

of

this

parameter, on a scale comparable to the block

size as provided by the RFT buildup, is of

obvious attraction.

Since the probe is almost

invariably set in the matrix the pressure

disturbance propagates out through the block

until a boundary is reached. Thus the RFT probe

is in immediate contact with the matrix ~

this

is in contrast to conventional well testing

which communicates directly with the fracture

system.

Also, from the point of view of the block

interior, the naturally occurring boundaries are

in fact the fractures.

In the context of an RFT

pressure test, in which 20 cc of fluid are

withdrawn, any disturbance of the pressure of

the high permeability fracture system will be

negligible.

Thus

the

fractures

may

be

considered as constant pressure boundaries which

surround each individual block. The analysis of

buildups in conventional reservoirs with shale

laminations has shown that the presence of such

barriers, and indeed their separation, can be

determined from the late-time behaviour of the

pressure test. Hence the question arises as to

whether the transient response can be used to

indicate the presence of fractures and, more

importantly, give an estimate of block size.

Figure 7 shows the spher ical plot of a pressure

test carried out in a naturally fractured

reservoir. The buildup exhibits a straight line

section followed by a late time deviation from

linear behaviour.

In this case the deviation

takes the form of a distinct levelling-off of

the pressure-spherical

time

function

graph.

This feature is typical for pressure transient

tests in systems with constant pressure outer

boundaries.

On the basis of this particular

result a theoretical analysis of spherical flow

with a constant pressure outer boundary has been

undertaken to see if the matrix block size can

be estimated from the form of this deviation.

It is possible to develop a simplified

model of the pressure buildup response of the

RFT in a naturally fractured reservoir utilizing

the constant pressure outer boundary, analytical

solution to the spherical diffusivity equation.

The conventional model of a dual porosity system

is

based

on

parallelepiped

matrix

blocks

separated by the fracture network.

In the

to consider a single matrix block surrounded by

continuous fractures at constant pressure.

It

is assumed that the probe is set in the centre

of the low permeability matrix block and that

the

high

permeability

fracture

system

is

essentially

undisturbed

by

the

test

fluid

withdrawal.

It is convenient to regard the

matrix block as being spherical in shape, as

shown in Figure 8, since the analytical solution

to this problem is relatively compact whereas

the

analogous

solution

for

a

cubic

block

requires complicated superposition to generate

the

constant

pressure

boundaries.

The

difference in behaviour, with respect to an

internal

pressure

disturbance,

between

a

spherical block of radius, r e , and a cubic

block of the same volume will be very small.

In

any event the actual shape of a real block in a

naturally fractured reservoir will be neither

spherical. nor cubic and the two idealizations

have equal validity.

The advantage of both is

that

only

one

representative

dimension

is

involved.

In addition the matrix will be

assumed to be isotropic with permeability, k,

and porosity, <f>, and to be filled with a single

fluid of viscosity,

~,

and compressibility,

CtThe

constant

rate

spherical

source,

constant pressure outer boundary solution to the

spherical diffusivity equation was quoted by

Chatas (2) and for the probe pressure drop

takes the form :

-1

-2 (1:"

-1)

De

L:

(3)

n=l

where

r

_

kt

- cjJpC

f(w) =

tanw + w/(roe-l) '" O.

The

first

root, wI (TT /2 ~ wI ~ TT) ,

is easily found by

the Newton iteration

commencing

from

wl o =3

and

the

subsequent

roots

are given by

wn =

wI + (n-l)TT.

Pi

is

the

initial pressure

and

the constant

pressure

maintained

at

the

outer

boundary

r = reo

This solution can easily be computed

using a programmable calculator and summing the

series to n=lO.

The computations of Chatas

SPE 10181

THE APPLICATION OF THE REPEAT FORMATION TESTER (RFT) TO THE ANALYSIS OF NATURALLY FRACTURED RESERVOIRS

At long

dimensionless flowing times the solution reduces

to the steady-state equation

-1

(4)

i.e.

(Pi-p)ss

[!p - ~J

(5)

when

For

the

purposes of analyzing buildup

pressure response a flow-rate schedule of the

form shown in Figure 9 has been adopted i. e. a

single constant rate q for time T followed by a

zero

probe

flow.

Using

superposition

the

buildup pressure response is given by :

(6)

where

(t-T)O = Ato

is

the

dimensionless

shut-in

time

and

to

is

the

dimensionless

elapsed time. The buildup response was computed

using

equations

(3)

and

(6)

for different

combinations

of

dimensionless

flowing

time,

TD, and system dimension, rOe.

The results

are shown in Figures 10 where the dimensionless

pressure drop during buildup, POs' is plotted

against

the

dimensionless

spherical

time

function for an infinite acting system :

(7)

For

large

values

of

rOe

the

outer

boundary has no appreciable influence and the

system

is

infinite

acting

i.e.

Pos =

fos (TO' to)

and

the

solution

falls

on

the

diagonal of the dimensionless spherical plot.

For values of rOe lying within the depth of

investigation established during drawdown the

constant

pressure

outer

boundary

has

a

distinctive effect on the buildup response.

As

can be seen from Figures 10 there is a period of

quasi-spherical buildup of slope close to unity

followed by a levelling-pff of the plot.

This

behaviour is characteristic of systems with a

constant pressure outer boundary and analogous

results

have

been

obtained

for

radial

cylindrical flow.

In

the

situation

where

the

dimensionless

graph

of

Pos

versus

fos(To,tO)

has

a

slope of unity then a direct plot of the buildup

pressure, Ps (in psi), versus the spherical

time

function,

fs(T,t)=l/vf.'=T - l/~

(in

sec-l/ 2 )

will

have

the

form

shown

in

Figure 11. Once afterflow has become negligible

the permeability of the matrix block;

the slope

of

this

line

is

given

by

8xl0 4qll (<f>IlCt)1/2/k3/2 psLsec l / 2 (RFT

units:

see appendix regarding units) where k is the

matrix permeability.

At time

~t* the data

begin to deviate from the straight line and

level off at the reservoir (fracture system)

pressure, Pi.

Extrapolation of the straight

line segment to fs(T,t)=O yields an intercept

pressure, p*, which is higher than the reservoir

pressure, Pi.

Both the shut-in time, At*, at

which

the

deviation

from

linear

behaviour

commences and the pressure difference (p*- Pi)

reflect the average dimension re of the matrix

block.

Following the approach which had proved

successful in the analysis of buildup response

in systems bounded by impermeable barriers an

analogous interpretation method was developed

for

the case of a constant pressure outer

boundary.

The basis of the method

is

to

establish,

from

the

analytical

solution,

correlations for the dimensionless quantities

p~

and

~t6

in

terms

of

rOe

and

To.

Here P5 is the intercept of the straight line

segment of the dimensionless spher ical plot and

A tE

is

the dimensionless shut-in

time at

which the analytical solution starts to deviate

from quasi-spherical behaviour.

For the cases

shown in Figure 10,

Ati5 was determined by

visual inspection of the plots and is indicated

by an arrow;

the slope and intercept of the

linear

portion

of

each

solution

was

then

computed

using

a

least-squares

regression

method. The results of these analyses are given

in Table 1 and the slopes are all sufficiently

close to unity to justify the assumption of

quasi-spherical

behaviour

i.e.

the

matrix

permeability can be determined from the slope of

the straight line section of a basic spher ica1

plot.

By analogy with the bounded layer case it

was

anticipated

that

the

combination

rOe (pE/To) 1/3,

which

is

independent

of

the effective probe radius, rp should be a

function of roell'TD.

These quantities are

tabulated

in

Table 1

and

are

plotted

on

Fig. 12;

as expected an excellent correlation

is obtained which can be well represented by the

quadratic expression

r

[P ]%

D

De TD

0.15+0.

_ O. 314

rr

De]

ro

(8)

the analytical solution, is the basis of the

pressure match in which the characteristic block

dimension re can be estimated from knowledge

of the measured pressure difference, p*- Pi,

and

the

volume

of

fluid

extracted

during

drawdown,

qT.

In the case of a constant

pressure, spherical outer boundary the group

roe(P~/To)I/3

shows

greater

variation

wi th

rOi."/Tr;" than

the

analogous

quantity,

ho(p~/To) /3,

in

a

bounded

layer

system.

Hence

it

is

not

possible

to

SPE 10181

rDe(PB/TD)l/3

to

be

constant.

The

important

property

of

the

particular

dimensionless

combination,

re(4TT (p"l!.Pi> q,Ct/(qTl/3,

is

that

it

does not involve either the effective probe

radius, rp, or the permeability, k.

The group

rDel

also does not involve rp since

lTD

ie:

(2301.9D2)h~ + (C-l1S.1D)

Letting

- 0.3

(12)

2301. 90 2

C - 115.10

- 0.3

a

b

formula for the root of a quadratic equation :

(9)

This group

should be

evaluated

using

consistent units with permeability expressed as

length squared.

I f the height of a matrix block, hb'

defined as hb==2re

the correlation may

written in the alternative form :

is

be

O.3+0.95[~J - O.157[~

Le.

analytical solution a criterion for the time at

which deviation

from

linear

buildup on a

spherical

plot

commences.

This

time

is

obviously a function of the distance, r e , to

the constant pressure boundary which causes late

time divergence from infinite acting behaviour.

For

each

combination

of

rOe

and

TD

illustrated

in

Figure 10

the

dimensionless

shut-in time,

~t6, characterizing the onset

of the outer boundary effect was determined by

inspection of the

appropriate dimensionless

buildup curve;

these values are listed in

Table 1.

Again following the analogy with the

bounded layer system it was expected that there

would be a linear correlation between the

combination

rDel l~t5

and

the

ratio

~ tB/t~.

These

groups

are

plotted

on

Figure 13 and it can be seen that there is

indeed such a linear relation given by equation :

(consistent units)

2.12 - 0.818 t*

RFT units the correlation takes the form :

in

- 2301.9 ~(ll)

(RFT

units)

hb'

from

the values of P*-Pi

and

k

as

determined from a buildup plot i t is convenient

to write :

(consistent units)

The scatter of the data points in Figure 13

is

due

to

the

fact

that

the

critical

dimensionless

shut-in

times,

~t6,

were

determined simply by visual inspection of the

plot

of

the

analytical

solution.

If

a

quantitative e.g. 1% error criterion had been

employed much less scatter would have been

observed.

For

large values of

~t6

th is

equation reduces to :

and

(RFT units)

in which

becomes :

case

the

pressure

match

equation

De

1. 31

constant pressure outer boundary solution is in

very good agreement with the corresponding value

of 1.33 determined for the bounded layer case.

Thus the pressure disturbance generated by the

termination of the flow has to travel to the

block limit and then back to the probe before

the boundary effect manifests itself.

In terms

of RFT units and equivalent block size, hb'

the time match equation is :

h"

Db

0.035 - 0.0135

SPE 10181

THE APPLICATION OF THE REPEAT FORMATION TESTER (RFT) TO ~HE ANALYSIS OF NATURALLY FRACTURED RESERVOIRS

i.e.

0.035 - 0.0135

or

"/~~::

[0.035-0.0135 6~:J

(13)

units

and

can

be

used

to

estimate

the

characteristic block dimension, hb' from the

value of .6.ti) read from the spherical buildup

plot.

In principle the time and pressure match

equations should yield the same value of block

size, hb.

If the RFT probe were indeed set in

the centre of a regular block this would be so.

However, in general, the block shape will not be

spherical and, more importantly, the probe may

not be centrally located. Hence when real tests

are

analysed

there

will

always

be

some

discrepancy between the two estimates of block

size.

In practice the pressure difference,

p*- Pi' can usually be identified from the

spherical plot with greater confidence than the

time,

.6.t*,

at

which

deviation

commences~

pressure measurement error renders the latter

quantity rather difficult to define precisely.

The

theoretical

results

have

all

been

obtained from the analysis of the case where

there is a single flow period of duration, T,

and constant rate, q, succeeded by an indefinite

period of zero flow.

In reality an RFT pressure

test

involves an

initial rate, ql'

to an

intermediate time, TI'

(corresponding to the

motion of the first piston), followed by a

higher rate q2 from Tl to the total flow

time, T2 (second piston motion), and then zero

flow.

However, it was found that for the layer

system bounded by impermeable barr iers all the

single rate results carryover to the two-rate

case provided the plots are made with the

appropriate two-rate spherical

time function

Le. :

isotropic formation of permeability, k.

In the

case

of

a

spherical

outer

boundary

any

coordinate

transformation

to

account

for

anisotropy will render this surface ellipsoidal

and hence the Chatas (2) solution cannot be

employed. However it can be presumed that when

the system is infinite acting i.e. straight line

behaviour on a spherical plot the slope is

governed

by

the

equivalent

spherical

permeability ks ~ (kf k z )1/3 when the matrix is

anisotropic.

With regard to the pressure and

time match equations evidently the influence of

anisotropy on the layer system bounded above and

below by impermeable barriers, as discussed in

reference (1), cannot be used to infer the

effect in the present case since the flow

patterns are quite different.

For the moment

the problem of the effect of matrix anisotropy

on

the

spher ical,

constant

pressure

outer

boundary system will be left open as was the

question of the equivalent spherical source

radius, rp, in an anisotropic bounded layer

system~

both problems require an analysis in

ellipsoidal coordinates.

Note that anisotropy

may be a partial cause of any discrepancy

between the pressure and time match block height

estimates.

However in carbonate matrix blocks,

which

constitute

most

fractured

reservoirs,

aniostropy is not usually of importance and can

be neglected.

FIELD EXAMPLES

are taken from RFT-tests in a high porosity, low

permeability chalky limestone formation.

Qualitative inspection of the RFT logs

allows distinction between two clearly different

patterns :

As shown on the lower part of Fig. 14, the

pressure

time

diagram displays

typical

low

permeability behaviour.

During drawdown

the

pressure drops to (virtually) zero indicating

the formation is unable to deliver the flowrates

imposed by the pretest pistons (about 0.6 cc/sec

and 1.6 cc/sec). At some time after the pretest

pistons have stopped the pressure begins to rise

and continues to do so for a considerable time.

In this example some 5 minutes of buildup are

shown.

(Note

that

one

small

division

corresponds to 6 secs of time).

In the pressure match equation the quantity qT

is synonymous with the total volume of fluid

extracted

during

the

overall

flow

period

(usually 20 cc).

The single rate time T should

be replaced by the overall flowing time T2 in

both the pressure and time match equations.

upper part of Fig. 14. Again the pressure drops

to

zero

during

drawdown,

indicating

low

permeability,

and

initially

the

pressure

build-up resembles closely the one discussed

above.

However,

instead

of

continuing

to

increase,

the pressure soon levels off and

remains

constant

over

a

period

of

about

150 seconds until the test was terminated and

the pressure jumped to the hydrostatic (mud)

pressure.

The

pressure

distance to a constant pressure boundary and

effect

of

a

spherical,

constant

outer boundary has been investigated

SPE 10181

for

the

spherical

buildup

plot

shown

on

Fig. 15.

This computer-produced buildup shows

the typical features explained above.

At the

early stages of the buildup the pressure falls

below a straight line asymptote, approaches and

finally JOlns it at a total test time of

26 seconds. About 13 seconds later the pressure

begins to fall again below the asymptote and

finally levels off oscillating between 5926 and

5927 psi

(gauge

resolution ~ Ipsi)

for about

130 seconds until the end of the test.

Finally we

can

verify

the

investigation

of

this

test

equation (54) of Ref. 1, i.e. :

o. 6

[ 4 IT

~~C

t]

radius

of

by

using

1/

3

60 em

to 1.20 m was feasible

under

the specific

conditions of this test.

REMARKS

Using

the

asymptote

as

slope

of

spherical

buildup

one

can

calculate

spherical permeability as per equation

the

the

(1)

In the simulation of naturally fractured

reservoirs the two main parameters are the

dimensionless fracture storage parameter, w,

given by :

(VC)f

w

0.5 cp

0.3

3.10- 6 pSi- l

188 psi. sec- l / 2

where

can use this permeability to calculate the time

constant

of

afterflow

using

the

following

equation (see Ref. 3 for details).

where

5660)J

v Cf

of the sampling

(50cc

in

this

volume

system

case)

Cf

compressibility

fluid

(3xlO- 6 pSi-I)

0.24 md

1. 75 sec

It can

be demonstrated

that

afterflow

effects can be neglected after 8 time constants,

i.e. in this case 14 seconds after the beginning

of the buildup.

A flow period of 12 sec was

observed (using only one 10 cc pretest chamber)

so that spherical buildup behaviour can be

expected after a total of 26 seconds as indeed

seems to be the case.

Using equation 12 we calculate for the

observed pressure difference Pi -p* of 4 psi an

apparent block height h b

of 90 em and using

equation 13

and

the P time

of

deviation

t* = 39 sec an apparent block height h~

of

97 cm,

showing

excellent

agreement

between

pressure and time match procedures.

This block

size compares well with results of statistical

core analysis.

(VC)m

and

the

dimensionless

matrix

permeability ratio, A , where :

k

0.83 cc/sec

This

results

in

ks ~ 0.24 md

and,

provided anisotropy can be taken to be 1, this

corresponds to the matrix permeability of the

block investigated.

(qNC)f +

to

fracture

a regular cubic block of dimension hb is given

by :

wand A by matching the observed reservoir

behaviour to a model of the Warren and Root

type~

this is discussed by Gringarten (4) in

connection with well testing and Cinco-Ley (5)

in

connection

with

depletion

history

monitoring.

Type curve analysis,

then,

can

provide a value of the parameters wand A

The importance of the present study is that RFT

data can give independent estimates of the

matrix permeability km and the interporosity

flow shape factor a

Hence a combination of

reservoir/well testing and RFT testing can lead

to a more complete description of the system.

(2) With a pressure gauge of 1 psi resolution

and an extracted volume of 20 cc the practical

depth of investigation of the test is around

I m.

If the block size is greater than twice

this distance, the late time boundary effect

will be too small to be observed.

In order to

extend the capability of the RFT tool in terms

of direct permeability measurement a new version

is being field tested which has an improved

gauge resolution of 0.1 psi and allows a much

larger test volume to be taken.

This will

considerably increase the depth of investigation

and allow blocks of larger dimension to be

identified.

10

SPE 10181

THE APPLICATION OF THE REPEAT FORMATION TESTER (RFT) TO THE ANALYSIS OF NATURALLY FRACTURED RESERVOIRS

REFERENCES

(1)

the Repeat Formation Tester".

SPE 8362,

presented at the SPE Fall Meeting 1979 in

Las Vegas.

(2)

Petroleum Reservoirs". SPEJ (June 1966).

(3)

"The

Essentials

Interpretation."

July 1981.

(4)

P., Kniazeff, V.J. "A Comparison between

different

Skin

and

Wellbore

Storage

Type-curves

for

Early-Time

Transient

Analysis." SPE 8205, presented at the SPE

Fall Meeting 1979 in Las Vegas.

(5)

Ramey, "Decline Curve Analysis using Type

Curves

for

Two-Porosity

Systems".

SPEJ

June 1981.

of

RFT

Schlumberger,

Pretest

paris,

TABLE 1

llt*D

Oe

p*0

10 3

50

-0.005376

1.037

10 3

40

-0.009322

10"*

100

10"*

50

10 5

TO

[Pt] 11,

De

Oe

y"St~

lltt;

t*0

De TD

830

0.8759

1. 581

1. 736

0.4536

1.021

425

0.8418

1.265

1.940

0.2982

-0.004542

0.993

2750

0.7687

1.000

1.907

0.2157

-0.01377

0.975

565

0.5563

0.500

2.104

0.0535

200

-0.003208

0.995

9800

0.6355

0.6325

2.020

0.0893

105

100

-0.007938

0.9842

2300

0.4298

0.3162

2.085

0.0225

10 5

50

-0.01675

0.950

545

0.2756

0.1581

2.142

0.00542

MATRIX'

BLOCK .

..

. .. .

.

So

Pw

hb

1....:.._.....:...

....:.:...-.- - - : . - - - - - - 1

.

'.- . .

. : .BLOCK woc -

L-_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

...

Sw

-:/-

........ ....... .

FWL~

.....I

FRACTURE

NETWORK

(OIL FILLED)

____________~

SATURATION

PRESSURE _

\,6900

0900il

FORMATION

5100

PRESSURE

(psi)

5200

5300

3170

3180

3190

glee

TVD

(m)

3200

3210

\

\

3220

--1--------\

\

'1\

3230

~ \

TRANSITION

ZONE FROM LOGS

3240

WATER GRADIENT

1,043 glee

\

FWL

. - MUD PRESSURE

3250

-...

....

.-"'.' ".

II

..

D

E

[2J

D

........

.......:.:.,..

-------I

'

....

...

--1

II.

.......

. .....

[j

_.... _-----

......"

....

".".". "

ill"

...

..

'

MATRIX

BLOCKS

PRESSURE _____

RFT

MEASURED PRESSURE

PRIMARY

present gas\,

pressure

"

GAS CAP

OGOC

SECONDARY

GAS CAP

GOC

GAS LIBERATION

ZONE

DEPTH

SATURATED

OIL ZONE

original

saturation

pressure

wOC

OWOC

-----

/ __

present oil

pressure

AQUIFER

present water

pressure

x RFT

RFT

PROVIDED BLOCKS ARE AT VERTICAL EQUILIBRIUM

Fig. 5 - Fracturepressure distribution in a produced reservoir

30 sec

40

50

100

200

6320

6310

6300

- 123 psi.sec

ms

-1/2

6290

6280

0.25

0.2

0.1

0.15

0.05

f s (T"T2 ,t)

(Sec

1/2)

P*

,/

TYPICAL BUILDUP IN

FRACTURED FORMATIONS

BOUNDARY

EFFECTS

//

AFTERFLOW...(

EFFECTS ~ ~

Fig. 7

/'

.... -6-...

WELL

BORE

o

PARALLEL - EPIPED

MODEL OF

NATURALLY

FRACTURED

RESERVOIR

;QJ

J~

PERMEABILITY

k

POROSITY

0

. ___

FRACTURE

NETWORK

RFT

PROBE

<P

~/

hb

CUBIC

MATRIX

BLOCK "

(1

Fig. 8a

_CONSTANT

PRESSURE OUTER

BOUNDARY AT Pi

SPHERICAv

SINK RADIUS

rp

Fig. 8b - Modelling of matrix blocks

SHUT-IN

ql--------_

FLOW-RATE

T

_______________

~.

_----I......

TIME

dt

Fig. 9a

T

.... t

_ - - - t....... dt

TIME

Or-------,-------r------r------~----~----_,~~--__,

0.01

0.02

50

0.03

50

0.03

0.01

0.02

0.03

0.02

0.01

fso(Tot o )

Fig. 10b

Fig. 10a

o~----------------------------~~------~~--~~~

0.01

0.02

0.03

0.03

0.02

0.01

boundaries

p"

LINEAR SPHERICAL

BUILDUP

:-_--;pi

AFTERFLOW

I

Ps

(psi)

I EFFECT

OF

I CONSTANT

PRESSURE

I OUTER

BOUNDARY

SLOPE =_

1hliE

8x10

q.,a (<\>.,aCt)

K~%

I FRACTURE

NETWORK

Fig. 11

1.0

0.5

0.5

Fig. 12

1.0

1.5

2.2

2.1

2.0

rpe

{;:t"

Il p

1.9

1.8

1.7

0.1

0.2

0.4

0.5

Io

ANALOG PRESSURE

PSI

10000

H-t--I--t-t-t-t+-----1

1 mI

formations

r---~------'-------'--------.-------r-------'--------'-------.--------r5950

en

0.

5900

...

ft (spherica I)

0.16

0.14

0.12

0.10

0.10

0.06

0.04

0.02

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