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Guide: Dr.Keka Ojha Associate Professor

Bhupendra Pal Singh 2009JE0017 7th SEMESTER


First and foremost, I would like to thank Dr. A K Pathak, Head of Department, Petroleum Engineering, ISM Dhanbad, for giving me a great opportunity to have a project under Petroleum Engineering Department and experience the practical and analytical knowledge of petroleum sector which is far beyond the limits of theoretical lectures. The acknowledgement would be incomplete if I dont thank my Guide Dr. Keka Ojha, Associate professor who guided me in this project. Finally, yet importantly, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to batch mates for their help and moral encouragement for successful work of this project.


1. Introduction 2. Literature survey and current status 3. Summary of work done in Monsoon Semester 4. Experimental and Methods 5. Results and Discussion 6. Conclusion 7. References

SL. NO 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 FIGURE CONTENT PAGE NO. 13 15 17 22 24 24 25 26 35 37

Fractured Well Matrix acidization Acid Fracturing Proppant Process of HF Mini Frac Graph 1 Mini Frac Graph 2 Surface pressure during Frac Job Equipments of Foam Frac Treatment Foam Fluid Loss

Hydraulic fracturing is one of the primary and most effective engineering tool for improving well productivity. This basically involves pumping a fluid at high pressure so as to overcome the rock fracture strength. The fluid that is used in pumping and carrying proppant into the fracture may be water base fluid, oil base fluid, acid base fluids or multiphase fluids. Multiphase fluids consist of foam and emulsion. The purpose of the proppant is to keep the walls of the fracture apart so that a conductive path is retained after the pumping has stopped and fluid pressure has dropped below the pressure required to hold the fracture open (the fracture closure pressure). Foam is stable mixture of gas in liquid stabilized by a surfactant. Gas generally used is N2 or CO2 while the continuous phase i.e. the liquid phase is preferably water as it is compatible with the formation fluid, has low pre & post treatment cost i.e. before injection and after recovery from the reservoir. Foam is generally preferred over other fluid as it has high sand carrying capacity, sand suspension capability, low fluid loss, low hydrostatic head, low pressure drop due to friction hence cost effective pumping, quick fluid recovery low formation damage and no reduction of fracture conductivity due to fluid ingredients also same or less treatment cost relative to other fluids. One of the disadvantages is that they are required in large quantities. The effect of foam quality, stability, chemical compatibility, fluid loss additive, various factors effecting the transportation of proppant & fracture flow capacity and some techniques of maximizing the benefits has been discussed in this project. Apart from the above said this project deals in depth regarding hydraulic fracturing, mechanism, various factors affecting it, simulation, the various fluids there chemical and physical composition.

Literature Survey and current status

Formation damage is a condition in the reservoir which affects the productivity of crude oil, affects the downhole equipment & in serious cases damages the reservoir to impair production. Formation damage is one of the important areas of concern for petroleum engineers & most of stimulation jobs are associated with removal of the damage. These are caused naturally or mechanically. Natural formation damages are those which occur because of production of reservoir fluid. Mechanical or induced damages are caused as a result of external operation that was performed on the well such as drilling, well completion, repair, stimulation treatment or injection operation. 1.1. Natural damages include Fines migration swelling clays Water-formed scales Organic deposits such as paraffin or asphaltenes mixed organic/inorganic deposits Emulsions.

1.2. Induced damages include Plugging by entrained particles such as solids or polymers in injected fluids Wettability changes caused by injected fluids or oil-base drilling fluids Acid reactions Acid by-products Iron precipitation Iron-catalyzed sludge Bacteria Water blocks Incompatibility with drilling fluids 1.3. Origin of formation damage Various factors causing formation damage has been discussed in the following section. 1. Drilling a. Mud solids invasion. b. Drilling fluid filtrate invasion 2. Cementing a. Washes and spacers b. Cement slurries 3. Perforating 4. Gravel Packing 5. Work overs 6. Stimulation and remedial treatments a. Wellbore cleanup b. Acid treatments c. Fracture treatments 7. Normal production or injection operations a. Unconsolidated formations


We have discussed elaborately the factors which cause formation damage. Now we will discuss the remedial measures taken to overcome these damages. Around the globe 3 main techniques are used, these are: Hydraulic fracturing Matrix acidization Acid fracturing

2.1. Hydraulic fracturing: Brief description

Hydraulic fracturing (also called frac jobs, fracking or hydro fracking) is the process of initiating, and subsequently propagating a fracture in a rock layer, employing the pressure of a fluid as the source of energy. The fracturing is done from a wellbore drilled into reservoir rock formations, in order to increase the extraction and ultimate recovery rates of oil and natural gas. Fractures are formed at depth in a borehole and extend into targeted formations. The fracture width is typically maintained after the injection by introducing a proppant into the injected fluid. Proppant is a material, such as grains of sand, ceramic, or other particulates that prevent the fractures from closing when the injection is stopped.

2.1.1. PURPOSE
The technique of hydraulic fracturing is used to increase or restore the rate at which fluids, such as oil, gas or water, can be produced from a reservoir, including

unconventional reservoirs such as shale rock or coal beds. Hydraulic fracturing enables the production of natural gas and oil from rock formations deep below the earth's surface (generally 5,000-20,000 feet or 1,500-6,100 m). At such depth, there may not be sufficient porosity and permeability to allow natural gas and oil to flow from the rock into the wellbore at economic rates. For example, creating conductive fractures in the rock is essential to produce gas from shale reservoirs because of the extremely low natural permeability of shale, (which is measured in the microdarcy to nanodarcy range). The fracture provides a conductive path connecting a larger area of the reservoir to the well, thereby increasing the area from which natural gas and liquids can be recovered from the targeted formation. Hydraulic fracturing may be performed for one or more of three reasons: to bypass near-wellbore damage and return a well to its natural productivity to extend a conductive path deep into a formation and thus increase productivity beyond the natural level to alter fluid flow in the formation.

In the third case, fracture design may affect and be affected by considerations for other wells (e.g., where to place other wells and how many additional wells to drill). The fracture becomes a tool for reservoir management.

2.1.2. Method
A hydraulic fracture is formed by pumping the fracturing fluid into the wellbore at a rate sufficient to increase the pressure downhole to a value in excess of the fracture gradient of the formation rock. The pressure causes the formation to crack,


allowing the fracturing fluid to enter and extend the crack farther into the formation. To keep this fracture open after the injection stops, a solid proppant, commonly a sieved round sand, is added to the fracture fluid. The propped hydraulic fracture then becomes a high permeability conduit through which the formation fluids can flow to the well. Drilling a wellbore produces rock chips and fine rock particles that may enter cracks and pore space at the wellbore wall, reducing the permeability at and near the wellbore. This reduces flow into the borehole from the surrounding rock formation, and partially seals off the borehole from the surrounding rock. Hydraulic fracturing can be used to restore permeability. Hydraulic fracturing is commonly applied to wells drilled in low permeability reservoir rock. An estimated 90 percent of the natural gas wells in the United States use hydraulic fracturing to produce gas at economic rates. The fluid injected into the rock can be water, gels, foams, and compressed gases, including nitrogen, carbon dioxide and air. Various types of proppant are used, including sand, resin-coated sand, and man-made ceramics, depending on the type of permeability or grain strength needed. Sand containing naturally radioactive minerals is sometimes used so that the fracture trace along the wellbore can be measured. The injected fluid mixture is approximately 99 percent water, with 1 percent proppant. Microseismic monitoring is commonly used to estimate the size and orientation of hydraulically induced fractures. Microseismic activity is measured by placing an array of geophones in a nearby wellbore. By mapping the location of small seismic events that are associated with the growing hydraulic fracture, the approximate geometry of the fracture is inferred. Tiltmeter arrays, deployed on the surface or


down a well, provide another technology for monitoring the strains produced by hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing equipment used in oil and natural gas fields usually consists of a slurry blender, one or more high pressure, high volume fracturing pumps (typically powerful triplex, or quintiplex pumps) and a monitoring unit. Associated equipment includes fracturing tanks, high pressure treating iron, a chemical additive unit (used to accurately monitor chemical addition) low pressure pipes and gauges for flow rate, fluid density, and treating pressure. Fracturing equipment operates over a range of pressures and injection rates, and can reach up to 100MPa (15,000 psi) and 265 L/s (100 barrels per minute). The location of fracturing along the length of the borehole can be controlled by inserting composite plugs, also known as bridge plugs, below and above the region to be fractured. This allows a borehole to be progressively fractured along the length of the bore, without leaking fracture fluid out through previously fractured regions. Piping through the upper plug admits fracturing fluid and proppant into the working region. This method is commonly referred to as "plug and perf." Typically, hydraulic fracturing is performed in cased wellbores and the reservoir zones to be fractured are accessed by perforating the casingat those locations. Advances in completion technology have led to the emergence of open hole multistage fracturing systems. These systems effectively place fractures in specific places in the wellbore, thus increasing the cumulative production in a shorter time frame. In general hydraulic fracturing can be summarized as 1. Water, sand and additives are pumped at extremely high pressures down the wellbore.


2. The liquid goes through perforated sections of the wellbore and into the surrounding formation, fracturing the rock and injecting sand or proppants into the cracks to hold them open. 3. Experts continually monitor and gauge pressures, fluids and proppants, studying how the sand reacts when it hits the bottom of the wellbore, slowly increasing the density of sand to water as the frack progresses. 4. This process may be repeated multiple times, in stages to reach maximum areas of the wellbore. When this is done, the wellbore is temporarily plugged between each stage to maintain the highest water pressure possible and get maximum fracturing results in the rock. 5. The frack plugs are drilled or removed from the wellbore and the well is tested for results. 6. The water pressure is reduced and fluids are returned up the wellbore for disposal or treatment and re-use, leaving the sand in place to prop open the cracks and allow the gas to flow.


2.2. MATRIX ACIDIZATION: Brief description

The most common matrix stimulation treatment is matrix acidizing, in which an acidic solution is injected to dissolve minerals in the formation. Matrix acidization is a technique in which a solvent is injected into the formation to dissolve some of the materials present and hence recover or increase the permeability in the nearwellbore region. Such treatments are called matrix treatments because the solvent is injected at pressures below the parting pressure of the formation so that fractures are not created. The objective is to greatly enhance or recover the permeability near the wellbore, rather than affect a large portion of the reservoir.


However, other solvents are also used. Organic solvents are aimed at dissolving waxes, paraffins, asphaltenes or other organic damaging materials.

The most common acids are hydrochloric acid (HCl), used primarily to dissolve carbonate minerals, and mixtures of HCl and hydrofluoric acid (HF), used to attack silicate minerals such as clays and feldspars. Other acids, particularly some weak organic acids, are used in special applications, such as high-temperature wells. Matrix acidizing is a near-wellbore treatment, with all the acid reacting within

about 1 ft of the wellbore in sandstone formations and within a few inches to perhaps as much as 10 ft from the wellbore in carbonates. Matrix
acidizing can significantly enhance the productivity of a well when near-wellbore formation damage is present and, conversely, is of limited benefit in an undamaged well. Thus, matrix acidizing generally should be applied only when a well has a high skin factor that cannot be attributed to partial penetration, perforation efficiency or other mechanical aspects of the completion. Two exceptions to this rule may occur. First, in highly productive wells, the productivity improvement of about 20% that is possible with matrix stimulation of an undamaged well may be economic. Second, in naturally fractured or highly vugular carbonate reservoirs, live acid may penetrate to a sufficient distance to yield a productivity enhancement greater than that normally expected from a true matrix treatment. An ideal matrix treatment restores the permeability in the near-wellbore region to a value at least as high as the original undamaged permeability; it accomplishes this over the entire completed interval and it leaves the formation in the treated region with high relative permeability to the oil and/or gas phase.


During the process of matrix acidization many physical and chemical interactions taking place between the injected fluids and the reservoir minerals and fluids. The most important of these phenomena are the following: mass transfer of acid molecules to the mineral surface and subsequent reaction at the surface. Acid reactions with minerals are termed heterogeneous reactions because they occur at a boundary between the solid and the liquid rather than in the bulk phases. Before the reaction can occur, acid must be transported to the mineral surface by convection or diffusion. The overall reaction rate (i.e., the rate of change of the concentration of one component in the bulk liquid phase) may depend on both the rate of mass transfer and the rate of surface reaction. Many times, however, one of these processes is much slower than the other and controls the overall rate, in which case the faster process can be ignored. changing pore structurethe physical change in the pore structure caused by dissolution of some of the minerals by acid is the mechanism by which matrix acidizing increases permeability. The manner in which the pore structure changes is fundamentally different in sandstones and carbonates, which leads to radically different approaches to modeling the acidizing process in these two minerals.


precipitation of reaction productsSecondary reactions occur in acidizing, particularly in sandstones, that can result in the precipitation of reaction products from the bulk liquid phase. Obviously, precipitated solids may block pore spaces and work against the goal of matrix acidizing. Acid fluidreservoir fluid interactionsthe acid solution injected in matrix acidizing may interact physically and/or chemically with the reservoir fluids as well as with the minerals. These interactions can result in changes in wettability, phase saturation distribution, precipitation of solids or emulsification. variations in reservoir permeability or the distribution of damageA successful acidizing treatment requires contacting all damaged regions around the well with acid. This is usually complicated by variations in the injectivity to acid along the wellbore, which leads to the use of techniques to affect good acid coverage (acid diversion).

The primary design considerations are: Fluid selectionacid type, concentration and volume. Injection scheduleplanned rate schedule and sequence of injected fluids. Acid coverage and diversionspecial steps taken to improve acid contact with the formation. real-time monitoringmethods to evaluate the acidizing process as it occurs. Additivesother chemicals included in the acid solution to enhance the process or to protect tubular goods.

2.3. ACID FRACTURING: Brief description


A well-stimulation operation in which acid, usually hydrochloric [HCl], is injected into a carbonate formation at a pressure above the formation-fracturing pressure. Flowing acid tends to etch the fracture faces in a non uniform pattern, forming conductive channels that remain open without a propping agent after the fracture closes.

The length of the etched fracture limits the effectiveness of an acid-fracture treatment. The fracture length depends on acid leak off and acid spending. If acid fluid-loss characteristics are poor, excessive leak off will terminate fracture extension. Similarly, if the acid spends too rapidly, the etched portion of the fracture will be too short. The major problem in fracture acidizing is the development of wormholes in the fracture face; these wormholes increase the reactive surface area and cause excessive leak off and rapid spending of the acid. To some extent, this problem can be overcome by using inert fluid-loss additives to bridge wormholes or by using viscosified acids. Fracture acidizing is also called acid fracturing or acid-fracture treatment.

2.3.1. Wormholes
It is not known who first described the acid-etched pathway as a wormhole , but this appellation is commonly accepted by those familiar with the complex etch pattern produced by acidizing

carbonate cores in the laboratory. Perhaps it was A. R. Hendrickson of Dowell.


This is a photograph at the right is of a metal casting of a wormhole created by forcing molten metal into a wormhole, allowing the metal to solidify and then dissolving the remaining rock with HCl. The casting illustrates the complex morphology of the etch pattern. This is typical of many castings, which have been produced under a variety of experimental conditions. The chaotic nature of the pattern seemingly discourages any attempt to characterize its structure. However, it has been suggested that there is an underlying regularity that may be useful for modeling.

2.3.2. Initiation of wormholes

The fractal or self-similar, topology of a wormhole structure implies that the mechanism for the initiation of wormholes is a local phenomenon that occu rs continuously along its bounding surfaces as well as at its tip. Thus, tiny wormholes may be initiated whenever live acid enters the pores of the virgin rock irrespective of the etch pattern already in existence. Experiments have shown that in cases where the acids flux entering the matrix is quite small, wormhole initiation is not prolific, thereby indicating a flow-rate dependence of the initiation process. However, adopting the notion of a flow-rate-dependent initiation process allows interpreting the results of laboratory acidizing experiments and understanding the origin of the fractals. Furthermore, this approach leads to prediction of the optimum injection rate in linear core experiments that has been experimentally observed. Thus, the analysis presented here represents a foundation upon which the design of acid treatments can be based, but further work is required to achieve the desired goal, namely, the ability to predict the stimulation resulting from an acid treatment given the essential parameters of acid composition, injection rate,


formation temperature and rock properties. The initiation of wormholes occurs when live acid penetrates into pores present in the native rock. These pores are distributed in size and shape; therefore, the amount of acid flowing through each of the pores differs. The rate at which a given pore is enlarged by the acid depends, of course, on the amount of acid entering that pore and the fraction of the acid reacted at the walls of the pore before the acid exits and then enters other pores located downstream. Thus, even at the pore level, the processes that contribute to the creation of an etch pattern are complex, involving convection, diffusion and chemical reactions within each of the invaded pores.



Summary of work done in monsoon semster

1. Introduction
Hydraulic fracturing remains the dominant method for completing low permeability formations, especially those producing gas. Hydraulic fracturing activity has increased 5 fold in recent years. The inflow area generated by a fracture treatment is orders of magnitude greater than that created by any other completion method, including horizontal wellbores and multilaterals.

Consequently, hydraulic fracturing has become standard practice for many operators whi are developing tight gas, shale gas and coal bed methane formation. In addition, hydraulic fracturing is also becoming weapon of choice for high permeability natural gas formations. Hydraulic fracturing achieved by placing a conductive channel through near wellbore damage, bypassing this crucial zone extending the channel to a significant depth into the reservoir to further increase productivity placing the channel such that fluid flow in the reservoir is altered. Proper treatment design is thus tied to several disciplines: production engineering rock mechanics


fluid mechanics selection of optimum materials operations.

The fracturing uid is a critical component of the hydraulic fracturing treatment. Its main functions are to open the fracture and to transport propping agent along the length of the fracture. Consequently, the viscous properties of the uid are usually considered the most important. However, successful hydraulic fracturing treatments require that the uids have other special properties, which are: proper viscosity in the fracture break and clean up rapidly once the treatment is over good uid-loss control exhibit low friction pressure during pumping and be as economical as is practical

Fracturing fluids may be classified in five main category these are: Water-based uids Oil- based uids Acid based Fluids Foam based fluids Emulsion based fluids


To maintain optimum operating conditions & effective proppant transportation following additives are mixed with fracture fluid, which will be studied in greater detail in later section: Crosslinkers Breakers Fluid Loss Additives Bactericides Gel Stabilisers Surfactants Clay Stabilisers Buffering agents

The goal of hydraulic fracturing is to increase well productivity by altering the flow pattern in the formation near the wellbore from radial to linear. For this effort to be successful, the fracture must be much more conductive than the

formation. This is achieved by adding a granular propping agent, also called PROPPANT to the fracturing fluid. The purpose of the proppant is to keep the walls of the fracture apart so that a conductive path is retained after the pumping has stopped and fluid pressure has dropped below the pressure required to hold the fracture open (the fracture closure pressure). Placing the appropriate


concentration and type of proppant in the fracture is critical to the success of a hydraulic fracturing treatment. Ideally, the proppant will provide flow conductivity large enough to overcome any pressure losses in the fracture during fluid production. In practice, this might not be achieved, if the suitable proppant has not been selected, often due to compromises imposed by economic and practical considerations. The propped fracture must have conductivity at least high enough to eliminate most of the radial flow path that exists in an unfractured well and to permit linear flow from the reservoir into the fracture. This requires relatively unimpeded linear flow within the fracture to the wellbore. To accomplish this, the proppant must enable the propped fracture to have permeability several orders of magnitude higher than that of the reservoir rock. Propping agents can be categorized as Natural proppants Resin Coated Proppants Ceramic proppants More significantly, the proppants can be classified, on the basis of its strength against crushing in the face of closure stress, as below: Low Strength Proppant Intermediate Strength Proppant High Strength Proppant

4. Process


Hydraulic fracturing is a particularly complicated enterprise. The purpose of hydraulic fracturing is the placement of an optimum fracture of a certain geometry and conductivity to allow maximum incremental production

(over that of the unstimulated well) at the lowest cost. This process combines the interactions of fluid pressure, viscosity and leakoff characteristics with the elastic properties of the rock. Although hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, operations take a relatively short amount of time to complete, the process requires the use of advanced technology and a variety of equipment. From data monitoring to frack blenders and pumps, this highly developed and monitored process involves a flurry of activities.

. Minifrac
Minifracs refer to prefrac operations

conducted in the well either the day before or earlier on the same day as the main stimulation operation. These

pumping operations are carried on upto fullscale pump rates. The

A minifrac chart





determine or confirm certain information that had to be assumed for the design of the treatment. Subsequently, if necessary, the treatment design would be modified in the field to accommodate the new, accurate data. The redesign would include a prediction of pressure performance during the main frac.

The information that can be obtained from a minifrac are Closure pressure and time Near wellbore

Friction Plot from Minifrac (Act)

Observed Friction Model Tortuosity-Related Friction

Model Perforation Drop Friction





pressure losses Fluid leakoff






Pumping Rate


April 30, 2008

The near wellbore pressure losses from a minifrac

Rate of pressure loss due to leak-off to formation using clear/ gelled frac fluid. The minifrac chart is analysed to determine valuable information. The Fig shows the determination of near wellbore friction losses (pressure losses in perforation and tortuosity). In this well, it indicates that there is a significant pressure loss in the perforations as well as tortuosity. This would help the frac engineer to take necessary corrective actions before or during the fracturing operation.

. Fracturing
Once the minifrac has been done and the pumping schedule finalized, fracturing jobs is taken up. A typical graph showing events during fracturing and corresponding pressure behaviour is shown in the above figure. Such graphs are


available to the Frac Engineer in the Fracvan during the job. The events marked on the graph are very important and provides an understanding about the downhole fracturing process. A thorough understanding of the physics involved in hydraulic fracturing is necessary to interpret this graph. The fracturing operation normally has the following stages :

Typical surface pressure & events during fracturing job

Pad fluid (viscous fluid to initiate fracture): It is pumped to breakdown the formation and initiate fracture. The pumping rate must exceed leak-off into the formation in order to propagate the fracture. It also extends or propagates the fracture and develops width required for proppant. Usually, its a linear or crosslinked gel, and the pumping rate varies from 10-25 BPM. Pad volume is very critical for the success of proper proppant placement in the fracture. Small pads


May not develop sufficient width for proppant, potentially causing screen-outs. Excessive pad may delay closure for a significant period of time, allowing proppant convection out of zone. Sand Slurry (viscous fluid with sand / proppant to prop the created fracture): This immediately follows the pad. It is clean fracturing fluid mixed with proppant - referred to as dirty fluid. It allows continuation of growth in fracture length and width. The proppant concentration starts at 0.5-1 ppg and goes upto 8 -16 ppg. Here, 5 ppg means that 5 lb of proppant is added to 1.0 gallon clean fluid, making a total of 1.225 gallon slurry. The proppant concentrations are slowly increased, as per the pumping schedule. Flush (to clear the tubing from sand slurry) : It immediately follows the proppant stages, where clean fluid (like linear gel or KCl water) is pumped to displace the proppant to within a short distance of the perforation. By design the proppant is under-flushed in the well, if it is desired to flowback the well immediately (Forced closure). The volume by which the proppant is underflushed to the perforation depends on the wellbore configuration and the design safety factor to ensure that proppant is not accidentally over-flushed into the perforation, resulting in near-wellbore poor conductivity. The job is over, when the desired quantity of proppant has been pumped. In case, the actual proppant quantity pumped is less than planned, due to eventualities like sand-off or failure of pumping equipment or well integrity failure, the proppant pumping is stopped and well flushing is attempted. The well is then flowed back to


reduce the frac fluid induced formation damage and to initiate the flow of hydrocarbons. Major operation concern is
Proppant flowback : A problem with fractures in some applications is the back

production of proppant (proppant flowback) with the oil or gas. Fluid drag forces dislodge and carry proppant out of the fracture. Numerical modeling indicates that arch formation in the pack is important. Places in the fracture wider than 5.5 grain diameters are inherently unstable, independent of the effective proppant stress. In these cases, fluid flow serves to sweep proppant out of the fracture. In addition to fracture width, closure stress was shown to affect the occurrence of flowback in the modeling study and experimentally. Proppant flowback usually occurs over a cleanup period of several weeks after the fracture treatment, but it can also occur throughout the economic life of the well. Up to 20% of the proppant placed in the fracture can return during the cleanup period. The proppant that flows back has a detrimental wear effect on the production equipment and requires the use of separators in the production line. Concern about proppant flowback can limit fluid flow rates during cleanup and production. In most cases, proppant flowback does not reduce well production. It can therefore be concluded that the fracture does not close completely as proppant is produced. Also, the production rate can be reduced to a point where proppant is not flowed back. Proppant flowback is more likely to occur with lower closure stress or wider fracture widths. Another possible cause is that the closure stress probably varies from point to point in the fracture between the maximum and zero as a result of uneven settling of proppant in the fracture. The resulting stress variation can allow


proppant to be carried out of the fracture from regions of lower closure stress. The prediction of proppant flowback is specific for a site, field, formation and fracture.

Several techniques have been used to control proppant flowback : Forced closure : Forced closure is a procedure in which fluid flowback begins immediately at the end of pumping. The theorized benefits of forced closure are that a reverse screenout takes place at the perforations (i.e., the fracture width closes to below that required for a stable arch) and that the fracture closes before the proppant has a chance to settle in the fracture. Resin flush : The resin flush technique involves pumping a curable resin into the fracture at the end of the job. In theory, the resin coats the proppant in the fracture near the wellbore and cures through a polymer crosslinking reaction. Additional postflushes are used to ensure that the resin does not fill the pores in the proppant pack. The disadvantages of this technology are the difficulties in covering the entire interval with resin and then pumping the postflush through the entire treated volume and the requirement to drill the excess resin out of the wellbore after it cures. Resin-coated proppants : The use of curable phenolic resins with proppants is a popular method for controlling proppant flowback. They are used as all or some (tail-in) of the proppant placed in the fracture. Under sufficient closure stress, shutin time and temperature, the resin coating is supposed to bind the proppant together in the fracture and form a dense aggregate around the perforations. Fibre technology : It was developed to hold the proppant in the fracture during the production of oil, gas or both and to allow more flexibility in flowback design than


possible with curable-resin-coated proppants. These additives work by the physical mechanism of random fiber reinforcement; therefore, chemical curing reactions are not necessary to hold the proppant in place. No combination of temperature, pressure or shut-in time is required. Wells can be flowed back at high rates (dependent on the number of perforations). Also, flowback is possible immediately after the fracturing treatment is completed. The rapid flowback rate enables increased polymer cleanup early in the flowback and can result in an increase in the total polymer returned.


1. Introduction
Foams used as fracturing fluids are dispersions of gas, generally nitrogen in liquid, generally water, with a small amount of surfactant foaming agent added. Volumetric gas (also known as foam quality i.e. the percentage of gas present is generally in the range of 65% to 85%. Quantities as high as 95% have been used. Surfactant content is commonly 0.5% to 1% of liquid volume. Stability is increased by addition of more surfactant, whether foaming agent or gelling agent. Such foams are homogeneous mixtures with a narrow range of bubble size, mean bubble size less than 200 microns, and are stable for periods of several hours. A further improvement in foam stability can be achieved by crosslinking the polymer in the aqueous phase. The liquid phase then becomes viscous enough to maintain dispersion of the gas bubbles, even at foam quality less than 40%. Thickening the liquid phase also improves foam rheology and uid-loss control. Proppant


concentrations in the foamed uid are generally lower than the concentration achieved with single-phase, liquid treatments. Therefore, a larger volume of foam may be required to place the desired amount of proppant. Nitrogen and carbon dioxide are used as energizing gases. N2 is less dense than CO2. CO2 creates a denser foam and, consequently, lower surface treating pressures because of the increased hydrostatic head in the wellbore. Lower treating pressures reduce pumping costs. On the other hand, because CO2 is much more soluble in oil and water than N2, it takes more CO2 to saturate the liquid and to create the foam. Reductions in pumping costs may be offset by increases in material costs .

2. Foaming agent
In choosing a foaming agent, several factors need to be considered. A foaming in needed to make a stable foam during injection, but not have a stable foam coming back out of the well after the treatment. Stable foam at the surface during clean up is a mess and sometimes presents a disposal problem. In low bottom hole pressure wells, it is desirable to have foam in the tubing during well cleanup in order to lighten the hydrostatic head and keep the well from loading up with water so it will continue to flow back all the load fluid. Once it reaches the surface it should break out rapidly so foam doesnt collect in the pits or tanks. Sometimes this may require addition of oil, calcium salts, or defoaming agent at the pit. Enough foaming agent must be used to allow for adsorption by the piping and the rock so that enough is left to maintain stable foam throughout the fracture until the end of the treatment. Lab tests which determine the amount of initial foam created and the stability of that foam are run in glass containers at ambient conditions without the presence of any pipe or rock so lab tests need to be tempered with the


previously mentioned field experience factor. Half life of the foam should be at least one minute and the longer the better.

Experiments and Methods

Treatment design
As small change of pressure causes large change of volume of the gaseous phase, foam flow velocity, density, quality and viscosity all change during a treatment and are quite sensitive to pressure. The following considerations are made for treatment design: 1. Estimate bottom-hole pressure necessary to fracture the formation and propagate the fracture. 2. Assume a fracture width and height which will be opened during injection. 3. Arbitrarily select bottom-hole foam quality and injection rate in the fracture. 4. Determine the fluid loss coefficient and viscosity for the foam at bottom hole conditions from the laboratory data with the assumed fracture geometry and fracture pressure. 5. Calculate the fracture geometry resulting from the treatment i.e. height, width and area. 6. If the fracture geometry is acceptable, go to step 7, if not, assume another quality or rate and repeat step 1 through 5 until an acceptable geometry results. 7. Determine pressure drop through the perforations:


8. Estimate foam quality, viscosity, density and viscosity at bottom of the wellbore inside the pipe. These values will be same as in step 3 and 4 if pressure drop in perforation is small. 9. Divide the fluid conduit, tubing or casing, into segments. Calculate pressure drop in each segment. 10.Repeat step 9 for each segment until wellhead conditions are determined: foam quality, injection pressure, and surface injection rate. 11.If calculated surface condition are not acceptable, begin again with step 3 and new assumption regarding bottom hole quality and injection rate. Some important terms:Treating Pressure:- calculated takes into consideration friction pressure, hydrostatic head due to appropriate foam quality, differential pressure across the perforations and the frac gradient. Nitrogen volume factor:- is the standard cubic feet of nitrogen required to occupy one barrel of space at downhole pressure and temperature. Liquid injection rate:- is the total rate that the liquid and sand slurry must be injected into the treating line to obtain the proper injection rate and foam quality at bottom hole conditions. Foaming Agent:- is the amount of concentrated foamer required, figured on the input for foamer concentration per 1000 gallons slurry.


Dilute foamer Volume:- is the volume to which the concentrated foamer should be diluted. This volume is derived by multiplying the total job time (slurry volume (BBL) + 10% excess) times a constant injection rate of .30 BPM. During a fracturing operation the liquid phase passes through a blender and is mixed with sand and then passes through the injection pump which raises the pressure to required injection pressure. Surfactant foaming agent is added downstream of the injection pump and gas is introduced with a tee or lateral downstream from the surfactant. Foam is generated at the point of gas introduction. The gas is transported to the site and stored in cryogenic tanks and added to injection stream at line pressure. As the foam is generated it is then passed through


safety connections and to the formation.

Equipment positioning for a foam fracturing treatment



As foam is injected under high pressure, reduction of pressure at the end of treatment by opening the well at the surface causes a great increase of gas volume. Such an increase will generally increase quality beyond the limits for stable foam and a mist will form. Most of the liquid phase of the fracture fluid is thus produced back in this mist form during blowdown and quick fluid recoveries result. Rig time for cleanout and swabbing is reduced. Hydrostatic head of foam is quite small, when surface pressure is dropped, fluid in the fracture will quickly be at less pressure than formation fluid and flow will be from formation to fracture soon after the treatment. The low pressure differential, short exposure time, and low fluid loss combine to minimize fluid entry and resultant damage to either the fracture formation or any other formation exposed in the well bore. Low fluid content reduce requirements for water hauling and storage. Some of the advantages are

high sand carrying capacity sand suspension capability low fluid loss low hydrostatic head low pressure drop due to friction hence cost effective pumping


quick fluid recovery low formation damage and No reduction of fracture conductivity due to fluid ingredients.

Reduction of formation damage with help of foam

FOAM FLUID LOSS Good fluid loss control is important to the creation of fracture geometry and the transport of proppant into the fracture. Fluid loss from nonfoamed gelled fracturing fluids may be understood as the loss of water into formation capillaries at an initial rate determined by the permeability of the rock matrix. As water is lost from the gelled fluid, a gradual buildup of polymer (filtercake) forms on the formation face. Once a gel filtercake has been deposited, the permeability of the filtercake is lower than the permeability of the formation, so the filtercake controls further loss of water to the formation. Gel filtercakes are also deposited from foamed fluids which contain gelling agents, but the filtercakes are much thinner. Filtercakes deposited in the laboratory from linear gel foams and crosslinked foams typically ranged between 0.04 to 0.15 mm [0.0016 to 0.006 in.].'2 Even though the deposited filtercake thickness is less, the overall fluid leakoff rate in matrix with foams is still less than with nonfoamed fluids. The reason for the lower leakoff rate is that


bubbles of gas from the foam enter the formation matrix and impede the loss of liquid. Twophase flow in porous media is slower than single phase flow. Gel filtercakes are also deposited from foamed fluids which contain gelling agents, but the filtercakes are much thinner. Filtercakes deposited in the laboratory from linear gel foams and crosslinked foams typically ranged between 0.04 to 0.15 mm [0.0016 to 0.006 in.].'2 Even though the deposited filtercake thickness is less, the overall fluid leakoff rate in matrix with foams is still less than with nonfoamed fluids. The reason for the lower leakoff rate is that bubbles of gas from the foam enter the formation matrix and impede the loss of liquid. Two phase flow in porous media is slower than single phase flow. A thinner filtercake represents less gel mass to block produced fluid flow after the treatment has been completed. Regained permeability tests on 0.1 to 0.3 md cores indicated 87 to 95% of the original matrix permeability was regained after exposure to foamed fluids. Fracture conductivity studies of proppant packs indicated that 80 to 100% of baseline conductivity was measured after treatment with linear gelled foamed fluids. Crosslinking the gelling agent in a foam reduced regained conductivity compared to linear foam, but crosslinked foams still had higher conductivity than nonfoamed crosslinked fluids. The capability of both formation matrix and proppant pack to flow fluids at rates near their undamaged capacities is a measure of the clean character of foamed fluids.

RHEOLOGY OF FOAMS The viscosity of fracturing fluids is important because of its influence in creating fracture geometry and in transporting proppant. The addition of linear polymers or crosslinked polymers to water increases its viscosity. The addition of nitrogen or carbon dioxide gas to water creates an internal phase (gas bubbles) which increases viscosity of the fluid mixture, provided that a stabilizing surfactant (foaming agent) is present. High viscosity foam fluids can be


prepared using low amounts of water and gelling agents, thereby minimizing the liquid load placed on a formation. Foam rheology has been described by a number of investigators using various fluid models. Work by Mitchell, using ungelled water foamed with nitrogen, characterized foam as a Bingham plastic fluid, having a positive yield stress at zero shear rate. Foams containing polymers have been described by several models, including power law and yield-pseudoplastic. Foam viscosity is dependent upon a number of variables, including quality, viscosity of the external phase, and texture. The most important parameter is foam quality--the percent volume occupied by the internal gas phase. Since gas volume is a function of temperature and pressure, downhole conditions must be known. As quality increases, foam viscosity increases. In addition, the yield point characteristics of foams are an exponential function of quality. Higher quality foams have better transport properties, particularly at very low shear rates, because of high yield points. The viscous character of the external liquid phase is also a major parameter. Flow of high quality foam may be visualized as gas bubbles sliding past one another on thin films of the liquid external phase. If the liquid film contains a viscosifying agent, then the bubbles will undergo greater drag forces because of the viscous thin films, and flow will be more difficult, resulting in higher bulk viscosity. Texture, or the bubble size distribution, plays an important but lesser role in determining foam viscosity. Foams exposed to shear for a sufficient time will equilibrate to a bubble size distribution which is characteristic of that shear rate. Texture is also influenced by an appropriate surfaetant19.20 which must be present in sufficient concentration to stabilize the foam under dynamic conditions.



Foams containing polymers which have been crosslinked are more viscous than foams without crosslinking An example is given in Figure of carbon dioxide foams c1ontaining 0.48% of a guar derivative. The foam containing polymer crosslinked with zirconium has approximately twice the viscosity of the noncrosslinked foam. Crosslinked nitrogen foams can be generated with any of the typically used

polymer-crosslinking agent combinations since nitrogen is considered chemically inert and does not interfere with crosslinking chemistry. Combinations would include guar and guar derivatives with aluminate, borate, titanate, and zirconate crosslinking agents. Crosslinked carbon dioxide foams must be formed with polymer crosslinking agent combinations which are active in the pH range of about 3 to 5 because of the strongly acidic pH effect of carbon dioxide on the aqueous extemal phase. For example, borate crosslinked foams cannot be made with carbon dioxide


since a pH above 8 is required to crosslink guar with borate. Several differences exist between the type of fractures created by crosslinked and noncrosslinked foams. Crosslinked foams have higher proppant carrying capacity than noncrosslinked foams because of their higher viscosity. Proppant is easier to transport into the fracture since a wider fracture is created by the more viscous crosslinked foam. Since a wider fracture is created, the fracture will be shorter for a given volume of fluid pumped. A shorter, wider fracture has less total fracture area created, meaning less surface area exposed to fluid leakoff. The fluid loss coefficients for crosslinked and noncrosslinked foams are similar for the same leakoff area, so the total leakoff with crosslinked foams is less. Lower overall leakoff, coupled with wider fractures, means that proppant placement with crosslinked foams is easier to accomplish than with noncrosslinked foams. Gel filtercakes generated with crosslinked foams were found to be about as thin as noncrosslinked foams, i.e., 0.10 mm [0.004 in.]. Although such thin filtercakes cause minimal occlusion of proppant pack conductivity, the chemical character of the residue is still crosslinked and is harder to remove than noncrosslinked linear polymers.

FLUID RECOVERY Foam fluids contain only one-third to one-fourth the amount of water as a nonfoameu fracturing fluid. Even though this lesser amount of water represents less potential damage to the formation, the water still needs to be removed to minimize damage to the formation. Controlled flowback procedures are important for any fracturing treatment, and they are especially important for foam fluids. The common practice for flowback of foam fluids has been to wait from 30 minutes to 4 hours before opening the wellhead valves to a small production choke. More recent techniques include opening the well immediately at a low rate. A properly


stabilized foam fluid structure will remain intact with high viscosity after 4 hours under downhole conditions. Common enzyme or oxidizing breakers reduce only the viscosity of gelling agents and do not directly attack the stabilizing surfactants. Reduction of pressure at the wellbore will cause some migration of fluid, carrying proppant back towards the wellbore. Experience of most foam flowbacks has been that little proppant is produced if the flow back rate is kept low. The fact that so little proppant is produced indicates that the formation has closed near the wellbore, trapping the proppant and forming a bridge to prevent further production of proppant from the fracture. If high flowback rates are used, a proppant bridge may not be formed or else be eroded, and significant amounts of proppant can be produced with the potential to harm the formation, wellhead equipment, and personnel. Thus, these properties of foam make them a ideal fluid for fracturing.

. Disadvantages
Foam is a very efficient hydraulic fracturing fluid, but there are certain disadvantages of foam as compared to conventional fluids. The main disadvantage of foam in deeper well is economics. In order to create foam high quantities of nitrogen is to be added which is costlier than water. However, in shallow wells the difference between foam & conventional fluid is very small. Another disadvantage is due to mechanical limitations especially in blending equipment, high concentrations of sand cannot be introduced into the formation.


Foam with high gas contents, 65% to 85%, has been used successfully as a fracturing fluid for treatment of gas and oil wells. Several properties of foam offer advantages compared to use of single phase fracturing fluid: Low fluid loss- the fracture treatment is more efficient, large area fracture are created with the same treatment volume, formation damage is minimized because little fluid invades the formation. Because the low fluid loss is a natural property of foam and does not depend on wall building additives, reduction of fracture conductivity is also minimized. High sand- carrying and sand- suspension capability more sand can be emplace, sand is suspended until the fracture heals, and propped fracture area to create fracture area ratio approaches one; resulting in high productivity increases. Sand does not settle quickly in the well bore during unplanned shutdowns during treatment. High effective viscosities- wider vertical fractures are created and horizontal fractures of greater area. Low friction content reduces hydraulic horsepower necessary for injection, results in low hydrostatic head which, in turn results in an underbalanced condition soon after opening the well, minimizing fluid entry and formation damage. Water hauling and storage costs are lower. Swabbing and load water recovery times are much less. Most load water produced back as mist by blowdown of gas phase.

We conclude that the foam is a desirable alternative to conventional fluids as a fracturing fluid for many applications.


Foam can effectively be used as an alternative for conventional fluids and should be used wherever applicable due to its low environmental damaging capability. However, in high pressure reservoirs foam cannot be used as it increases pumping cost because of high pressures required


1. ONGC WSS Report Hydraulic Fracturing 2. ONGC WSS Report acid fracturing 3. ONGC WSS report acidization 4. Reservoir Stimulation by Michael J. Economides & Kenneth G. Nolte ( third edition) 5. 6. SPE Paper 5003 Fromation Fracturing with Foam by R.E. Blauer and C.A. Kohlhaas 7. Foam Stimulation by Steven R. Grundmann & David L. Lord, Halliburton services. 8. SPE Paper 22394 Application of Foam Fluids to Minimize Damage During Fracturing by P.C.Harris, Halliburton Services.