Special Edition 2010

FracZone - Proppant Quality

November 2010

What you see may not be what you get! The rapid increase the last few years in horizontal drilling and multi-stage hydraulic fracturing has radically changed the North America energy supply equation for many years to come. 4,000,000 lb (1,814 metric ton) frac jobs are now the rule, not the exception, in many areas. With the industry transition to waterfracs, the cost of a hydraulic fracturing treatment today consists primarily of the pumping service and proppant. The spotlight on proppants has never been as important as it is today. Yet unfortunately, there is a lot of misunderstanding around proppants and in particular proppant quality

Proppant quality can be defined a number of ways, however the bottom line is this…. is the proppant delivered to your well site what you specified in your fracture treatment design? Many times it may not be! This variance from the expected performance specifications can severely impact post treatment well production.

How can this be?  First, there are no industry standards or requirements for published proppant conductivity data to be tested under the same conditions. Second, the proppant you receive on location may not be representative of the published conductivity data you utilized for your fracture design. We have several cases where operators or service companies have tested proppant delivered to location and found a wide (50% or more) difference between the published conductivity data and the actual standard baseline conductivity data.

At Momentive, we focus intensely on quality. First, we use a special sieve substrate for our resin coated proppants, not just a standard frac sand or ceramic. Second, all our published data is run under the baseline conductivity test which is much more stringent than other tests. Third, we have numerous quality assurance checks in our manufacturing process to insure we deliver a quality proppant to location every load.

Finally, as you know, proppant selection is much more than just picking conductivity charts. The critical proppant performance factors play a huge role in proppant performance downhole. Besides proppant fines, proppant cyclic stress, proppant flowback and pack rearrangement, proppant embedment, and scaling, Momentive is now introducing a new factor, proppant quality. Watch for more on this in the coming months.

To learn more about proppant conductivity testing, download our white paper “Using Long-Term Conductivity Tests to Differentiate Proppants.” Contact one of our representatives to learn more about Momentive’s focus on proppant quality. 

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