Many Factors Affect Utica Shale Production Decline Curves

From Utica Shale Blog:
Production decline curves in the Utica Shale are impacted by a number of variables. In the first place, there is a natural decline over time, gas and liquids are finite and production inevitably declines. Fracking impermeable rock generates a flow path for trapped hydrocarbons and initial production can be quite large, though decline is inevitable as fractures and proppant no longer sustain flow and reservoir rock releases what it can. Unlike traditional wells where relatively porous and permeable rock is highly prized for it natural ability to permit hydrocarbons to enter the well bore and move to the surface, unconventional wells require coaxing via fracking. The fracking creates finite induced pathways for hydrocarbons to enter the wellbore and move up to the surface. 
Choke valve adjustment 
All wells use a choke valve which gives the operator control over how quickly hydrocarbons are allowed to escape out of the wellbore. Chokes valves are adjusted for a number of reasons and subject to experimentation and testing to optimize results. Reasons for choke adjustment could include: limiting choke in an attempt to maximize long term total production and flattening decline curves (experimental and based on learning and history), or maximizing or minimizing choke for other economic reasons.
Click here to read more and view a graphic illustrating the decline curve.

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