A new semi-analytical flow model for multi-branch well testing in natural gas hydrates

Hongyang Chu, Jingxuan Zhang, Liwei Zhang, Tianbi Ma, Yubao Gao, W. John Lee

Abstract view|36|times       PDF download|23|times


This paper presents a new semi-analytical solution and the related methodology to analyze the pressure behavior of multi-branch wells produced from natural gas hydrates. For constant bottom-hole pressure production, the transient flow solution is obtained by Laplace transforms. The interference among various branches is investigated using the superposition principle. A simplified form of the proposed model is validated using published analytical solutions. The complete flow profile can be divided into nine distinct regimes: wellbore storage and skin, vertical radial flow, linear flow, pseudo-radial flow, composite flow, dissociated flow, transitional flow, improvement flow and stress-sensitive flow. A well’s multi-branch structure governs the vertical radial and the linear flow regimes. In our model, a dynamic interface divides the natural gas hydrates deposit into dissociated and non-dissociated regions. Natural gas hydrates formation properties govern the compositeeffect, dissociated, transitional, and improvement flow regimes. A dissociation coefficient governs the difference in flow resistance between dissociated and non-dissociated natural gas hydrates regions. The dissociated-zone radius affects the timing of these flow regimes. Conversion of natural gas hydrates to natural gas becomes instantaneous as the dissociation coefficient increases. The pressure derivative exhibits the same features as a homogeneous formation. The natural gas hydrates parameter values in the Shenhu area of the South China Sea cause the prominent dissociated flow regime to conceal the later transitional and improvement flow regimes. Due to the maximum practical well-test duration limitation, the first five flow regimes (through composite flow) are more likely to appear in practice than later flow regimes.

Document Type: Original article

Cited as: Chu, H., Zhang, J., Zhang, L., Ma, T, Gao Y., Lee, W. J. A new semi-analytical flow model for multi-branch well testing in natural gas hydrates. Advances in Geo-Energy Research, 2023, 7(3): 176-188. https://doi.org/10.46690/ager.2023.03.04


Natural gas hydrate, multi-branch well, flow regime, semi-analytical solution, stress-sensitive effects

Full Text:



Blasingame, T. A., Lee, W. J. The variable-rate reservoir limits testing of gas wells. Paper SPE 17708 Presented at SPE Gas Technology Symposium, Dallas, Texas, 13-15 June, 1988.

Blasingame, T. A., McCray, T. L., Lee, W. J. Decline curve analysis for variable pressure drop/variable flowrate systems. Paper SPE 21513 Presented at SPE Gas Technology Symposium, Houston, Texas, 22-24 January, 1991.

Bourdet, D., Ayoub, J. A., Plrard, Y. M. Use of pressure derivative in well-test interpretation. SPE Formation Evaluation, 1989, 4(2): 293-302.

Cai, J., Xia, Y., Lu, C., et al. Creeping microstructure and fractal permeability model of natural gas hydrate reservoir. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 2020a, 115: 104282.

Cai, J., Xia, Y., Xu, S., et al. Advances in multiphase seepage characteristics of natural gas hydrate sediments. Chinese Journal of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, 2020b, 52(1): 208-223. (in Chinese)

Chen, Z., Li, D., Zhang, S., et al. A well-test model for gas hydrate dissociation considering a dynamic interface. Fuel, 2022, 314: 123053.

Cheng, C., Jiang, T., Kuang, Z., et al. Characteristics of gas chimneys and their implications on gas hydrate accumulation in the Shenhu area, northern South China Sea. Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering, 2020, 84: 103629.

Chu, H., Ma, T., Gao, Y., et al. A composite model based on semi-analytical method for multiwell horizontal pad with stimulated reservoir volume. Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, 2022, 217: 110910.

Chu, H., Ma, T., Zhu, W., et al. A novel semi-analytical monitoring model for multi-horizontal well system in largescale underground natural gas storage: Methodology and case study. Fuel, 2023, 334: 126807.

Dincer, I., Acar, C. A review on clean energy solutions for better sustainability. International Journal of Energy Research, 2015, 39(5): 585-606.

Gielen, D., Boshell, F., Saygin, D., et al. The role of renewable energy in the global energy transformation. Energy Strategy Reviews, 2019, 24: 38-50.

Goel, N., Wiggins, M., Shah, S. Analytical modeling of gas recovery from in situ hydrates dissociation. Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, 2001, 29(2): 115-127.

Gringarten, A. C., Ramey, H. J., Raghavan, R. Unsteady-state pressure distributions created by a well with a single infinite-conductivity vertical fracture. Society of Petroleum Engineers Journal, 1974, 14(4): 347-360.

He, Y., Cheng, S., Li, S., et al. A semianalytical methodology to diagnose the locations of underperforming hydraulic fractures through pressure-transient analysis in tight gas reservoir. SPE Journal, 2017, 22(3): 924-939.

Hepburn, C., Qi, Y., Stern, N., et al. Towards carbon neutrality and China’s 14th Five-Year Plan: clean energy transition, sustainable urban development, and investment priorities. Environmental Science and Ecotechnology, 2021, 8: 100130.

Hong, H., Pooladi-Darvish, M., Bishnoi, P. R. Analytical modeling of gas production from hydrates in porous media. Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology, 2003, 42(11): 45-56.

Hou, J., Zhao, E., Liu, Y., et al. Pressure-transient behavior in class III hydrate reservoirs. Energy, 2019, 170: 391-402.

Jin, G., Peng, Y., Liu, L., et al. Enhancement of gas production from low-permeability hydrate by radially branched horizontal well: Shenhu Area, South China Sea. Energy, 2022, 253: 124129.

Kushwaha, O. S., Meshram, S. B., Bhattacharjee, G., et al. Molecular Insights about Gas Hydrate Formation. in Advances in Spectroscopy: Molecules to Materials, edited by O. S. Kushwaha, S. B. Meshram, G. Bhattacharjee, et al. Springer, Singapore, 2019: 311-322.

Kvenvolden, K. A., Rogers, B. W. Gaia’s breath-global methane exhalations. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 2005, 22(4): 579-590.

Lee, J. Well Testing, Society of Petroleum Engineers, 1982. Lee, J., Rollins, J. B., Spivey, J. P. Pressure transient testing (eBook). SPE Textbook Series, 2003.

Li, Y., Liu, L., Jin, Y., et al. Characterization and development of natural gas hydrate in marine clayey-silt reservoirs: A review and discussion. Advances in Geo-Energy Research, 2021, 5(1): 75-86.

Li, G., Moridis, G. J., Zhang, K., et al. Evaluation of the gas production potential of marine hydrate deposits in the Shenhu Area of the South China Sea. Paper OTC 20548 Presented at Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, Texas, 3-6 May, 2010.

Li, J., Ye, J., Qin, X. et al. The first offshore natural gas hydrate production test in South China Sea. China Geology, 2018, 1(1): 5-16.

Lu, C., Qin, X., Ma, C., et al. Investigation of the impact of threshold pressure gradient on gas production from hydrate deposits. Fuel, 2022, 319: 123569.

Myshakin, E. M., Ajayi, T., Anderson, B. J., et al. Numerical simulations of depressurization-induced gas production from gas hydrates using 3-D heterogeneous models of L-Pad, Prudhoe Bay Unit, North Slope Alaska. Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering, 2016, 35: 1336-1352.

Nair, V. C., Gupta, P., Sangwai, J. S. Gas hydrates as a potential energy resource for energy sustainability, in Sustainable Energy Technology and Policies, edited by S. De, S. Bandyopadhyay, M. Assadi, et al. Springer, Singapore, pp. 265-287, 2018.

Nakajima, C., Ouchi, H., Tamaki, M., et al. Sensitivity and uncertainty analysis for natural gas hydrate production tests in Alaska. Energy & Fuels, 2022, 36(14): 7434-7455.

Newell, R., Raimi, D., Aldana, G. Global energy outlook 2019: the next generation of energy. Resources for the Future, 2019, 1: 8-19.

Ozkan, E., Raghavan, R. New solutions for well-test-analysis problems: Part 1-analytical considerations. SPE Formation Evaluation, 1991, 6(3): 359-368.

Pedrosa Jr, O. A. Pressure transient response in stress-sensitive formations. Paper SPE 15115 Presented at SPE California Regional Meeting, Oakland, California, 2-4 April, 1986.

Qin, X., Lu, C., Wang, P., et al. Hydrate phase transition and seepage mechanism during natural gas hydrates production tests in the South China Sea: A review and prospect. China Geology, 2022, 5: 201-217.

Roostaie, M., Leonenko, Y. Analytical investigation of gas production from methane hydrates and the associated heat and mass transfer upon thermal stimulation employing a coaxial wellbore. Energy Conversion and Management, 2020, 209: 112616.

Shaibu, R., Sambo, C., Guo, B., et al. An assessment of methane gas production from natural gas hydrates: Challenges, technology and market outlook. Advances in Geo-Energy Research, 2021, 5(3): 318-332.

Spivey, J. P., Lee, W. J. New solutions for pressure transient response for a horizontal or a hydraulically fractured well at an arbitrary orientation in an anisotropic reservoir. Paper SPE 49236 Presented at SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, New Orleans, Louisiana, 27-30 September, 1998.

Spivey, J. P., Lee, W. J. Applied Well Test Interpretation. Society of Petroleum Engineers, 2013. Stehfest, H. Algorithm 368: Numerical inversion of Laplace transforms [D5]. Communications of the ACM, 1970, 13(1): 47-49.

Sun, X., Nanchary, N., Mohanty, K. K. 1-D modeling of hydrate depressurization in porous media. Transport in Porous Media, 2005, 58(3): 315-338.

Tsimpanogiannis, I. N., Lichtner, P. C. Parametric study of methane hydrate dissociation in oceanic sediments driven by thermal stimulation. Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, 2007, 56(1-3): 165-175.

Tsypkin, G. G. Mathematical models of gas hydrates dissociation in porous media. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2000, 912(1): 428-436.

Uddin, M., Coombe, D., Law, D., et al. Numerical studies of gas hydrate formation and decomposition in a geological reservoir. Journal of Energy Resources Technology, 2008, 130(3): 032501.

Van Everdingen, A. F., Hurst, W. (1949). The application of the Laplace transformation to flow problems in reservoirs. Journal of Petroleum Technology, 1949, 1(12): 305-324.

Wei, C., Liu, Y., Deng, Y., et al. Temperature Transient Analysis of Naturally Fractured Geothermal Reservoirs. SPE Journal, 2022, 27(5): 2723-2745.

Wilson, S. J., Hunter, R. B., Collett, T. S., et al. Alaska North Slope regional gas hydrate production modeling forecasts. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 2011, 28(2): 460-477.

Wu, Z., Yang, S., Liu, W., et al. Permeability analysis of gas hydrate-bearing sand/clay mixed sediments using effective stress laws. Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering, 2022, 97: 104376.

Xiao, C., Tian, L. Modelling of fractured horizontal wells with complex fracture network in natural gas hydrate reservoirs. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 2020, 45(28): 14266-14280.

Yan, C., Ren, X., Cheng, Y., et al. Geomechanical issues in the exploitation of natural gas hydrate. Gondwana Research, 2020, 81: 403-422.

Ye, J., Qin, X., Xie, W., et al. The second natural gas hydrate production test in the South China Sea. China Geology, 2020, 3: 197-209.

Ye, H., Wu, X., Li, D., et al. Numerical simulation of productivity improvement of natural gas hydrate with various well types: Influence of branch parameters. Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering, 2022: 104630.

Ye, H., Wu, X., Guo, G., et al. Application of the enlarged wellbore diameter to gas production enhancement from natural gas hydrates by complex structure well in the Shenhu Sea area. Energy, 2023, 264: 126025.

Zhang, P., Tian, S., Zhang, Y., et al. Numerical simulation of gas recovery from natural gas hydrate using multibranch wells: A three-dimensional model. Energy, 2021, 220: 119549.

Zhang, P., Zhang, Y., Zhang, W., et al. Numerical simulation of gas production from natural gas hydrate deposits with multi-branch wells: Influence of reservoir properties. Energy, 2022, 238: 121738.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.46690/ager.2023.03.04


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 The Author(s)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Copyright ©2018. All Rights Reserved