As mature fields produce larger quantities of water, operators and service companies find themselves challenged with disposing flowback and produced water to reduce costs, handling the logistics of getting enough water to hydraulically fracture the well, as well as complying with stricter governmental regulations. As produced water is recycled and used in fracturing applications, each cycle of re-used water returns with a more complex chemical make up than before. Therefore, the usable lifetime of the recycled water is shortened or requires expensive cleaning or dilution with fresh water to make it a viable solvent base for fracturing fluids.

This paper describes the process to properly design fracturing fluids using flowback and produced water. The importance of flowback water analysis is highlighted for optimizing fluid performance downhole. Recent developments in proper selection of fluid additives and viscosifiers for slickwater and crosslinked fluids are discussed. We will describe in detail how the salinity, biological activity, and scaling tendency of these waters can impact fluid performance. Other factors, including organics and suspended solids will be included in the discussion. Laboratory examples will be shown to demonstrate the importance of following a systematic approach. Ultimately, this paper focuses on how to optimize well performance using recycled waters in stimulation applications.

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