Long-Term Hydrothermal Proppant Performance
- Neelam Raysoni (Halliburton) | Jim Weaver (Halliburton)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Production & Operations
- Publication Date
- August 2013
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 414 - 426
- 2013. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.3.4 Scale, 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant)
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- 607 since 2007
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The hydrothermal degradation of alumina-based proppants, which can lead tosignificant loss of fracture conductivity, has been the topic of recent papers.Most of these studies were necessarily compromised either by being performed oneither too short of a time scale to produce geochemical effects or by usingunrealistic temperature conditions to accelerate the geochemical reactions.Those studies, however, provided insight that geochemical reactions likelyoccur during production from hydraulically generated fractures and gaveevidence of possible long-term proppant instability.
This paper presents proppant-pack-permeability and proppant-crush-strengthdata collected from a selection of hydrothermal tests performed in sealed testcells packed with proppant and formation material, with no flow and nomechanical closure stress. Long-term proppant performance was determined byevaluating the proppant after 0, 15, 45, 90, and 180 days of hydrothermalexposure at 300 and 450°F, resulting in verification that proppants degradecontinuously with time at all temperatures. A typical long-termproppant-testing result was 80% loss in proppant-pack permeability and 40% lossin proppant crush strength, with just 180-days exposure at 300°F at typicalreservoir pH. These tests were performed both with and without formationmaterial present to demonstrate the impact of reservoir/proppant compatibility.Scanning-electron-microscope (SEM) and energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX)spectroscopy analyses verified that dynamic molecular rearrangement occurs overthe entire temperature range, though at an accelerated rate as temperatureincreased. Extensive effort was made to quantify both the accuracy andrepeatability of testing procedures used in this study and will be presented.This involves measurement of pack permeability using water before and afterhydrothermal exposure, and single-proppant-grain crush-strength determinationusing Weibull statistical analyses.
This paper presents substantial data to support the importance of proppantcompatibility when selecting the best proppant for long-term fractureconductivity. It also suggests that methods in addition to American PetroleumInstitute (API) crush and conductivity procedures need to be developed andimplemented to rank proppant performance properly.
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