A condition that results when the flow rate varies appreciably during a test period. This can be contrasted to multirate conditions, which describe the step changes in rate demanded by certain test designs. The variable rates observed during drawdown can be measured by a flowmeter at the sandface level in the well. Elegant mathematical methods have been developed to analyze well tests conducted at variable rates.Although, from a practical standpoint, it is much more desirable to conduct constant-rate tests, in reality the only truly constant rate is zero. Sandface flow-rate measurements provide considerable information from drawdown data that cannot be learned from a buildup.

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