The Upper Devonian play within Pennsylvania has been the predominant focus of most operators for many years. These sandstone and siltstone formations are regularly hydraulically fractured with a variety of fluids ranging from high concentration crosslinks, linear gels, polyacrylamide slick waters and even treated fresh water. These fluids, although economical, lack quality and can cause severe damage during the stimulation process. Whether it is leaving behind heavy residual damage or not supplying enough viscosity to carry proppant deep into the created fracture, these fluids do not offer the advantages of an all-inclusive system.

Recently, with the development of visco-elastic surfactants (VES's), a standalone, total package fluid is available at an economical cost. VES's offer high quality with no polymers, giving us a completely clean fluid without residual damage. They can be designed to supply a wide range of viscosities with excellent carrying properties to help ensure optimal proppant placement. With the fluid being surfactant based it is a good foaming agent, which provides exceptional water recovery and strong flowbacks.

Best of all, these fluids are all-inclusive, removing the need for additional additives. It consists of one on-the-fly additive that is compatible with extremely poor quality water that may have been reused. There is no need for additional clay controls, biocides, surfactants or iron controls, but in extreme cases, their additions do not create any compatibility issues. This allows VES's to deliver a high quality system at a competitive price.

This paper will take an in depth look at visco-elastic surfactants and their current applications in the Upper Devonian throughout Pennsylvania. It will highlight the treatment design, operational execution and production results from a variety of wells during the initial application of VES fluids.

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