Flowback Analysis (FBA)

FBA is one of the newest characterization techniques available for estimating parameters that are key drivers to long-term well productivity in low permeability unconventional reservoirs. FBA uses flowing well pressures and production rates gathered during short production tests following hydraulic fracturing to provide an early-time estimate of reservoir and stimulation properties.

FBA provides critical insights 6-12 months sooner than classical rate-transient analysis on long-term production data.

  • Estimation of hydraulic fracture properties
  • Estimation of reservoir permeability
  • Long-term production forecasts


  • Provides results 6-12 months sooner than conventional RTA on long-term production data
  • Limited data requirement (typically 2 days to 2 weeks)
  • No additional field costs (submission of high-resolution flow tests is a regulatory requirement in most jurisdictions)


  • Mobile fracture volume
  • Fracture conductivity
  • Fracture half-length
  • Matrix or SRV permeability


  • Since modern FBA was only developed starting in 2013, analysis models are not available in commercial software packages. We have developed a cutting-edge simple yet rigorous software platform that allows for the efficient interpretation of flowback data from most unconventional wells. FlowZilla combines straight-line analysis, type-curves and analytical simulation to extract the maximum value out of a dataset that has typically been ignored by the industry.

Flowback Analysis Case Study

Flow Regime Identification

  • Before-breakthrough (single-phase) flow regime identification for a Montney tight oil well
SSD services FBA Flow Regime Identification graph 1

Before-Breakthrough Rate-Transient Analysis

  • Before-breakthrough rate-transient analysis is conducted on the early-time period of single-phase fracture fluid production prior to the breakthrough of formation fluids and is used to estimate key hydraulic fracture properties
  • Analysis typically focuses on the fracture depletion flow regime, although fracture transient flow can also be interpreted if it is identified during flow regime identification. Fracture transient flow will typically be radial or linear
  • Before-Breakthrough rate-transient analysis incorporated straight-line analysis and type curves
  • Fracture half-length, conductivity, and skin (damage) can be estimated during this step of the analysis
SSD services FBA Before Breakthrough Rate Transient Analysis graph 1
SSD services FBA Before Breakthrough Rate Transient Analysis graph 2

Analytical Simulation History-Match

  • Analytical simulation is used to history match the before and after-breakthrough flow rates and pressures to confirm key hydraulic fracture properties and estimate reservoir permeability
  • The outputs from FBA can be used to seed a numerical simulation to generate a long-term production forecast
SSD services FBA Analytics Simulation History Match graph 1