Currently, there are few available publications regarding the application of nanotechnology in fluid loss control; hence, this technology needs more exploration. During hydraulic fracturing, fracture conductivity damage and other problems associated with excessive leak-off rate can be significantly curtailed by utilizing nano-fluid systems that evolve from further research studies.

An experimental study is presented on the application of nanotechnology on filtration properties of surfactant-based fluids (SBF), polymeric fluids, and SBF-polymeric fluid blends. The concentration of SBF is 5%, while that of polymeric fluids is 33 lb/Mgal guar. Besides, both fluids contained 4% potassium chloride (KCl). Additionally, Blend-A and Blend-B were prepared by mixing SBF and polymeric fluids in the ratio of 75/25% vol. and 25/75% vol. respectively. Nano-fluids were prepared by adding 20 nm silica nanoparticles, at concentrations of 0.058, 0.24, and 0.4% wt., to the clean fluids. Filtration tests were conducted with a wall mount filter press, and at ambient temperature and 100 psi differential pressure.

Excellent results were displayed with surfactant-based nano-fluids and Blend-A nano-fluids, but their outcome at 0.24 and 0.4% wt. respectively is slightly better. Polymeric nano-fluids and Blend-B nano-fluids revealed very good results, with better outcome at 0.24 and 0.058% wt. respectively. A trial run was made with a commercially available fluid loss additive (polyanionic cellulose, PAC) in polymeric fluids at the same nanoparticle concentrations; the result confirmed that nanosilica facilitates the achievement of a superior filtration property. Furthermore, Blend-A nano-fluid, at 0.058% wt., is selected as the best based on performance evaluation and economic analysis. In conclusion, the selected Blend-A nano-fluid at 0.058% wt. was optimized at lower nanoparticle concentrations (0.02, 0.01 and 0.002% wt.) in order to probe further into its filtration performance. Interestingly, using Blend-A nano-fluid at 0.002% wt., as regards the initial recommendation of 0.058% wt., reduces the cost of nanoparticles required for preparing 1 barrel of this fluid by 96.6%. Therefore, Blend-A nano-fluid is recommended for use at nanoparticles concentration of 0.002% wt.

The application of Blend-A nano-fluid will promote fluid economy, substantially reduce fluid loss and fracture conductivity damage, and enhance production from unconventional reservoirs.

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