Throughout fracturing treatment, millions of gallons of water are injected, but commonly less than 50% is recovered after stimulation. This study was constructed to evaluate the impact of the fracturing additives on the fluid flowback and fluid loss during hydraulic fracturing. Different pad fluids types were considered including; friction reducer fluid, friction reducer with a non-ionic surfactant fluid and 3 wt% HCl acid.
Flooding experiments were conducted for core samples from the Eagle Ford outcrop to measure the brine permeability, time of breakthrough and water relative permeability. The measurements were performed for intact samples and also after flooding the samples with the fracturing fluids. A simulation sector modeling for a hydraulically fractured vertical well in the shale formation was constructed to investigate the effect of the fracturing additives on the fluid flowback and fluid loss during hydraulic fracturing. A sensitivity analysis was considered to study the effect of the formation capillary pressure and reservoir pressure on the fluid flowback and fluid loss due to counter-current capillary imbibition.
The study results showed that the fluid saturation in the near fracture face shale matrix is highly reduced by the effect of the high capillary pressure. Therefore, the fluid had not flow back from the near fracture face matrix. Moreover, adding a non-ionic surfactant to the friction reducer pad fluid or using 3 wt% HCl increased the fluid loss during pumping and the fluid imbibition during shut-in, flowback, and production. Therefore, the dilute HCl acid and small well shut-in times are recommended when no flowback occurs from the near fracture face matrix due to low fluid saturation.
The fluid loss from the near fracture face region due to counter-current capillary imbibition reduced the effect of the fluid saturation on the gas production. However, the high fluid saturation and the polymer adsorption may cause water blocks. Thus, reducing the gas production or leading to a complete gas block.
For shales with moderate capillary pressure, a flowback from the near fracture face matrix has occurred. Hence, the friction reducer with a non-ionic surfactant fluid and 3 wt% HCl enhanced both of the fluid loss due to counter-current capillary imbibition and the fluid flowback. However, a non-ionic surfactant and long shut-in time are recommended for the hydraulic fracturing. Shales with low reservoir pressure had less fluid flowback and more fluid loss. To minimize the fluid loss during pumping and to overcome the water block problem, it is recommended to use a friction reducer fluid in the pad stage while injecting a non-ionic surfactant or dilute acid during the subsequent fracturing steps.