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METHOD OF SIMULATING DYNAMIC BEHAVIOR OF PROPPANT FOR RESERVOIR CONDITIONS IN SUBTERRANEAN WELLS

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000238025D
Publication Date: 2014-Jul-25
Document File: 8 page(s) / 332K

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Abstract

Proppant is used to keep hydraulic fractures open and to maintain the conductivity of the fracture. This helps operators to produce the well economically. It is normal for well productivity to decline as reservoir pressure declines. However, steeper rates of decline are often observed, which have been attributed to additional damage mechanisms such as proppant crushing, embedment, fines migration and proppant diagenesis.

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METHOD OF SIMULATING DYNAMIC BEHAVIOR OF PROPPANT FOR RESERVOIR CONDITIONS IN SUBTERRANEAN WELLS

ABSTRACT

Proppant is used to keep hydraulic fractures open and to maintain the conductivity of the fracture. This helps operators to produce the well economically. It is normal for well productivity to decline as reservoir pressure declines. However, steeper rates of decline are often observed, which have been attributed to additional damage mechanisms such as proppant crushing, embedment, fines migration and proppant diagenesis.

In order to ensure good life of a well, choosing the correct proppant for a given formation at the reservoir temperature and stress becomes an important factor. Selection of proppant should not be based solely on the crush strength of the proppant at the applied stress value, but should also depend on the overall integrity of the proppant after being exposed to the reservoir conditions. It is important to select a proper proppant for the job in order to ensure economical production as well as long-term stability of the well.

In order to study proppant formation interaction tests can be performed without stress application using simple laboratory equipment. However for understanding proppant-formation stability under reservoir conditions demands that test be conducted at temperature as well as stress. These tests can be conducted by using existing equipment where in huge investment is required in terms of finance, space as well as man hours to maintain the equipment.

This paper provides information on simple low-cost equipment developed specifically to study proppant-formation interaction and its stability under dynamic conditions of stress, temperature and fluid flow. This equipment with minor modifications can be used for both diagenesis as well as proppant embedment tests.

INTRODUCTION

Hydraulic fracturing is a widely used technique to economically produce from a given reservoir. The fractures created are usually propped open by use of granular material (proppant) that ensures presence of highly conductive pathways from the reservoir to the well. Proppants are available in different size distribution, material and are ranked based on the expected crush strength and conductivity at expected formation closure stress and temperature.

Much emphasis was given on the mechanical properties of the proppant in order to select the best material for a particular fracture treatment. In spite of the care taken, the well shows decline in production. Various factors are responsible for this production decline like fines infiltration and migration, proppant crushing, proppant embedment, pressure drawdown rate and so on.

However in the last few years, the industry has started looking into geochemical interaction of proppant with formation at the reservoir conditions (pressure, temperature and fluid systems). This concept of proppant diagenesis was first introduced in 2005 (Weaver et al. 2005).

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METHOD OF...