Large volumes of treatment fluid are required to contact an adequate surface area of shale formations for the economic production of hydrocarbons. These large-volume fracturing treatments are accomplished by pumping at very high down-hole rates to create adequate fracture volume and for sufficient proppant transportation. Polyacrylamide-based friction reducers (FR) are implemented to minimize the friction in the wellbore in shale/tight reservoirs for stimulation and drilling processes. They reduce turbulence and decrease friction losses. However, these polyacrylamide-based friction reducers are limited by poor water quality tolerance, which negatively affects proppant carrying capacity.

This work aims to introduce a novel formula for a green friction reducer, which will serve to both decrease costs and enhance retained conductivity. The new technology described in this paper is used to produce a friction reducer that helps to achieve the goals of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standards. Similar to guar gum, the new friction reducer can be utilized as a linear gel, or it can be crosslinked to enhance its viscosity, making it ideal for proppant transportation and the protection of surface equipment. It is worth noting that the presence of iron in water can have an adverse effect on the rheology and friction of both conventional and high viscosity friction reducers (HVFR).

The research findings demonstrate the proposed product's effectiveness, even in water containing exceptionally high concentrations of ferric iron (Fe+3). The study presents the results of employing a new friction-reducing polysaccharide that achieves comparable friction reduction to that of a polyacrylamide friction reducer while also enabling proppant suspension, akin to a crosslinked guar system. This innovative system is versatile and can be used with both fresh and saline water with high concentration of divalent and trivalent metal ions. This feature allows the operator to use any water source, thereby streamlining water analysis procedures before commencing a frac job. Results also show that the new product can produce less nitrogen compared to synthetic polymers which means that it can achieve ESG standards. The novel FR gives excellent retained permeability on cores when compared to guar gum and its derivatives.

Experimental outcomes of this work also show that the new formulation can be broken by both oxidizing and enzyme breakers. Results show that the new friction reducer is biodegradable and environmentally friendly. Moreover, the use of the novel product will decrease the production of CO2 as compared to conventional FRs.

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