Eco-Friendly Creation of Propped Hydraulic Fractures
- Claude E. Cooke (Cooke Law Firm) | Steve Wann (Danimer Scientific, LLC) | Jeffrey Thomas Watters (CSI Technologies) | Larry Thomas Watters (CSI Technologies) | Ding Zhu (Texas A&M University) | Yun Suk Hwang (Texas A&M University)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference, 6-8 February, The Woodlands, Texas, USA
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2012. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 2.2.2 Perforating, 3 Production and Well Operations, 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 5.6.4 Drillstem/Well Testing, 3.2.4 Acidising, 5.4.10 Microbial Methods, 4.1.1 Process Simulation, 4.3.4 Scale, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 3.2.3 Hydraulic Fracturing Design, Implementation and Optimisation, 1.8 Formation Damage
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A novel method for creating short, highly conductive fractures in wells to bypass formation damage has been developed. The method uses relatively small material volumes, low horsepower and pump rate, produces minimal environment effect, and leaves the formation face and proppant pack residue free. Function and application of the method present significant varia-tions in treatment design and execution compared to traditional hydraulic fracturing past damage. This paper presents results of development work to confirm the method's applicability and to provide sufficient performance data to design initial field applications.
Near wellbore damage to wells prevents new wells from producing at the expected rate or causes wells on production to lose productivity with time. The problem has been addressed by applying small-volume hydraulic fracturing and by acidizing or solvent treatments to decrease damage to flow capacity near a wellbore. When well tests are performed to determine reser-voir and near-wellbore flow capacity, it has been found that a substantial fraction of the benefit from a larger fracturing treatment comes from near-wellbore damage removal, particularly in higher permeability reservoirs. There has long been a need for an environmentally-friendly, cheaper and more effective process to remove the effects of near-wellbore damage to the flow capacity of a well. This paper describes such a process.
The U. S. land market for small, accurately placed fracture treatments to bypass near-wellbore damage is significant and largely untouched by current technology developers. A recent estimate of small fracture treatments performed in the U. S., focused primarily in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, came to 26,000 jobs/year. Market revenue was estimated at around $1 billion per year, with small independent operators and independent service companies representing the majority of consumers and suppliers.
A process has been developed and is ready for field testing that can create a wide, propped fracture for a limited distance, in the range of tens of feet, and that extends all the way to the wellbore. The process uses an environmentally-friendly polymer that is introduced into the wellbore in the form of solid pellets containing proppant. The polymer degrades in the presence of water to form a very viscous, proppant-laden gel fluid in the wellbore. Before the polymer degrades enough to allow prop-pant particles to settle, the proppant-containing gel is squeezed into the formation above fracturing pressure. The polymer continues to degrade to a clear aqueous solution, leaving no damage in the fracture. The polymer degrades to an acid, which can be effective to create fracture conductivity without proppant in carbonate formations.
The benefits of this process include:
• Creation of wide, high-conductivity fracture near wellbore
• Use of much less water
• No damage to proppant pack or formation face from polymer residue
• Less horsepower and fewer surface units
• Polymer synthesized from renewable resources that degrade to environmentally benign end products
|File Size||333 KB||Number of Pages||9|