Performance of Fracturing Fluid Loss Agents Under Dynamic Conditions
- C.D. Hall Jr. (Dowell Div. Of The Dow Chemical Co.) | F.E. Dollarhide (Dowell Div. Of The Dow Chemical Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- July 1968
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 763 - 769
- 1968. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.1.1 Exploration, Development, Structural Geology, 4.3.4 Scale, 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 2.2.3 Fluid Loss Control, 3.2.3 Hydraulic Fracturing Design, Implementation and Optimisation, 2.7.1 Completion Fluids, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 1.10.1 Drill string components and drilling tools (tubulars, jars, subs, stabilisers, reamers, etc), 5.1 Reservoir Characterisation
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Fluid loss agents for crude oil and for water have been studied in dynamic tests. A treatment using a spearhead with a fluid loss agent followed by plain fluid appears feasible in crude oil, but not in water. An equation for spearhead depletion shows that spurt loss relative to fracture width must be low, if the portion of spearhead fluid in the treatment is to be small.
The presence of colloidal matter in crude oils aids the fluid loss agent. Unlike in kerosene, where flow limited the agent deposition, in crude oils the filter cake continually formed and leak-oil declined. The volume-time relation varied somewhat for different crudes, but was best described by a square root of time function. Spurt loss was inversely proportional to agent concentration. After the fluid loss agent initiated the filter cake, the crude oil colloids built on it effectively. A 2-minute or a 5-minute spearhead with double the normal agent concentration gave the same fluid loss curve as the same concentration did for a 30-minute test.
The agents tested in water gave fluid loss plots on which, for the first few minutes, volume was proportional to the square root of time, but later became proportional to time. For fracture area calculation the customary square root of time function is a satisfactory approximation. Leak-off rates and spurt losses were higher in water systems than in oils. The spurt loss tended to be inversely proportional to concentration. In spearhead tests, the filter cakes were not eroded by water flow. However, the rather high spurt loss values make spearhead treatments impractical for water-based fluids.
The effects of dynamic testing conditions on the performance of fluid loss agents in kerosene have been studied previously. We have extended the work to include crude-oil and water-based fracturing fluids. An understanding has been gained of the mechanisms of formation and functioning of the filter cakes of fluid loss agents. The practical aspects of evaluating performance of agents in relation to fracture area calculations also are considered. The feasibility of using the fluid loss agent in a spearhead stage of the treatment is examined further for both types of fluids.
The dynamic fluid loss tests were performed in an apparatus similar to the high-pressure apparatus described in a previous publication. A fracturing fluid was circulated over a rock surface located in a closed pressurized loop. The fluid flowed axially over the cylindrical surface of a core 2 in. in diameter X 3.5 in. long, mounted (with the flat ends sealed off) in a pipe, with 0.1 17 in. annular clearance. The filtrate was collected in a central hole in the core and led through valves to graduated cylinders. Provision was made for changing quickly the circulating fluid during the test (spearhead runs) without interrupting the filtration pressure.
The only modifications were to add heating tapes and water jackets for the tests with crude oils, all conducted at 150F, and to change all parts exposed to the test fluid to stainless steel for the tests with water-based fluids. The latter tests were made at room temperature, 80F.
Three crude oils were tested. A mixed crude, obtained from a local refinery, contained a considerable amount of light ends. For safety reasons, it was stripped to 250F vapor temperature before use in the fluid loss tests. The other two oils were used as obtained from lease tanks. One was a greenish-brown, 37 deg. API paraffinic crude, and the other was a black, 32 deg. API asphaltic crude. The fluid loss agent for oil, here designated for brevity as Agent A, was Adomite Mark II*, a granular solid commercial agent, the same as previously tested in kerosene.
Three different compositions of fluid loss agents were tested in Tulsa tap water. Agent B was Adomite Aqua*, a solid commercial fluid loss agent, comprising clays and hydrophilic gums principally derived from starch. Agent C was a mixture of three parts of Agent B with two parts of silica flour. Agent D was Dowell J137, a mixture of guar gum and silica flour.
The test cores were cut from contiguous blocks of Berea or Bandera sandstones. For the oil tests, the cores were oven dried, evacuated, saturated with kerosene, and the kerosene permeability was measured. The cores used with the water-based fluids were pretreated by saturating with 3 percent calcium chloride solution to minimize permeability damage by the fresh water due to clay migration.
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