Visco-Elastic Surfactant (VES) fluids are polymer-free fluids that generate viscosities suitable for fracturing operations without the use of polymer additives. VES fluids do not form polymer filter-cake, and thus, viscous resistance of the fluid flowing through the rock matrix primarily governs fluid loss. This has historically limited the application to fracturing reservoirs with low permeabilities. A new VES fracturing fluid has been developed for use in high permeability reservoirs and successfully pumped in the Gulf of Mexico. The fluid exhibits enhanced fluid efficiency while still maintaining the high proppant pack conductivity associated with the lack of polymer damage.
In this paper, laboratory test results for the new fluid are presented along with three high-permeability case histories. The estimated reservoir permeabilities were as high as 167 mD and reservoir heights ranged from 30-90 feet. In all cases the entire propped fracture design was successfully placed.