The dual-reciprocity boundary element method solution for gas recovery from unconventional reservoirs with discrete fracture networks

Miao Zhang, Luis F. Ayala

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In this paper, we present a novel application of the dual-reciprocity boundary-element formulation (DRBEM) to model compressible (gas) fluid flow in tight and shale-gas reservoirs containing arbitrary distributed finite- or infinite-conductivity discrete fractures. Compared with the standard boundary-element method (BEM), the DRBEM transforms the nonlinear domain integrals at the righthand side (RHS) of BEM formulations for nonlinear partial differential equations into equivalent boundary integrals. This transformation allows retention of the domain-integral-free, boundary-integral-only character of standard BEM approaches. The proposed approach is based on coupling DRBEM with the finite-volume method (FVM) in which a multidimensional system is solved by integrating over a line with random fractures. The resulting system of equations is solved simultaneously for fracture and matrix boundary conditions by combining DRBEM and FVM without invoking any approximation for pressure-dependent nonlinear terms such as gas viscosity and compressibility. Numerical examples and field cases are presented to test the validity and showcase the capabilities of the proposed approach. The proposed model provides a general framework that can be applied to a variety of well and fracture geometries and operating schedules, and it is used to analyze production behavior for these complex systems. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first successful application of the dual-reciprocity principle to the BEM analysis of massively fractured horizontal wells (MFHWs) performance in natural-gas formations in which nonlinear, pressure-dependent gas properties are captured without approximation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2898-2914
Number of pages17
JournalSPE Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology

Cite this