Sand and man-made ceramics are the two primary types of proppants the hydraulic fracturing industry employs. Selecting the right proppant for a well focuses on the mechanical stability of proppants under down hole (application) conditions which then ensures proppant is able to deliver desired fracture conductivity. The chemical stability of proppants is also an important selection factor. All types of proppants are typically very chemically robust and do not interact with fracturing or producing fluids. However, certain types of acids or producing fluids can damage proppant integrity and compromise their performance. This is particularly important consideration during selection of ceramic proppants as they are typically the proppant of choice for deepest wells with harshest corrosion condition. Knowing when an issue might occur takes a deep look into the structure of proppants, their affinity towards certain acids and application conditions.
Author: Tihana Fuss (Saint-Gobain Proppants)