Pushing the Thermal Stability Limits of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids

Almubarak, Tariq (Texas A&M University) | Li, Leiming (Aramco Services Company) | Nasr-El-Din, Hisham (Texas A&M University) | Ng, Jun Hong (Texas A&M University) | Sokhanvarian, Khatere (Sasol Chemical) | Alkhaldi, Mohammed (Saudi Aramco) | Almubarak, Sama (Saudi Aramco)

OnePetro 

Abstract

In order to satisfy the demand for oil and gas, it becomes increasingly necessary to produce from formations that are deeper, have low permeability, and higher temperature. Conventionally, hydraulic fracturing fluids make use of viscosifiers such as guar and its derivatives to generate the rheological properties required during the fracturing process. However, to withstand the high-temperature environments, higher loadings of polymer is required. This leads to an increase in polymer and additive concentrations. Most importantly, these higher loading fluids do not break completely, and generate residual polymer fragments that can plug the formation and reduce fracture conductivity significantly.

This work builds on previous work which introduced a new hybrid dual polymer hydraulic fracturing fluid that was developed for high-temperature applications. The fluid consists of a guar derivative and a polyacrylamide-based synthetic polymer. Compared to conventional fracturing fluids, this new system is easily hydrated, requires less additives, can be mixed on the fly, and is capable of maintaining excellent rheological performance at low polymer loadings. In this work, the fluid is further optimized to withstand even higher temperatures up to 400°F.

Total polymer loadings of 30 lb/1,000 gal and 40 lb/1,000 gal dual polymer fracturing fluid were tested in this work and were prepared in the ratio of 1:1 and 1:2 (CMHPG: Synthetic). They were then crosslinked with a metallic crosslinker and placed in a HPHT rheometer to measure the viscosity between 200 and 400°F. After observing the failure temperature of the mixtures, additives such as buffers, crosslinking delayers, and oxygen scavengers were added and tested at temperatures above that point. The type of crosslinker used was also varied to observe the effects of the rate of release of the metallic crosslinker on thermal stability.

The results indicate that the 1:2 (CMHPG: Synthetic) mixture performed better at temperatures exceeding 330°F than the 1:1 mixture. The failure point of both mixtures was observed to be 350°F for the latter while the former failed at 370°F. The addition of a crosslinker that allowed a more controllable release was observed to improve the thermal stability of the fluid mixture above 370°F by increasing the polymer's shear tolerance. The addition of additives to the mixture was shown to improve the thermal stability of the solution to varying degrees. Of the three additives, the most significant enhancement came from the addition of oxygen scavengers while the least was from the buffer solution.