The use of viscosity-building friction reducers (VFR) as fracturing fluids is increasing in the industry today (Motiee et al. 2016; Sanders, et al. 2016; Al-Muntasheri, et al. 2014, Holtsclaw, et al. 2010). In addition to providing pipe friction reduction during fracturing treatments, these systems develop elevated viscosity over traditional slickwater fluids to provide several advantages described herein. Additionally, using advances made in polymer chemistry such as fit for purpose monomer structures and effective breakers, VFR fluids exhibit high regain conductivities compared to linear and crosslinked gels and are being used as a direct replacement for these conventional guar-based systems.

The polyacrylamide-based VFR system described in this paper has been used on over 10,000 stages in multiple basins since 2014. Some of the potential advantages VFR fluids offer include lower cost, reduced water requirements compared to conventional slickwater treatments, fewer chemicals and equipment on location, on-the-fly design change flexibility, and high fracture conductivities. This paper will present three case histories from projects performed recently to demonstrate these advantages.

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