Proppant Transport Using High-Viscosity Friction Reducer Fracture Fluids at High-Temperature Environment (includes associated errata)


The stimulation of unconventional reservoirs to improve oil productivity in tight formations of shale basins is a key objective in hydraulic fracturing treatments. Such stimulation can be made by reliable fracture fluids that have a high viscosity and elasticity to suspend the proppant in the fracture networks. Recently, due to several operational and economic reasons, the oil industry began using high-viscosity friction reducers (HVFRs) as direct replacements for linear and crosslinked gels. However, some issues can limit the capability of HVFRs to provide effective sand transport, including the high fluid temperature during fracture treatment inside the formations. This may lead to unstable fracture fluids caused by a decrease in the interconnective strength between the fluid chains, which results in reduced viscosity and elasticity. This study comprehensively investigated HVFRs in comparison with guar at various temperatures. An HVFR at 4 gallons per thousand gallons of water (gpt) and guar at 25 pounds per thousand gallons of water (ppt) were selected based on fluid rheology tests and hydraulic fracture execution field results. The rheological measurements of both fracture fluids were conducted at different temperature values (i.e., 25, 50, 75, and 100⁰C). Static and dynamic proppant settling tests were also conducted at the same temperatures. The results showed that the HVFR provided better proppant transport capability than the guar. The HVFR had better thermal stability than guar, but its viscosity and elasticity decreased significantly when the temperature exceeded 75⁰C. An HVFR can carry and hold the proppant more deeply inside the fracture than liner gel, but that ability decreases as the temperature increases. Therefore, using conditions that mimic field conditions to measure the fracture fluid rheology, proppant static settling velocity, and proppant dune development under a high temperature is crucial for enhancing the fracture treatment results.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Fracturing Fluid; Guar; Fracture Fluid; Consistency Index; Hydraulic Fracturing; Concentration; Particle Size; HVFR; Proppant; Elasticity

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Article - Journal

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Publication Date

26 Oct 2021