Maximizing Production from Shale Reservoir by Using Micro-Sized Proppants

Lau, Hon Chung (National University of Singapore) | Radhamani, Adiyodi Veettil (National University of Singapore) | Ramakrishna, Seeram (National University of Singapore)


This paper describes the interaction between hydraulic fractures and the multi-porosity system of matrix porosity and natural fracture porosity in shale reservoirs. During the process of hydraulic fracturing, a complex fracture network consisting of primary and secondary hydraulic fractures as well as natural fractures is created. It is postulated that only shale porosities connected with this network will contribute to hydrocarbon production. Furthermore, we propose a way to maximise well productivity by injecting microsized proppants that are less than 150 μm (100 mesh) into the natural fractures and secondary hydraulic fractures to prevent them from closing and thereby increasing the stimulated reservoir volume. The size of the micro-sized proppant should be designed to be between one-seventh and one-third the aperture size of the natural fractures. In addition, various materials for micro-sized proppants are proposed and discussed. Of these, hollow glass microsphere shows more promise because of its light density and track record of being used as an additive material in the oilfield. Although limited laboratory experiments and field tests have shown encouraging results of using micro-sized proppants to enhance the productivity of Barnett shale, more research is warranted to optimize the use of these micro-sized proppants in production enhancement in various shale formations.

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