The objective of this work was to identify and quantify important parameters affecting gas production through propped fractures under a non-Darcy gas flow regime. The gas flow capacity of a simulated propped fracture was studied systematically to determine the effects of partial saturation, gel damage, and stress conditions.
The flow-capacity response of the 20/40-mesh sand tested throughout this project was affected significantly by variations in the effective gas porosity of the proppant pack. Permeability and non-Darcy flow characteristics were correlated to effective gas porosity. Partial saturation was found to be a key parameter influencing the permeability and non-Darcy gas flow behavior of a proppant pack. Partially saturated fractures may result from incomplete removal of fracturing fluid, mobility of formation waters, or production of condensates. The partial saturation of the proppant pack, in effect, changes the open porosity available for gas flow, which adversely affects gas permeability and non-Darcy flow parameters. The results from this investigation demonstrate that non-Darcy gas flow behavior through propped fractures in which a saturation phase is present cannot be estimated from results using dry-proppant-pack tests.