Effects of Fracturing Fluid Velocity on Fluid-Loss Agent Performance
- C.D. Hall Jr. (Dowell, Div. Of Dow Chemical Co.) | F.E. Dollarhide (Dowell, Div. Of Dow Chemical Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- May 1964
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 555 - 560
- 1964. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 3.3.3 Downhole and Wellsite Flow Metering, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 3.2.3 Hydraulic Fracturing Design, Implementation and Optimisation, 2.2.3 Fluid Loss Control, 1.2.3 Rock properties, 1.11 Drilling Fluids and Materials, 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 4.3.4 Scale, 5.3.4 Integration of geomechanics in models, 5.1 Reservoir Characterisation
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Conventional static tests of fluid-loss agents do not realistically simulate conditions in a fracturing treatment. The dynamic tests reported here show that fluid-loss volume is better represented as proportional to time, rather than as the square root of time. This leads to a different equation for fracture area. The leak-off rate increases with increasing shear rate at the fracture wall, by appears to approach a limiting value. Pressure effects are minor. Spurt loss ordinarily is not affected by the flow velocity in the fracture and is inversely proportional to concentration of agent. The filter cake, once it is well established, is resistant to damage by the flow of pain fracturing liquid (without fluid-loss agent). The latter two findings indicate that a treatment employing a high-concentration spearhead following by plain fluid can offer a more economical treatment under suitable conditions.
The successful design of hydraulic fracturing treatments depends on accurate knowledge of the fluid-loss properties of the fracturing fluid. Howard and Fast, in giving the basic equation relating fracture area to fluid and treating parameters, described three mechanisms which might control the rate of fluid leak-off from the fracture. One mechanism usually is dominant in a given well treatment. For each mechanism, the leak-off velocity is inversely proportional to the square root of time, and the proportionality constant is designated as the fracturing- fluid coefficient. For the wall-building type of fluid-loss agent, the coefficient is determined by a filtration test in a pressure cell, usually with a rock wafer or core as the filter medium. In these static tests, the cumulative volume generally is proportional to the square root of time, after an initial spurt volume. The static-fluid-loss test is not representative of the conditions under which a fluid-loss agent performs in a fracturing treatment. The marked difference between the dynamic- and static-fluid-loss behavior of drilling fluids reported in the literature implies that dynamic testing is also needed with fracturing fluids. We have therefore undertaken a study of the dynamic-fluid-loss behavior of fracturing fluids. The testing apparatus has also afforded opportunity to evaluate the resistance of the filter cake to removal or damage by flowing fluid containing no fluid-loss agent, with and without sand. The results of these studies offer a means for more accurate evaluation of fluid-loss agent performance, and point the way to a "spearhead" fracturing technique which may offer mare economical treatment for some wells.
The dynamic-fluid-loss testing method is applicable to any type of wall-building fracturing fluid. The present study aimed first at finding what phenomena are involved, and therefore has been limited in the number of materials tested. All of the results specifically reported herein are for kerosene containing a commercial solid fluid-loss agent, which is commonly used at 50 lb/1,000 gal of oil. Another agent in liquid form, used usually at 20 gal/1,000 gal oil, has shown all the same phenomena in dynamic tests, and generally the same level of fluid-loss control as the solid agent. The dynamic-fluid-loss core cell used in all tests is shown in Fig. 1. The fracture was simulated by the annulus between a 2.03 in. OD sandstone core and the surrounding pipe. Annulus widths of 0.234 and 0.117 in. were used, and the core was 3.5 in. long. The annular geometry provides a uniform fluid velocity and a well-defined shear rate over the entire filtering surface, and permits a large filter area (144 sq cm) in a reasonably compact cell. The leak-off fluid passed into a 0.5 in. diameter axial hole in the core. A hollow steel rod through this hole was threaded into a rounded "streamliner" upstream of the core, and into a mounting stud downstream. The streamliner and the stud had the same outside diameter as the core. In all tests except those where sand was circulated, the mounting stud had protruding rings which constricted the annulus, to minimize any tendency for channeling of the fluid to the side exit port. The ends of the core were sealed by Neoprene, steel and Teflon washers. The leak-off fluid was conducted from the hollow rod to an exit tube, through a metering valve (a fine-pitched needle valve) and a quick-opening toggle valve in series, and into graduated cylinders for volume measurement. Two separate circulating systems were used in the experimental program. The extensive initial testing was done at 50 to 150 psi. The fluid was circulated by a variable speed Moyno pump, and the flow rate was read by a rotameter flow meter. The filtration pressure was supplied by holding a back-pressure with a throttling valve.
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