This paper presents methods, materials, and equipment that can be used to mix and apply viscous proppant-carrying fluids, on-the-fly, to support hydraulic fracturing processes using a dry-polymer blender. This dry-polymer blending system (DPBS) replaces the liquid-gel concentrate (LGC) mixing method, which requires premixing gel-producing powders with a hydrocarbon carrier fluid.

The equipment and methods described have contributed to a cleaner environment without imposing any cost increases or wellsite expansion on the operating company. The on-the-fly dry-gel blending process is compatible with existing fracturing technology, and has helped enable environmentally responsible technology development.

The fracturing fluid product used in this process is based on dry powders and does not contain hydrocarbon carrier fluids. Dry-polymer blending enables the use of new gel systems that work well in produced waters. This type of blending can be applied in any hydraulic fracturing operation requiring preparation, blending, and pumping of a viscous fluid to suspend proppant for transport to created fractures. The DPBS uses a trailer with a weigh system and continuous viscosity monitoring to help ensure job quality. Handling of the gel powder can be accomplished without dusting.

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