High-viscosity friction reducers (HVFRs) have been gaining popularity and increase in use as hydraulic fracturing fluids because HVFRs exhibit numerous advantages such as their ability to carry particles, their promotion of higher fracture conductivity, and their potentially lower cost due to fewer chemicals and equipment on location. However, concerns remain about using HVFRs with produced water containing a high level of TDS (Total Dissolved Solids). This study investigates the influence of the use of produced water on the rheological behavior of HVFRs compared to a traditional linear guar gel. This work also aims to correlate proppant settling velocity behavior with rheological properties of HVFRs vs. linear gel on hydraulic fracturing operations. Comprehensive rheological tests of different HVFRs compared with linear gel were performed including, shear-viscosity and dynamic oscillatory-shear measurements using an advanced rheometer.
The results of these rheological measurements reveal that these polyacrylamide-based HVFR systems achieve a high viscosity profile in fresh water with associated high proppant-carrying capacity. On the other hand, increasing water salinity lowers HVFR’s viscosity, increases proppant settling velocity, and lessens the fluid’s proppant-carrying efficiency. Although in fresh water linear gel showed similar viscosity measurements with HVFR-A, the HVFR-A recorded a lower proppant settling rate because HVFR-A has a higher relaxation time (15.3 s) than the relaxation time of linear gel (1.73 s).
As expected, in high-TDS produced water the relaxation time and elastic behavior decreased for all the fracturing fluids tested. HVFR-B recorded the smallest reduction in relaxation time (about 14%) when tested in produced water vs. fresh water, and the resulting settling velocity increased by 29% from 3.4 cm/s to 4.85 cm/s. For linear gel, its reduction in relaxation time exceeded of 70% when changing water salinity from fresh water to high-TDS brine water. This high reduction of relaxation time leads to over 40% increase in proppant settling velocity from 5.3 cm/s to 8.7 cm/s in fresh water and produced water, respectively. This study confirms that HVFR’s elasticity (vs. it viscosity) properties enable successful proppant transport for a wide range of shear rates while viscosity (vs. elasticity) properties controls proppant settling velocity in linear guar-based fluids. This paper will provide greater understanding of the importance of complete viscoelastic characterization of the HVFRs. The findings provide an in-depth understanding of the behavior of HVFRs under high-TDS brine, which could be used as guidance for developing fracturing fluids and for fracture engineers to design and select better friction reducers.
Geri, Mohammed Ba (Missouri University of Science and Technology) | Ellafi, Abdulaziz (University of North Dakota) | Ofori, Bruce (Missouri University of Science and Technology) | Flori, Ralph (Missouri University of Science and Technology) | Sherif, Huosameddin (Missouri University of Science and Technology)
Recent studies have presented successful case studies of using HVFR fluids in the field. Reported cost reductions from using fewer chemicals and less equipment on the relatively small Marcellus pads when replacing linear gel fluid systems by HVFR. The investigation provided a screening guideline of utilizing HVFRs in terms of its viscosity and concentration. The study notes that in field application the average concentration of HVFRs is 2.75 gpt (gal per 1,000 gal)
Three different scenarios were selected to study fluid type effect using 3D pseudo simulator; as a first scenario; fracture dimensions as a second scenario; the last scenario was proppant type. The first scenario consists of two cases: utilizing HVFR-B as new fracture fluid in 20% of produced water was investigated in scenario I (base case). Comparison between HVFR and linear gel in the Middle Bakken was investigated in Case II of the first scenario. At the second scenario, fracture half-length was studied. Proppant distribution impact by using HVFR in Bakken formation was analyzed as the third scenario. The final scenario investigated the pumping flow rate influence on proppant transport of using HVFR. The concentration of HVFR-B was 3 gpt and the proppant size was 30/50 mesh. The treatment schedule of this project consists of six stages. The proppant concentration was increased gradually from 0.5 ppt to 6 ppt at the later stage.
In the case of using HVFR-B the fracture half-length was approximately 1300 ft while using linear gel created smaller fracture half-length. In contrast, using linear gel makes the fracture growth increase rapidly up to 290 ft as showed. To conclude, using HVFR-B created high fracture length with less fracture height than linear gel. Additionally, in using HVFR-B, the average fracture height was approximately 205 ft while using linear gel created increasing of the fracture growth rapidly up to 360 ft which represent around 43% increasing of the fracture height. In studying the impact of fracture half-length on proppant transport, increasing fracture half-length from 250 ft to 750 ft leads to the fracture growth rapidly up to 205 ft
Studying the impact of proppant size effect on proppant transport, we observed changing fracture conductivity across fracture half-length. Thus, the fracture height increasing with decreasing proppant mesh size. Fracture height increased from 193 ft to 206 ft by changing proppant mesh size from 20/40 to 40/70 mesh. With flow rate impact on proppant transport, it was observed that, the fracture height increases by increasing the pump rate. Utilizing HVFR-B in the fracture treatment provides higher absolute open flow rate (AOF) which is around 2000 BPD. On the other hand, the outcomes of using linear gel has less AOF that about 1600 BPD. Also, Increasing the Xf and proppant mesh size leads to increase the AOF.
This project describes comparison of the successful implementation of utilizing HVFR as an alternative fracturing system to linear gel.