Sustainable high fracture conductivity is a key to successful stimulation. The reduction of hydraulic fracture conductivity due to proppant deformation and crushing is frequently observed. Previous researches are based on laboratory experiments and empirical correlations, which can not fully explain proppant damage in field cases. In this paper, we applied our fully coupled fluid flow and geomechanical model to further understand the proppant pack deformation and crushing.

Parametric studies on wellbore and reservoir pressures, formation properties, and proppant biot constant were performed to understand proppant deformation and crushing in different conditions. Additionally, an analytical model for avoiding proppant crushing was developed for fractured wells.

Through this research, we found fracture conductivity loss due to deformation and crushing are severer than laboratory results. Large deformation and high probability of crushing were observed near wellbore according to the net pressure. Fast flow back (low bottom hole pressure) would generate large proppant crushed zone. Various reservoir properties as pressure gradient, formation stiffness, and matrix permeability were also investigated. Strong proppant is highly recommended for natural fractures, and hydraulic fracture near well bore especially for tight formations. Small chock size (high BHP) is also recommended during early production. Additionally, a simple analytical model is provided, accoding to the parametrical studies, for operating well without breaking proppant pack.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.