Articles | Volume 20, issue 3
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 20, 311–327, 2013
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-20-311-2013

Special issue: Nonlinearity, scaling and complexity in exploration...

Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 20, 311–327, 2013
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-20-311-2013

Research article 17 May 2013

Research article | 17 May 2013

Nonlinear flow model for well production in an underground formation

J. C. Guo and R. S. Nie J. C. Guo and R. S. Nie
  • State Key Laboratory of Oil & Gas Reservoir Geology and Exploitation, Southwest Petroleum University, Chengdu 0086.610500, Sichuan Province, China

Abstract. Fluid flow in underground formations is a nonlinear process. In this article we modelled the nonlinear transient flow behaviour of well production in an underground formation. Based on Darcy's law and material balance equations, we used quadratic pressure gradients to deduce diffusion equations and discuss the origins of nonlinear flow issues. By introducing an effective-well-radius approach that considers skin factor, we established a nonlinear flow model for both gas and liquid (oil or water). The liquid flow model was solved using a semi-analytical method, while the gas flow model was solved using numerical simulations because the diffusion equation of gas flow is a stealth function of pressure. For liquid flow, a series of standard log-log type curves of pressure transients were plotted and nonlinear transient flow characteristics were analyzed. Qualitative and quantitative analyses were used to compare the solutions of the linear and nonlinear models. The effect of nonlinearity upon pressure transients should not be ignored. For gas flow, pressure transients were simulated and compared with oil flow under the same formation and well conditions, resulting in the conclusion that, under the same volume rate production, oil wells demand larger pressure drops than gas wells. Comparisons between theoretical data and field data show that nonlinear models will describe fluid flow in underground formations realistically and accurately.