Video: High-TDS Produced Water-Based, Low-Damaging Fracturing Fluids for Applications at 300°F or Higher
- Leiming Li (Aramco Services Company) | Rajesh Saini (Aramco Services Company) | Nam Mai (Aramco Services Company)
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- Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- 2018. Copyright is retained by the author. This presentation is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this video.
- 6.5.2 Water use, produced water discharge and disposal, 2 Well completion, 3 Production and Well Operations, 3.2.6 Produced Water Management, 3 Production and Well Operations, 3.2 Well Operations and Optimization, 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 2.4 Hydraulic Fracturing
- high-TDS produced water, high-temperature fracturing fluids
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Water usage in hydraulic fracturing jobs has been increasing continuously, mostly due to multistage hydraulic fracturing of horizontal wells in unconventional reservoirs. Meanwhile, nearly 100 billion barrels of produced water, often with total dissolved solids (TDS) higher than seawater, is being generated every year from oilfield operations. Operating cost could be lowered if produced water is used in place of fresh water in fracturing activities, due to the reduced fresh water consumption and produced water disposal cost.
Formulating slickwater or linear fracturing fluids with high-TDS produced water is a common practice. Crosslinked fluids have also been prepared with salt and hard produced water for medium and low temperature applications. At elevated temperatures above 250°F, it becomes much more challenging to make stable crosslinked fluids with untreated produced water due to the damage caused by the high water salinity and hardness. Without resorting to scale inhibitors and/or high fluid pH, fracturing fluids prepared with untreated high-TDS produced water have so far shown stability at around 275°F.
With careful selections of the fluid additives, a new high-temperature fracturing fluid system was recently formulated with untreated produced water having TDS at or above 295,000 mg/L. Made up of metal-crosslinked polysaccharides, the fluids were stable at high temperatures of 300°F or more. In representative tests, the fluid viscosity stayed above 100 cP (at 100 s−1 shear rate) for 2 hours at 300°F. To reduce the scaling tendency and enhance the gel cleanup, the fluid pH was suppressed to 7.2 or below as measured at surface temperature, resulting in a regained permeability of 77% in the conductivity test. Overall, the new produced water-based fluid system showed satisfactory performances at 300°F in fluid viscosity and stability, regained conductivity, and scaling tendency.
The key roles played by the additives to render the fluid stability at 300°F will be discussed for the high-temperature fracturing fluids prepared with high-TDS produced water, and the laboratory test results will be presented in detail.