Effect of choke management in optimizing shale-oil production withmodels of different recovery driving mechanisms

Nur Wijaya, James J. Sheng

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Economic production from shale oil reservoirs relies on the longevity of conductive fractures. Choke ordrawdown management is believed to better preserve the fracture conductivity during the early life of thewells, which thus potentially leads to a higher ultimate oil recovery. However, there is no strong consensusamong the previous literature as to whether choke management can offer the incremental oil recovery in thelong-term. Even if it can, the mechanism is not well understood, and the economic benefit can be challenged,because the choke management slows down the early oil production, which is worth the most in terms ofNet Present Value (NPV). In this study, a series of coupled flow-geomechanical numerical simulations is performed to examine theeffect of choke management on the ultimate oil recovery and NPV. We built multiple reservoir realizationmodels, each of which is validated based on the same field production data from Middle Bakken shale-oilreservoirs to perform probabilistic production forecasts. The different reservoir realization models are builtto assess the uncertainty in the Stimulated Reservoir Volume parameters, including natural fracture spacing,water saturation in the matrix and fracture, and formation compressibility. The different reservoir parameterslead to each model having different primary recovery driving mechanisms of oil recovery, includingimbibition and compaction drive. In each simulation run, stress-dependent permeability phenomena duringfracturing and flowback are modeled to more closely simulate proppant crushing and embedment. Ourmodel carefully simulates the matrix, natural, and hydraulic fractures separately, because each of thesemedia demonstrates different stress sensitiveness. This study quantitatively demonstrates that the choke management seems to increase both the ultimateoil recovery and NPV if the oil recovery is strongly driven by imbibition. A mechanistic discussion for thisclaim is presented. We have also shown that this claim can straighten out the mixed conclusions amongsome previous papers. As a result, this study proposes the evaluation of the dominant driving mechanismof shale-oil recovery for the optimum design of the choke management. Moreover, this study also attemptsto propose the optimum ramping-down rate of the choke. For example, if the reservoir demonstrates astrong imbibition, the optimum choking rate is between 500 and 100 psi/day. Meanwhile, if the reservoirdemonstrates a weaker imbibition, the optimum choking rate is between 50 and 10 psi/day. These optimum range is shown to be consistent, regardless of the objectives, whether to optimize the ultimate oil recoveryor NPV.

Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 2020
EventSPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition 2020, ATCE 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Oct 26 2020Oct 29 2020


ConferenceSPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition 2020, ATCE 2020
CityVirtual, Online


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