The application of horizontal well drilling and multi-stage fracturing has become a norm in the industry to develop unconventional resources from ultra-tight formations. A complex fracture network generated in the presence of stress isotropy and pre-existing natural fractures immensely extends reservoir contact and improves hydrocarbon production.

A semi-analytical method is presented in this paper to simulate the production from such complex fracture network. This method combines an analytical reservoir solution with a numerical solution on discretized fracture panels. The mathematics are briefly introduced. A number of case studies are presented, from a simple planar fracture to a real field example from the Barnett shale. Production behaviour and the key flow regimes are discussed.

With its simplicity, yet capturing the physics of the transient production performance, this approach provides an accessible tool for people from multiple disciplines in unconventional resource development to rapidly evaluate treated-well productivity and stimulation effectiveness.

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