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Method of Determining Proppant Quality

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000239296D
Publication Date: 2014-Oct-27
Document File: 8 page(s) / 90K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Selecting a correct frac sand or proppant to be used in a conventional hydraulic fracturing treatment is vitally important. A thorough evaluation of the proppant is required to ensure the selected proppant is correct and proper for the treatment. Among various evaluation methods, crushing of proppant is an important method. The crushing of proppant and the amounts of generated fines determines the stress closure the proppant can sustain. Taking the advantage and availability of acoustic emission (AE) technology, a method of using AE signals generated during crushing of proppant to evaluate the quality of sand or proppant is presented. A combination of proppant crushing and analysis of AE helps classify the proppant quality. This test method can be simplified to be readily available and applied by personnel in field locations.

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Method of Determining Proppant Quality

Abstract

Selecting a correct frac sand or proppant to be used in a conventional hydraulic fracturing treatment is vitally important. A thorough evaluation of the proppant is required to ensure the selected proppant is correct and proper for the treatment. Among various evaluation methods, crushing of proppant is an important method. The crushing of proppant and the amounts of generated fines determines the stress closure the proppant can sustain. Taking the advantage and availability of acoustic emission (AE) technology, a method of using AE signals generated during crushing of proppant to evaluate the quality of sand or proppant is presented. A combination of proppant crushing and analysis of AE helps classify the proppant quality. This test method can be simplified to be readily available and applied by personnel in field locations.

Introduction

Hydraulic fracturing is a common stimulation method used to enhanced production of hydrocarbons from subterranean formations. Typically a fracturing treatment fluid is injected into the formation at a pressure sufficiently high to cause the formation to fracture. Proppant particulate materials are then carried into the fracture, where they remain after the treatment is completed. Proppants serve a dual purpose: (1) they hold the fracture open, and (2) create a porous and permeable bed that result from proppant packing after the fracturing pressure is released and the fracturing fluid is flowed back. The resulting permeable proppant bed enhances the ability of fluids to migrate from the formation to the wellbore through the fracture, making fracture conductivity the most important parameter in determining the degree of success of a hydraulic fracturing treatment. The choice of proppant becomes then critical to the success of stimulation [1,2].

If the proppant granules cannot withstand the reservoir closure stress imposed by the formation, the granules are compressed together in such a way that they crush, and fines are generated from the proppant and/or reservoir matrix, often leading to significant proppant pack conductivity damage. Proppant crushing leads to a reduction of fracture width, but also the fines produced may block some of the porosity within the proppant pack, leading to a reduction in the conductivity. In fact, proppant fines generation and the resulting migration are considered to be one of the major contributors to poor treatment results and well performance. Fines generated from proppant crush will impose different degrees of damage depending on the ability of the fines to migrate through the proppant pack [3]. The relative size of the fines particles and the pore size in the proppant pack are important factors that will define the degree of damage to the proppant pack due to fines migration. McDaniels and Willingham (1978) reported a conductivity loss between 10% and 25% when mixing 5% of 100 mesh sand with 20/40 mesh sand particl...