Using a combination of analytical calculations and 3D finite-element simulation, we have developed a comprehensive skin-factor model for perforated horizontal wells. In this paper, we present the mathematical model development and validation by comparison with finite-element simulation results. With the new perforation skin model, we then show how to optimize horizontal well perforating to maximize well productivity. A cased, perforated well may have lower productivity (as characterized by a positive skin factor) relative to the equivalent open-hole completion because of two factors: the convergence of the flow to the perforations, and the blockage of the flow by the wellbore itself. Because of the orientation of a horizontal well relative to the anisotropic permeability field, perforation skin models for vertical wells that consider these effects, notably the Karakas and Tariq model (1991), are not directly applicable to perforated horizontal completions. Using appropriate variable transformations, we derived a skin-factor model for a horizontal perforated completion that is analogous to the Karakas and Tariq (1991) vertical-well model. The empirical parameters in the model were determined from an extensive 3D finite-element simulation study. The results of the new model show that the azimuth of a perforation (the angle between the perforation tunnel and the maximum permeability direction, usually thought to be in the horizontal direction) affects the performance of perforated completions in anisotropic reservoirs. When perforations are normal to the maximum-permeability direction, perforations will enhance horizontal-well flow compared with an openhole completion (a negative skin factor). But if perforations are in the same direction as the maximum permeability, significant positive skin will result. The new skin-factor model provides a clear guide to the shot density, perforation orientation, and level of perforation damage that is tolerable to create high-productivity perforated completions in horizontal wells.
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