Migration of formation fines has been shown to cause production decline in many wells. Despite the availability of new downhole tools for use in well stimulation and completion, the ability to sustain desired production levels is often plagued with fines migration problems. This dilemma requires appropriate treatment to mitigate fines migration at its source. This paper describes the use of an ultra-thin tackifying agent (UTTA) for stabilizing fines in high rate producing or injecting wells. This UTTA is applied as part of an initial prepad in fracturing or gravel-packing operations, a remedial treatment, or as a post-treatment following acid fracturing or matrix acidizing treatments. The primary purpose of UTTA application is to immobilize formation fines so that they will not detach, migrate with flowing fluids, plug the pore channels, and reduce the flow path permeability.

Results of laboratory testing indicate that the UTTA system is applicable to most types of formation fines, including coals, sandstones, and carbonates. Once injected into the formation matrix or proppant pack, the UTTA forms a thin film on formation surfaces, encapsulating the fines. Capillary action helps pull the tackifier into the contact points, fixing the particulate in place without plugging the pore throat. The UTTA does not require a shut-in time after its application. The thin film tackifier does not harden, but remains flexible, enhancing the ability of a formation to withstand stress cycling and allowing the formation to handle high shear stress during high flow rates.

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