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Decline-Curve Analysis

This paper explains a simple and effective method oped by Arps. 1 The equations are all solutions of the
for graphically solving all three types of production differential equation D = Kq’I = – (dg/dO/q. In each
decline. The three types of declines are: (1) exponen- instance two unknowns must be calculated from the
~~1 II~pGIUChIG,
tiai, fz) L .--..1. 1:,. and @) hmxmk, The mathem- two relationships. They are the decline exponent n
atical development of these curves was by Arps.l and the initial decline rate D 1. The third unknown,
Decline curves are one of the most extensively ~i, can be obtained from the production history of
used forms of data analysis employed in the evalua- the well. First, the rate:time relationship is manipu-
tion of oil properties. Often future production is lated to solve for the value of Dj t in terms of the
extrapolated as a straight line on semilog paper (ex- ratio (q;/q,). These relationships are shown in Col-
ponential or constant-percentage decline) because umn 5 of Table 1. Next, the rate:time relationship
this type of decline is the easiest to handle mathe- is solved for D;, and this value of D i is substituted
m.aticall~ and graphically. This is done irrespective into the
,.. cumulative-production:
. .. *
rate relationship. This
A /l
of the fact that several “investigators have reported relationship M men sowed for the vahue w. ~ t /(n.
IV,.,i)
that this type of decline is rare and that actual oil in terms of (qj/qt). These relationships are shown in
-*-+;-- ,,.I1aI]v
~i~duwuu.. u...... , follnws
. ... a hyperbolic decline. How- Column 6 of Table 1. Two graphs can then be con-
ever, the hyperbolic decline is difficult to analyze structed by selecting a value for n and then substitut-
mathematical] y or graphically. The most recent ing values of (q i/q~) into the relationships, A curve
method utilizes transparencies, as proposed by Slider.~ on each graph for the selected value of n will be pro-
The method outlined below greatly simplifies the duced. This can be done for any desired number of
solution and extrapolation of decline curves. The first n values from O < n < 1. (See Figs. 1 and 2.) These
four columns of Table 1 list the rate:time and curves can then be used to analyze and extrapolate
cumulative -production: rate relationships as devel- decline curves from actual production history.

TABLE 1
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)
T{~
Decline Rate:Ttme Rate: Cumulative D,t Qelqtt
Exponent Decline Relationship Relationship Relationship Relationship

n=t3 q, = q,#’,3 1 – (q, /qt)-*


Exponential (?c = (q% – qJ/D< D,t = ln(q, /qJ Qelq,t -
ln(q, /qt)
.
~,t = (q. /crl)” – 1 1 – (q. /q,)-i
O<n<l Hyperbolic qt = q,(l+n D,t)-’i” Q,fqd =
“ = (1 ~’n)D, (q”’-”–q’’-”) n (sr*/qJ”– 1 (*)

n=l Harmonic q,(l+D.t)-’ ln(qi/qJ


q, = Q, = q, lD,ln(q,lq,) D.t = (q’/qI)– 1
“/q’t = (f?i/d – 1

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?Q
J&. 147D JOURNAL OF PETROLEUM TECHNOLOGY
— 00

/ / ./’ / 9
10.0 -7 /’ / 8
9
8 /flr/ / /’ 7
7 1[[ /’ //
6

6 / “’
/’ 5
/“ /“
5 -------
/’” 4

“ ~?:::’ ‘ 3
],i:i ~/’ i /“
:C: ./
0’ / /“
4

1 111/ 7 /?/” /’””’ 1//- /’ --~ 13

‘i/qt

_l,o
9
I o_
s
9
8 7

7 .6

6 .5

5
.4

-3

I 0.1
1 1 I I I I 1 I 1 1
I I I 1 ’32 34 36 3s 40
1 I + ,: ,~ 24 26 28 30
0.1 1
6
14 16 18 20 22
2 4
w Dit
w
Fig. l—Clecline”cuwe analysis chart, relating production rate to time.
,03r-wrl *- N
I ,
1

\ t
5
\

w
0

0
-

JOIJRNAL OF PETROI-EUM TECHNOLOGY


This value is then entered on the ordinate of Fig. 1.
ii Proceed horizontally to the value of n and then ver-
Id ticidly to read a value of Dite.

Dite = 18.3 from Fig. 1.


But D; = 0=163 months-1 (from. previous step); thus,
t.= 112 months, and time remammg to the economic
lid is t,– t = 85 months.
This value of q, and t, can then be plotted on the
production curve, Fig. 3. Also, any number of inter-
730 #/u mediate values can be determined and plotted using
the same p-dure.
To determine the ultimate production from the
well, enter the value of (qi/qc) on the ordinate of
Fig. 2 and move horizontally to the value of n, and
Q* .qsooe.
‘\ \
‘1 then vertically to read a value of Qe/(qtte).
t, . IIfim.
\ “ “;:7 Qe/(q,fJ = 0.11.
100 mm-i 1978 ~
lead 1%9 i le7d le71 I Ien 1 1973 I 1974 I we 1 197s I
But t, = 112 months, and qi = 6,292 bbVmonth;
Fig: 3-Example extrapolation of hyperbolic decline. therefore,
The following example should show the ease with Q. = 0.11 X 112X6,292
which this method can be used. Fig. 3 shows the pro- = 77,500 bbl of oil.
~m-ti~n
. . ..-. . . histnrv
. ..”-- , Of a M&@@ limestone Well k ---
I?emaining reserves arc
Northwestern Oklahoma. The following values can
be easily determined: Q,–Q:= 77,500 – 55,900 = 21,600 W.
qi = initial production rate — from curve or To obtain the ultimate production from the well,
from tabulated production history — the oil that was produced under proration must
6,292 bbl/month be added to the cumulative production. Q. I t imaie =
qt = production rate at time t— usually the 77,500 + 26,500 = 104,000 bbl. Also any number
last plotted rate on the curve — 730 of intermediate values can be determined using this
~~~//r’on~~ x. -I.-.. A l.- -~+~tl +hgt an i=ynnnen-
Same procfdU~~. S1 S1lUU]U UG wwu w-. S-S. w .r----
Q, = cumulative production at time t — ob- tial decline would extrapolate only 12,300 bbl of
tained from summation of production remahing oil reserves.
— 55,900/bbl In the foregoing example the time values were in
t = months between qi and qt — 27 months months, but other time units could just as well have
Using these values, calculate been used. If days are used, the initial decline rate
lli will be in units of days-’. Also, once the time
Qt/(qit) = 55,900/[(6,292) (27)1 = 0.329 units have been decided, they must remain constant
= 6,292/730 = 8.62. throughout the procedure. However, in most practical
qilqt
applications the use of monthly production figures will
Use Fig. 2, enter value of q;lqt on ordinate and value provide sufficient accuracy.
of Qt/qjt on abscissa and find junction of these
values. Interpolate the value of n: Nomenclature
n = 0.6 from Fig. 2. D, = initiaJ decline rate t-1
n = decline exponent
Use Fig. 1, enter value of qi/qt cm ordinate and move 4. = pr~ucing rate at economic limit
horizontally to the value of n. Then proceed vertically qi = uutial producing rate
to the abscissa to find a value of Di t. qt = producing rate at time t
Dit = 4.4 from Fig. 1. (& = cumulative production at economic limit
= cumulative production at time t
But t = 27 months; therefore, t = time
Di = 4.4/27 = 0.163 months-’. Rdercnces
Next, a limiting economic producing rate is calcu- l. Arps, J. J.: “Estimation of Primary Oil Reserves: Trans.,
AIME (1956) 207, 182-191.
lated from a cost analysis and the ratio qi/qe is
2. Slider, H. C.: “A Sk@iiied Method of Hyperbolic De-
calculated: cline Curve Analysis,’ /. Per. Tech. (March, 1968)
235-236.
qe= 100 bbl / month (calculated from lease
cost data) R&&~,~~ Gentry, SPE-AIME

= 6,292/100 = 62.92. Oklahoma City, Okla.


4i/4e

. . . .. . . . . . .,-.”*
41