Overview of Current Hydraulic Fracturing Design and Treatment Technology-Part 2
- R.W. Veatch (Amoco Production Co. Research Center)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- May 1983
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 853 - 864
- 1983. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 4.3.4 Scale, 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 1.2.3 Rock properties, 2.2.2 Perforating, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 3 Production and Well Operations, 3.4.5 Bacterial Contamination and Control, 1.8 Formation Damage, 2.5.1 Fracture design and containment, 2.2.3 Fluid Loss Control, 5.8.7 Carbonate Reservoir, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 3.2.3 Hydraulic Fracturing Design, Implementation and Optimisation
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Distinguished Author Series articles are general, descriptiverepresentations that summarize the state of the art in an area of technology bydescribing recent developments for readers who are not specialists in thetopics discussed. Written by individuals recognized as experts in the area,these articles provide key references to more definitive work and presentspecific details only to illustrate the technology. Purpose: to informthe general readership of recent advances in various areas of petroleumengineering.
Hydraulic fracturing has played a major role in enhancing petroleum reservesand daily production. Fig. 1 portrays a simplified version of the "typical"fracturing process. It consists of blending special chemicals to make theappropriate fracturing fluid, then mixing it with a propping agent (usuallysand) and pumping it into the pay zone at sufficiently high rates and pressuresthat the fluid hydraulically wedges and extends a fracture. At the same time,the fluids carry the proppant deeply into the fracture. When done successfully,the propped open fracture creates a "superhighway" for oil and/or gas to floweasily from the extremities of the formation into the well. Note that thefracture has two wings extending in opposite directions from the well and thatit is oriented more or less in the vertical plane. Other types (e.g.,horizontal fractures) are known to exist. Some have been observed at relativelyshallow depths [less than 2,000 ft (600 m)], but they comprise a relatively lowpercentage of the situations experienced to date. Hence, the discussion isdirected primarily to vertical fractures. Fracturing technology requirementsare multifaceted and are becoming more complex as our target formations getdeeper, hotter, and lower in permeability. Fracturing state of the art over thepast permeability. Fracturing state of the art over the past decade has changedcontinually to address the technological challenges that emerged with thedevelopment of massive hydraulic fracturing (MHF). This discussion covers muchof the currently developing technology and the future needs for technologicaladvances.
A fracturing fluid is used basically to: (1) wedge open and extend afracture hydraulically, and (2) transport and distribute the proppant along thefracture. The fluid(s) selected for a treatment can have a significantinfluence on the resulting effectively propped fracture length and fractureconductivity, as propped fracture length and fracture conductivity, as well ason the treatment cost. Fluid properties strongly govern fracture-propagationbehavior and the distribution and placement of the propping agents. Fluids thatleak off rapidly into the formation have a low efficiency in hydraulicallywedging and extending a fracture. Fluid leakoff also may leave an undesirableconcentration of particulate residue in the fracture that could reduce fractureconductivity. The effective viscosity of the fluid controls the internalfracturing pressure and the propping agent transporting pressure and thepropping agent transporting characteristics. Some desirable features of a fluidfor most fracturing treatments include: (1) low fluid loss to obtain thedesired penetration with minimum fluid volumes; (2) sufficient effectiveviscosity to create the necessary fracture width, and to transport anddistribute the proppant in the fracture as required; (3) no excessive frictionin the fracture; (4) good temperature stability for the particular formationbeing treated; (5) good shear stability; (6) minimal damaging effects onformation permeability; (7) minimal plugging effects on fracture conductivity;plugging effects on fracture conductivity; (8) low-friction-loss behavior inthe pipe; (9) good post-treatment breaking characteristics; (10) goodpost-treatment breaking characteristics; (10) good post-treatment cleanup andflowback behavior; and post-treatment cleanup and flowback behavior; and (11)low cost.
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