Abstract

Fresh water is being extensively used for fracturing operations to stimulate both gas and oil shale wells. Once used for this purpose, the water is either disposed of, or needs extensive treatment to recondition it for further fracturing operations. Producers in the Horn River Basin have access to a huge underground non-potable aquifer that is deeper than the fresh water zones and shallower than the shale gas wells that require fracture treatment for stimulation. The question is, how to use this water resource to economically fracture stimulate the shale gas wells?

Extensive testing on the water quality of the Debolt aquifer indicated that the Debolt water remains stable if kept above the bubble point pressure, but existing positive displacement frac pumps cannot pump this water in its stable and untreated condition. However, a centrifugal pump can pump this water in its stable and untreated condition, but current designs are for 42 MPa maximum operating pressures, which are too low for use in shale well fracturing operations. A newly developed 69 MPa High Pressure Horizontal Pumping System (HPHPS) was designed and tested to provide a pump capable of utilizing raw Debolt water as a fracture fluid.

This paper will discuss the use of an HPS (Horizontal Pumping System) pump, designed to provide high pressures of up to 69 MPa, enabling this pump to be used as a High Pressure Horizontal Pumping System (HPHPS) frac pump.

This pump was successfully used in the Horn River Basin of North Eastern British Columbia to pump Debolt source water (a saline, sour and gassy aquifer), untreated during fracturing operations in 2010 and again in 2011. Additional testing of this prototype HPHPS frac pump is being conducted during the 2012 frac campaign. This paper will discuss the field operating procedures and performance of this style of pump during this large frac campaign.

Usage of an HPHPS frac pump also enables a Pressurized Frac On Demand (PFOD) system to be used to fully exploit the use of this method for water supply to a frac system.

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