Design and Application of High-Temperature Raw-Seawater-Based Fracturing Fluids
- Tariq Almubarak (Texas A&M University) | Mohammed AlKhaldi (Saudi Aramco) | Jun Hong Ng (Texas A&M University) | Hisham A. Nasr-El-Din (Texas A&M University)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Journal
- Publication Date
- August 2019
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,929 - 1,946
- 2019.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- field application, seawater, scale, fracturing
- 29 in the last 30 days
- 145 since 2007
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Typically, water-based fracturing treatments consume a large volume of fresh water. Providing consistent freshwater sources is difficult and sometimes not feasible, especially in remote areas and offshore operations. Therefore, several seawater-based fracturing fluids have been developed in an effort to preserve freshwater resources. However, none of these fluids minimizes fracture-face skin and proppant-conductivity impairment, which can be critical for unconventional well treatments.
Several experiments and design iterations were conducted to tailor raw-seawater-based fracturing fluids. These fluids were designed to have rheological properties that can transport proppant under dynamic and static conditions. The optimized seawater-based fracturing-fluid formulas were developed such that no scale forms when additives are mixed in or when the fracturing-fluid filtrate is mixed with different formation brines. The tests were conducted using a high-pressure/high-temperature (HP/HT) rheometer, coreflood, and by aging cells at 250 to 300°F.
The developed seawater-based fracturing fluids were optimized with an apparent viscosity greater than 100 cp at a shear rate of 100 seconds–1 and a temperature of 300°F for more than 1 hour. The use of polymeric- and phosphonate-based scale inhibitors (SIs) prevented the formation of severe calcium sulfate (CaSO4) scale in mixtures of seawater and formation brines at 300°F. Controlling the pH of fracturing fluids prevented magnesium and calcium hydroxide precipitation that occurs at a pH value of greater than 9.5. Most importantly, SIs had a negative effect on the viscosity of seawater fracturing fluid during testing because of their negative interaction with metallic crosslinkers. The developed seawater-based fracturing fluids were applied for the first time in an unconventional and a conventional carbonate well and showed very promising results; details of field treatments are discussed in this paper.
Correction Notice: This paper has been modified from its original form to correct the Observation column in Figs. 10, 12, 15, and 16, where all instances of "lbm/1,000 gal" have been changed to "Precipitation."
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