Objective/Scope: The initial goal of the project was to investigate the use of dry polyacrylamide (PAM) friction reducers as a replacement for more typical Liquid emulsion Friction Reducers (LFR) to save cost and simplify operations. In addition to using dry PAM as a slick water friction-reducing agent, the project team expanded the scope to include the idea of using it as a proppant carrier and viscosifier, a function generally done with a gel-based system. From an operating perspective, eliminating the need to switch between a slick water system and a gel-based system is attractive.
Methods, Procedures, Process: Examination of rheological properties at various temperature and salt concentrations provided background data for field trials. Friction flow loop testing provided indications of performance and compatibility. Comparative field trials of liquid vs. pre-hydrated dry friction reducers determined the benefits and best operating conditions for use of Dry Friction Reducer (DFR). Finally, a case study comparison of liquid vs. dry friction reducer is presented.
Results, Observations, Conclusions: The pre-hydrated dry friction reducers reduced fracturing pressures by more than 1,000 psi at equivalent polymer loadings, substantially lowering costs. Dry PAM friction reducers were able to convey sand concentrations of over 5 ppt (pounds per thousand gallons) and could likely conduct higher concentrations.
Novel/Additive information: The simplicity of utilizing a single polymer system to conduct slick water operations as well as increased rheology applications provides ease, convenience, increased versatility, and savings to the Exploration and Production (E&P) operator.