Fracturing fluids are normally injected at high rates and pressures to break the reservoir rock, where proppants ideally are suspended during fluid injection. High strength ceramic proppants are used to overcome hash environments (i.e., high closure stress and temperatures). Advancements in proppant manufacturing further added several characteristics to the proppants, such as self-suspending, multi-phase flow enhancer, and multifactional proppants. The objectives of this study were to compare the performance of HSP and ULW ceramic proppants though proppant characterization, wettability measurements, settling behavior, acid solubility, proppant pack conductivity, and proppant crush resistance.

Fracture cell was used to measure the proppant pack conductivity. Proppant crush resistance was conducted using hydraulic uni-axial loading frame. XRD and XRF were used to characterize proppant samples. Solubility in HCl solutions was examined. Elemental analysis was conducted using ICP. Light transmission and backscattering technique was used to compare the settling behavior of proppant samples. Drop Shape Analyzer was used to measure the contact angle on the surface of proppant samples.

The highest performance proppant among the five-examined proppants was proppant P-1. This was based on the conductivity values obtained, the correlation between conductivity and fines generated, settling behavior, and solubility in HCl acids. Proppant P-5 exhibited non-wetted properties for both water and condensate fluids. ULW proppants (i.e., P-7 and P-8) showed significantly improved suspension properties over the examined HSP proppants. The solubility of the HSP proppants in HCl acid depended on the acid concentration, soaking time, surface area. The solubilities obtained was up to 10 wt% in concentrated HCl acids. High concentrations of Fe were observed in concentrated acid solution (i.e. ~1800 mg/l). Proppant pack conductivity values for examined proppants were relatively similar except for proppants P-3 and P-5.A linear correlation was found between wt% of fines generated and proppant pack conductivity.

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