Investigation of the Main Factors During Shale-gas Production Using Grey Relational Analysis

Hongling Zhang, Jing Wang*, Haiyong Zhang
Faculty of Petroleum Engineering, China University of Petroleum, Beijing, China

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© Zhang et al.; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Faculty of Petroleum Engineering, China University of Petroleum, Beijing, 18 Fuxue Road, Changping, Beijing 102249, China; E-mail:


Shale gas is one of the primary types of unconventional reservoirs to be exploited in search for long-lasting resources. Production from shale gas reservoirs requires horizontal drilling with hydraulic fracturing to achieve the most economic production. However, plenty of parameters (e.g., fracture conductivity, fracture spacing, half-length, matrix permeability, and porosity, etc) have high uncertainty that may cause unexpected high cost. Therefore, to develop an efficient and practical method for quantifying uncertainty and optimizing shale-gas production is highly desirable. This paper focuses on analyzing the main factors during gas production, including petro-physical parameters, hydraulic fracture parameters, and work conditions on shale-gas production performances. Firstly, numerous key parameters of shale-gas production from the fourteen best-known shale gas reservoirs in the United States are selected through the correlation analysis. Secondly, a grey relational grade method is used to quantitatively estimate the potential of developing target shale gas reservoirs as well as the impact ranking of these factors. Analyses on production data of many shale-gas reservoirs indicate that the recovery efficiencies are highly correlated with the major parameters predicted by the new method. Among all main factors, the impact ranking of major factors, from more important to less important, is matrix permeability, fracture conductivity, fracture density of hydraulic fracturing, reservoir pressure, total organic content (TOC), fracture half-length, adsorbed gas, reservoir thickness, reservoir depth, and clay content. This work can provide significant insights into quantifying the evaluation of the development potential of shale gas reservoirs, the influence degree of main factors, and optimization of shale gas production.

Keywords: Correlation analysis, Grey correction grade method, Main factors, Oil and gas development, Shale gas reservoir.