Selecting the right proppant for hydraulic fracturing combines an economic evaluation of well performance which then quantifies performance materials under appropriate application conditions. Since proppant experiences variable reservoir closure stress over the life of a hydraulically fractured well, mechanical integrity and quality are key factors dominating proppant performance and therefore production performance. However, proppant selection criteria and day to day proppant quality control analysis presently involves laboratory testing that only partially simulates fracture application conditions as the vast shale market dominates the hydraulic fracturing market today. This analysis expresses proppant performance in terms such as crush resistance which may seem ambiguous to field personnel as there is no straightforward correlation to an actual well performance metric. Here the presented work compares laboratory measured proppant performance to well performance in the Williston basin for different proppant types in order to establish such correlation.
An investigation of the performance of a group of horizontal wells located in the Williston basin compares the normalized production performance of both ceramic proppants and white sand. The production analysis performed using rate transient analysis software compares retained fracture half lengths, cumulative oil production and oil production rate associated with these wells.
This study then compares laboratory measured performance of ceramic proppant to white sand, under closure stress conditions comparable to those seen in the Williston basin. Initial proppant mechanical performance is measured using the API specified procedure. Then, using the same apparatus, mechanical degradation rate is measured as a function of stress application time. Finally, the production for the normalized oil production is then correlated to the laboratory measured mechanical degradation rate of both ceramic proppant and white sand to ascertain the time projected to achieve ceramic proppant return on investment.
Authors: Craig Wilcox (Saint-Gobain Proppants), Tihana Fuss (Saint-Gobain Proppants), Jingyu Shi (Saint-Gobain Proppants), Matthew Thompson (Saint-Gobain Proppants), Raphael Herskovits (Saint-Gobain Proppants)
Paper Number: URTEC-2154615-MS