This paper describes the laboratory development and field evaluation of a proppant surface-modification agent (SMA) that increases fracture-conductivity and reduces proppant flowback after fracture stimulation treatments, even in wells with high production rates. This SMA allows proppant packs to withstand three- to five-fold the critical flow velocity required to erode a proppant pack. Laboratory tests indicate that SMA will improve the vertical distribution of proppant by hindering settling. Typically, SMA provides a 15% to 30% increase in proppant-pack porosity. During tests with SMA, fines resulting from proppant crushing and formation fracturing adhered to the treated pack and did not migrate or block pore throats. Fracturing-fluid cleanup was significantly improved when proppant was treated with SMA.
Several field tests were performed successfully with SMA, including fracture-stimulation treatments in the Middle East, where proppant packs were subjected to extremely high flow rates. In all of these tests, proppant flowback was reduced, and well productivity was enhanced. The paper includes designs and results for some of these field tests.