Friction reducer (FR) performance has been enhanced by adding a FR booster in both fresh water and up to 100% high total dissolved solids (TDS) produced water during hydraulic fracturing applications. However, it is not well understood how the boosters actually increase FR performance during pumping and the effects they have on surface treating pressure and proppant transport. Both laboratory results and field studies of FR and boosters are discussed. Additionally, it was observed that tailored booster chemistry appears to increase FR viscosity significantly, thereby helping ensure better proppant transport during fracturing.

Flow loop and viscosity tests were conducted to demonstrate the benefits of using a booster and the results were analyzed to understand the potential mechanisms that dictate the observed phenomena. Laboratory results suggest that the FR booster enables rapid hydration and inversion of FRs, which typically results in decreased treating pressure to approximately 800 psi compared to FRs without boosters. This pressure decrease during pumping for a single fracture stage has been frequently observed in several shale plays, such as the Wolfcamp, the STACK/SCOOP, and the Marcellus/Utica. A lower FR concentration can be used to transport proppant because the booster helps reach the same or higher viscosity. Case studies are discussed to further understand the synergy between FRs and boosters.

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