Abstract:

Laboratory studies indicate that proppants are susceptible to proppant diagenesis, which can result in decreased proppant strength, fines generation, and, consequently, reduced fracture conductivity. In the laboratory, proppant diagenesis is studied by subjecting a mixture of ceramic bauxitic proppant, formation, and fluid to temperature and stress for a significant duration of time and then observing the effect of these parameters on proppant strength and conductivity. The API/ISO crush test is cumbersome when adopted to characterize proppant strength post-diagenesis because it requires separation of proppant from the tested proppant-formation mixture. An alternative statistical method is to conduct single grain crush tests pre- and post-diagenesis for a set of proppants and perform Weibull analysis on the test results. Advantages of this method include simplicity and ease of use, small sample quantity requirement, and applicability to all proppant types (including flowback proppant samples). In the present work, single grain and API/ISO crush tests were performed on two conditions for the proppants—virgin proppants and those that have undergone some degree of diagenesis. The correlation between the results obtained from the two test procedures was investigated. This investigation provides insights into the suitability of the single grain crush test as a method for characterizing the strength of proppants before and after having undergone diagenesis.

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