A new fracturing process using a high strength bauxite as the proppant has been developed which generates long-lasting, high conductivity fractures in deep, hard, high stress formations. No unusual difficulties have been experienced in handling and pumping the proppant. Good production increases have been obtained in most of the wells treated with the new process.

The process is particularly applicable to deep reservoirs. Detailed economic analyses, made with a reservoir simulator and using reservoir and economic parameters for a deep, tight, East Texas area gas well, show that large economic benefits can be expected from use of the process.


The use of high-strength bauxite as the proppant in hydraulic fracturing was reported proppant in hydraulic fracturing was reported at the Fall Meeting of SPE in 1976. The purposes of this paper are to give an updated purposes of this paper are to give an updated report on usage of the material in Exxon USA wells and to discuss an economic analysis that can be used to evaluate the usage of an improved propping material. propping material. Many deep wells will require hydraulic fracturing treatments in order to produce at economic rates. Other wells can be greatly improved economically by a successful hydraulic fracturing treatment. To achieve successful fracturing results, a material having properties superior to sand is needed to prop open the hydraulic fractures created at the high earth stresses present in deep wells. Silica sand, the commonly used propping material, tends to crush in closure stresses encountered in deep formations, producing fine particles or fragments that can drastically reduce fluid conductivity of the propped fracture. This crushing of the sand leads to lower productivity of the well.

The problem of finding a proppant material that will withstand high stress without excessive crushing has been the subject of research in the oil industry for a number of years. Exxon Production Research Company (EPR) worked for several years on this problem. A wide variety of materials were tested in the laboratory, following the development of equipment suitable for simulating reservoir conditions.

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