Elastic Friction Reducer Facilitates Proppant Transport and FR Residual Analysis Provides Insight into Potential Formation Damage

Xu, Liang (Halliburton) | Ogle, James (Halliburton) | Collier, Todd (Halliburton) | French, Jeremy (Halliburton) | Nichols, Rome (Le Norman Operating)


High viscosity friction reducers (HVFRs) are an important component of slickwater hydraulic fracturing applications. To continue to treat multiple clusters effectively within longer laterals, even for stages near the toe area, a high molecular weight HVFR polymer, such as polyacrylamide, is commonly used to overcome pipe friction at 1 gal/Mgal or lower. To carry proppant into fractures, it is commonly assumed that the higher viscosity the HVFR yields, the better the proppant transport, necessitating higher HVFR concentrations than 1 gal/Mgal. However, a field study within the Anadarko Basin demonstrates that viscosity is not necessarily the best indicator of how efficiently HVFRs carry proppant. Instead, HVFR elasticity might play a more important role during proppant transport. Secondly, HVFRs concentration of 1 gal/Mgal or higher could potentially plug the proppant pack or form a filter cake on the rock surface, causing formation damage. Although previous laboratory methods to determine potential formation damage exist, results are difficult to correlate with field applications; hence, the conclusions remain elusive. A relatively new analysis procedure yielding improved assessments of residual HVFR concentrations for both flowback and produced waters, which aid understanding potential formation damage after hydraulic fracturing, is discussed.