In shale formations, operators are constantly seeking new technologies to improve proppant transport and conductivity in order to boost production. A novel technique known as surface modified proppant (SMP) has been pumped in more than a dozen wells in the United States, with proven results of increased production. This paper demonstrates and analyzes a case study for a Marcellus shale development where two wells are presented. Well A applied the SMP technique while the offset, Well B, was stimulated without the technology. After three years, Well A yielded an 18% increase in normalized cumulative gas production over the offset Well B.

In presenting the benefits of this technique, the paper provides a brief overview of the development of the conductivity enhancer; the case study; 3D reservoir and hydraulic fracturing simulator selection; model setup and simulation results. SMP is a chemical additive that, when pumped, creates a buoyancy effect of proppant particles upon entering the fracture network. This dynamic SMP application also propels proppant transportation, prevents proppant settling and enhances the fracture network conductivity by increasing the volume by which sand inhabits the fracture network. Increasing the proppant pack height enables deeper penetration into the fracture network, allowing for an increase in proppant distribution and ultimately enhancing the stimulated rock volume (SRV). We have been able to prove the application in both the lab and field scale tests. The impact of the SMP proppant is investigated by performing numerical simulations of hydraulic fracturing and subsequent production.

Along with clear results showing better proppant placement using the simulator with the conducted study, we further explain the completion effectiveness. We outline advantages and the ease of pumping the SMP, including design optimization, thus making this technology cost beneficial.

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