A Comprehensive Review of Formation Damage Caused by High-Viscosity Friction Reducers: Wolfcamp Case Study


The success of hydraulic fracture treatment can be evaluated by measuring fracture conductivity and regained permeability. However, selecting the suitable fracture fluid system plays an essential role to minimize or eliminate the formation damage. To address the potential formation damage during fracturing treatment, this research presents a comprehensive review of a good number of published papers that are carefully reviewed and summarized including experimental research, case studies, and simulation work on recent improvements of using HVFR to carry the proppant and capture the optimum design in fracturing operations. This paper also provides formation damage mechanisms such as chemical, mechanical, biological, and thermal. Moreover, the research explains the fracture damage categories including damage inside fracture and damage inside the reservoir. The advantages of using HVFRs are also fully explained. Experimental rheological characterization was studied to investigate the viscoelastic property of HVFRs on proppant transport. The successful implication of utilizing HVFRs in the Wolfcamp formation, Permian Basin was discussed. The findings of this research are analyzed to reach conclusions on how HVFRs can be an alternative fracture fluid system of many unconventional reservoirs. Comparing to the traditional hydraulic fracture fluids system, the research shows the many potential advantages that HVFR fluids offer, including superior proppant transport capability, almost 100% retained conductivity, around 30% cost reduction, and logistics, such as minimizing chemicals usage by 50% and operation equipment on location, reduce water consumption by 30%, and environmental benefits. Finally, this comprehensive review addresses up-to-date challenges and emphasizes necessities for using high viscosity friction reducers as alternative fracture fluids.

Meeting Name

SPE Liquids-Rich Basins Conference - North America 2019, LRBC 2019 (2019: Nov. 7-8, Odessa, TX)


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Cost reduction; Friction; Petroleum reservoir evaluation; Proppants; Viscosity, Environmental benefits; Experimental research; Fracture conductivities; Fracture-fluid systems; Fracturing operations; Rheological characterization; Unconventional reservoirs; Viscoelastic properties, Fracture

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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© 2019 Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Nov 2019