The use of degradable polymeric materials to control fluid flow during hydraulic fracturing (referred to as “diversion”) is an increasing area of interest in well completions. While poly(lactic acid) (PLA) and other similar polyesters dominate the market space, there are drawbacks to these materials that can limit their performance. Specifically, if the particle size distribution is not matched to the geometries of the perforations and fractures, it will be difficult or impossible to achieve optimal plugging/jamming, and the fluid will not be efficiently diverted into un- or under-stimulated portions of the formation. We have developed an alternative approach to fluid diversion that retains the key properties of polymeric diverters, including product degradability and an ability to withstand high hydraulic pressure, while allowing for better sealing efficiency with less sensitivity to the precise particle size distribution. In this paper, we describe a product that is intended for use in lower- to mid-temperature applications (approximately 160-200 °F). Our laboratory and field results show this product can both seal efficiently and adaptably, while also withstanding high hydraulic pressure.
During completion operations, it is typical that only a fraction of the perforations generated will accept stimulation fluid, and then contribute to production once a well is brought online. Estimates vary, but by at least one account, as few as 50% of the perforation clusters are effectively simulated (Miller 2011), leaving significant portions of the formation un- or under-stimulated. As a result, implementation of strategies for the diversion of fracturing fluid during well completions has become increasingly common in field operations (Van Domelen 2017), and one of the more common methods focuses on the application of particulate chemical treatments (Weddle 2017). Commonly referred to as “diverters,” these treatments are typically comprised of blends of controllably, but variably, sized solids that temporarily plug high permeability perforations and/or fractures (Trumble 2019). When these plugs form, the fluid is then redirected into the un- or under-stimulated portions of the reservoir (Allison 2011, Astafyev 2016, Fry 2016, Rahim 2017), ultimately leading to improved production.
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