The objectives of this investigation were to perform a rock mechanical study to evaluate long term stability of Resin-Coated Proppant (RCP), combined with various additives currently being used in screenless propped hydraulic fracturing completions in the sandstone formations. Thereby providing a tool for the industry to know exactly the duration of the shut-in time before putting a well back onto production.

A new experimental method was developed to monitor the curing process of RCP as temperature increases. The velocity of both shear and compressional waves were being monitored as a function of temperature, while the tested RCP sample was being housed in a pressurized vessel. The pressurized vessel was subjected to a variable temperature profile to mimic the recovery of the reservoir temperature following a propped hydraulic fracturing treatment. The placed proppant should attain an optimum consolidation to minimize the potential for proppant flow back. The study has been performed on various types of RCP samples under a range of reservoir conditions. The role of closure stress, temperature, curing time and carrier fluids in attaining a maximum strength of RCP following a propped hydraulic fracturing treatment have been investigated. Also, the Unconfined Compressive Strength (UCS) of various types of RCP have been measured.

The testing methods currently practiced in the industry to qualify proppant for field applications are based on physical characterization of several parameters such as the specific gravity of proppant, absolute volume, solubility, roundness, sphericity and bulk density. The sieve analysis, compressive strength, and API crush testing are also measured and reported. The API Recommended Practices; API RP56, API RP58 and API RP60 are the main procedures used to test the suitability of proppants for hydraulic fracturing treatment. However, there is no published API testing method for RCP; therefore this study introduces a new testing procedure, using acoustic velocity as a function of temperature and compressive strength as a function of time; to qualify a given RCP for a particular reservoir of known stress and temperature.

The final outcome of this study is to establish a functional procedure for such measurements, in order to maximize the success of a propped hydraulic fracturing treatment and minimize the occurrence of flow back incidents.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.