Compared with conventional-tubing fracturing, coiled-tubing (CT) fracturing has several advantages. CT fracturing has become an effective stimulation technique for multizone oil and gas wells. It is also an attractive production-enhancement method for multiseam coalbed-methane wells, and wells with bypassed zones. The excessive frictional pressure loss through CT has been a concern in fracturing. The small diameter of the string limits the cross-sectional area open to flow. Furthermore, the tubing curvature causes secondary flow and results in extra flow resistance. This increased frictional pressure loss results in high surface pumping pressure. The maximum possible pump rate and sand concentration, therefore, have to be reduced. To design a CT fracturing job properly, it is essential to predict the frictional pressure loss through the tubing accurately.
This paper presents correlations for the prediction of frictional pressure loss of fracturing slurries in straight tubing and CT. They are developed on the basis of full-scale slurry-flow tests with 1½-in. CT and slurries prepared with 35 lbm/1,000 gal of guar gel. The extensive experiments were conducted at the full-scale CT-flow test facility. The proposed correlations have been verified with the experimental data and actual field CT-fracturing data. Case studies of wells recently fractured are provided to demonstrate the application of the correlations. The correlations will be useful to the CT engineers in their hydraulics design calculations.