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P.B. Gadde and M.M. Sharma, U. of Texas at Austin

Copyright 2005, Society of Petroleum Engineers

This paper was prepared for presentation at the 2005 SPE Annual Technical Conference and

Exhibition held in Dallas, Texas, U.S.A., 9 12 October 2005.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE Program Committee following review of

information contained in a proposal submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper, as

presented, have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to

correction by the author(s). The material, as presented, does not necessarily reflect any

position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Papers presented at

SPE meetings are subject to publication review by Editorial Committees of the Society of

Petroleum Engineers. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper

for commercial purposes without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is

prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to a proposal of not more than 300

words; illustrations may not be copied. The proposal must contain conspicuous

acknowledgment of where and by whom the paper was presented. Write Librarian, SPE, P.O.

Box 833836, Richardson, TX 75083-3836, U.S.A., fax 01-972-952-9435.

Abstract

A model for the velocity of proppant particles in slot flow is

presented. The proppant is either retarded or accelerated

relative to the fluid depending on the ratio of the proppant size

to the fracture width. It has been found that when this ratio is

small, the proppant travels faster than the average fluid

velocity at that location because the proppant tends to be

confined to the center of the flow channel where the fluid

velocity is higher. As the proppant size increases, the effect of

the fracture walls becomes more important and the proppant is

retarded by the walls. The retardation of particle relative to the

fluid is greater for larger particles and greater proximities to

the fracture walls due to the hydrodynamic stress exerted on

the sphere by the walls in the narrow gap. A higher proppant

concentration restricts the area available to flow and increases

the drag forces on the particles.

A model is presented for the effect of fracture walls and

proppant concentration on proppant transport. The effect of

this increased drag force is accounted for by modifying the

wall - particle interaction. The influence of the surrounding

proppant spheres on the drag force on a particle is estimated

from the effect of a wall on the drag force acting on a single

particle. The equivalent hydraulic diameter is then used to

determine the proppant retardation. The effects of wall

roughness and fluid leakoff are discussed. Models are

suggested that capture these first order effects.

The new model for proppant retardation has been incorporated

into a 3D fracture simulator. Results show that the proppant

placement is substantially different when proppant

retardation/acceleration is considered. Comparisons of

propped fracture lengths obtained with the new model agree

much better with propped and effective fracture lengths

reported in the field.

1. Introduction

Hydraulic fracturing is a commonly used stimulation

technique. Proppant transport is a key factor in determining

the productivity of these fractured wells. Water fracs are

common stimulation treatments for low permeability gas

reservoirs. These treatments use low viscosity Newtonian

fluids to create long narrow fractures in the reservoir, without

the excessive height growth that is often seen with cross-

linked fluids.

The low viscosity fluid and the narrow fractures introduce

some significant challenges for proper proppant placement.

The low viscosity of the carrying fluid leads to high settling

velocities for the proppant. The narrow fractures created can

have widths comparable to the diameter of the proppant and

can alter proppant transport significantly due to the

hydrodynamic forces acting on the proppant because of the

fracture walls. Other proppant particles create additional

hydrodynamic drag forces leading to retardation.

Fracture diagnostic studies that have been reported in the

literature have observed that the effective propped lengths for

both water fracs and conventional gelled fracs are sometimes

significantly different than those predicted by fracture models.

Designed and created fracture lengths are usually much longer

than the effective fracture lengths obtained from post

production analysis

1-4

. They can sometimes be an order of

magnitude lower.

Proppant transport is a key factor determining the effective

propped lengths and therefore the productivity of these

fractured wells. In current hydraulic fracture models, the

proppant is assumed to flow with the fluid in the direction of

fracture propagation. It is shown in this paper that the

proppant usually flows at a different velocity than the fluid,

particularly in narrow fractures. It is important to develop

reliable models to predict proppant transport. A detailed model

for proppant settling in water fracs was presented earlier by

the authors

5

. Several correlations for modeling proppant

settling in water fracs were presented. These UTFRAC

correlations allow fracture models to correct the settling

velocity for inertial effects, proppant concentration, fracture

width and turbulence. The models were implemented in a 3-D

hydraulic fracture simulator and results showed that propped

fracture lengths could vary significantly when settling was

properly accounted for.

2 SPE 97106

In this paper, a proppant transport model that accounts for the

relative motion between the proppant and fracture fluid along

the fracture due to the hydrodynamic effects of fracture walls

and proppant concentration is presented. This proppant

transport model has been incorporated into a 3-D finite

element simulator (UTFRAC-3D).

2. Past Experimental and Modeling Work

Liu and Sharma

6

present experimental data that shows that the

velocity of the proppant particles can be different from the

average velocity of the fluid. The proppant is either

accelerated or retarded depending on the ratio of the size of

the proppant to the distance between the fracture walls. When

the particle size is small relative to the fracture width, the

velocity of a proppant particle can be higher than the average

fluid velocity (Figure 1). It was observed that when the ratio

of the proppant size to the fracture width is large, the proppant

tends to flow to regions of low shear causing the particles to

move towards the center of the fracture. This causes the

average velocity of proppant to be greater than the average

fluid velocity

6

.

As the particle size increases relative to the fracture width, the

effect of fracture walls becomes important. The proppant

particles are retarded due to an increased drag force from the

fracture walls. The velocity of the proppant is significantly

reduced when the proppant diameter is comparable to the

fracture width

6

.

The effect of fracture walls is similar for high viscosity

Newtonian fluids as well as shear thinning fluids. The

proppant retardation or speed up is determined primarily by

the ratio of the particle size to the distance between the

fracture walls and by the fluid rheology

6

.

Staben

7

et. al. present a numerical solution for the motion of

particles between two parallel walls. The maximum average

particle velocity is 18% greater than the average fluid velocity

and occurs for particle diameters that are 42% of the distance

between the parallel walls. When the particle diameter exceeds

82% of the distance between the parallel walls, the average

particle velocity becomes lesser than the average fluid

velocity.

Figure 2 shows a graphical representation of the ratio average

particle velocity to the average fluid velocity as a function of

the ratio of the diameter of the particle to the distance between

the parallel walls based on numerical simulations. Figure 3

shows some experimental results for proppant transport

between fracture walls.

3. Model Development

3.1 Proppant Retardation (Single Particle)

A simple relationship that captures the trends and approaches

the correct limits (zero proppant velocity when the particle

diameter equals the distance between the fracture walls) is

obtained by curve fitting the simulation results.

99 . 0 26 . 1

2

+

=

W

d

W

d

V

V

p p

f

p

,

93 . 0 <

W

d

p

(1)

57 . 11 57 . 11 +

=

W

d

V

V

p

f

p

,

93 . 0

W

d

p

(2)

3.2 Proppant Retardation (Concentrated Suspension)

In hydraulic fracturing, the behavior of a single particle is of

little practical importance. It is important to consider the effect

of concentration on proppant transport. The presence of other

proppant particles increases the hydrodynamic drag forces on

a proppant sphere and thereby retards the motion of the

proppant sphere.

The fluid dynamic interaction of multi-particle suspensions is

very complex. Therefore the effect of surrounding particles

has been successfully resolved theoretically only for a few

limited cases such as fixed spatial arrangement of particles

etc

8, 9

. However, semi-empirical approaches in which particle-

particle interactions are simplified are effective and yield

satisfactory results for a wide range of cases. Some of the

existing approaches are the pseudo-fluid model and particle-

wall analogy. The pseudo-fluid model accounts for the

increased drag due to the surrounding particles by modifying

the fluid viscosity and density.

The surrounding particles restrict the area available for flow

and therefore increase the hydrodynamic drag forces on a

particle. In the particle-wall analogy, this increased drag force

on a particle can be estimated through a geometric analogy to

the presence of a wall. The concentration of the proppant

determines the effective distance between the proppant

spheres. In the particle-wall analogy, the hydrodynamic

interactions of the particles with a single sphere is

approximated by changing the slot width to obtain an

effective or equivalent slot width which yields the same

hydrodynamic drag. Hence, based on the proppant

concentration, an equivalent distance between the parallel

walls is calculated.

The advantage of this approach is that it is easier to handle a

single proppant sphere in concentrated proppant suspensions

because only the proppant sphere-wall fluid dynamic

interaction needs to be considered. In concentrated proppant

SPE 97106 3

suspension, a proppant spheres interact with each other and a

number of interactions need to be considered.

We apply the particle-wall analogy to proppant transport in a

fracture. When the particles are flowing through a very wide

channel, the particle-wall analogy modifies the slot width to

approximate the effect of the surrounding particles. For

proppant flowing between fracture walls, the additional

hydrodynamic drag due to concentration can be accounted for

through increasing the drag forces on the particle by the

fracture walls. This can be achieved by reducing the effective

or equivalent fracture width (W

eff

) based on the proppant

concentration.

The effective fracture width (W

eff

) can be expressed as

2 2 2

1 1 1

c eff

W W W

+ =

(3)

where W is the actual fracture width and W

c

is the change in

fracture width that accounts for the increased drag force on

particle due to concentration through an analogy of drag force

on the particle due to fracture walls.

The relation between the proppant concentration and the

pseudo-fracture width is assumed to be of the form

b

c

ac

W

=

2

1

(4)

where c is the proppant concentration.

When the concentration is 0, there is no additional drag force

due to the surrounding particles. Therefore the effective

fracture width equals the actual fracture width. When the

concentration reaches the maximum packing (c=0.65), the

proppant velocity approaches 0 and the effective fracture

width is equal to the proppant diameter so that the proppant

velocity goes to zero.

c=0,

W W

eff

=

and

0

1

2

=

c

W

(5)

c=0.65,

p eff

d W =

(6)

The effective fracture width is then used to determine the ratio

of the average proppant to average fluid velocity using Eqns 1

and 2. This model effectively captures the effect of proppant

concentration on the relative motion between the proppant and

the fluid (Figure 5). When the proppant concentration is small

and the proppant diameter is small compared to the fracture

width, the proppant particles tend to be confined to the low

shear areas near the center of the channel. Therefore, the

average proppant velocity is higher than the average fluid

velocity. However, as the proppant concentration is increased

keeping the actual fracture width constant, the effective

fracture width adjusted for the concentration effect decreases

and therefore the particles begin to feel an increased drag

force due to the walls. This increased drag force leads to a

reduction in the average proppant velocity. As the proppant

concentration approaches the maximum packing

concentration, the proppant velocity is greatly reduced (tip

screen out). If the actual fracture width is reduced keeping the

concentration constant, the effective channel width is reduced

by the same amount.

Assuming b to be 0.8, and from Eqns 4, 5 and 6,

8 . 0

2 2 2

1 1

411 . 1

1

C

W d W

p c

=

(7)

Figure 5 shows the effect of increasing particle concentration

on the ratio of average proppant velocity to the average fluid

velocity.

4. Incorporation into a 3-D Fracture Model

The wall effects and concentration effects discussed above

have been incorporated into a hydraulic fracture simulator

(UTFRAC 3-D). UTFRAC-3D is a three dimensional adaptive

mesh finite element simulator that rigorously accounts the

relative motion between the proppant and fluid both along the

flow direction and due to settling. This section provides a brief

discussion of how proppant transport is incorporated into this

3-D fracture hydraulic fracturing simulator.

4.1 Fluid Flow in the Fracture

Since a hydraulic fracture is a very narrow crack in the rock,

the fluid pressure variation across the fracture width (z-

direction) is negligible. The flow through the fracture is

modeled as a two dimensional in x-y plane between two

parallel walls.

.

t

w

q

y

q

x

q

L

y

x

(8)

4.2 Fracture Opening

The opening displacement equation for a mode-I plane

fracture of arbitrary shape in infinite elastic can be expressed

as

4 SPE 97106

( )

dxdy y d x d

y

w

y

v

x

w

x

v

r

1

v 1 4

G

( ) ( )dxdy y x, v y x, T

=

(9)

where T(x,y) = - [p(x,y) - (x,y)], (x,y) is the in-situ stress

distribution and G, are the shear modulus and Poisson's ratio

of the rock formation respectively.

The equations are solved using a Galerkin finite

10, 11

element

method. The adaptive finite element mesh shown in Figure 6

is used for both fracture mechanics and fluid flow equations.

A solution from these equations is obtained through an

iterative method.

For the moving boundary problem, an unstructured mesh is

employed in order to discretize the domain. An automatic and

domain-adaptive scheme is used. This scheme can remesh any

irregularly-shaped domain that may occur as the fracture

propagates. The techniques of smoothing and Delaunay

triangulation are employed to ensure the regularity of elements

and the smoothness of the mesh. In addition, a scheme for

adding new nodal points and, consequently, new elements to

refine the mesh is used when the fracture domain is highly

contained or significantly changed in size. The incremental

addition of new nodes effectively prevents the element size

from becoming too large. It also ensures a smooth mesh and

that elements in the domain are regular.

4.3 Proppant Transport

Mass conservation for the slurry can be expressed as

l f

q q

t

w

= +

) .(

) (

(10)

where is the slurry density, w is the fracture width, q is the

slurry velocity,

f

is the fluid density and q

l

is the leak-off.

Mass conservation for the proppant can be expressed as

0 ) .(

) (

= +

q c

t

w c

p

p

(11)

where c is the proppant concentration,

p

is the proppant

density, w is the fracture width and q

p

is the proppant velocity

(4.18)

The relative motion between the proppant and the fluid along

the fracture is accounted for through the wall and

concentration effects detailed in the earlier sections. The

relative motion in the vertical direction can be accounted

through corrected stokes settling. The proppant velocity q

p

can be expressed as

j V q i q q

t fy fx p

r r

) ( k

wc

+ + = (12)

where q

p

is the proppant veleocity, q

fx

and q

fy

are the fluid

velocity in the x and y directions respectively, V

t

is the

corrected settling velocity and k

wc

is the ratio between the

average proppant velocity and the average fluid velocity along

the fracture and is obtained from the wall effect and

concentration effects correlations.

f

p

V

V

=

wc

k

(13)

V

t

is the corrected stokes settling velocity and is expressed as

T W C s t

f f f f V V . . . .

Re

=

(14)

where V

s

is the stokes settling velocity, f

Re

is the correction

factor for inertial effects, f

c

is the cooreaciotn factor for

concentration effects, f

w

is the correction factor for wall effects

and f

T

is the correction factor for turbulence.

Combining Eqns 10, 11 and 12 we obtain the proppant

transport equation.

x ret

f

p

q k c c

x t

w

c

t

c

w )} 1 ( ) 1 {( ) 1 (

l

f

p

t y

q cV q c

y

=

] ) 1 [(

(15)

The boundary conditions (Figure 7) for the above equation are

c=c

p

on

p

(16)

c/dn=0 on

c

and f (17)

The initial condition is

c(x,y,0)=0 (18)

A Garlerkin finite element method is employed to obtain an

approximation to concentration c. The test function c is

approximated by a piecewise polynomial finite element basis

function as

= ) , ( ). ( y x t c c

j

(19)

The semi-discrete system of ordinary differential equations

can be expressed as

} { } ]{ [ ] [

c

f c B

dt

dc

A = +

(20)

where

SPE 97106 5

dxdy w A

j i ij

=

(21)

=

x

k k q

dt

dw

B

i

ret x j i ij

)] 1 ( 1 [ ( {

dxdy

y

V

y

q

j

i

t

f

p

i

y

} )

(22)

+ = dxdy

y

q

x

q

dt

dw

t

w

q f

i

y

i

x j i i l c

(23)

The pressure in the fracture, fracture width and proppant

concentration in the fracture are all coupled. However, it is

usually inefficient to solve them simultaneously. An effective

approximation for the proppant transport is to neglect the

interactive effect of species transport on the velocity field. The

movement of proppant with the flow in the fracture for a time

step does not directly affect the velocity field of the flow

during the current time step. However, the proppant

concentrations from the previous time step affect the velocity

field and fluid flow. The proppant transport is treated as a

quasi-steady state within each time step. Hence the proppant

transport calculation can be decoupled from the fluid pressure

and fracture width calculations.

The computation involves iterating for the pressure and

fracture widths based on the proppant concentration from the

previous time step. Once convergence is achieved, the

proppant transport equations are solved using the fracture

dimensions and fluid velocities to determine the proppant

concentrations. The updated proppant concentration is then

used to determine flow field for the next time step.

5. Results and Discussion

5.1 Effect of Fluid Rheology and Proppant Size

For low viscosity fracturing fluids, the settling velocity for the

proppant is high and is an important factor in determining the

proppant placement. Therefore, in order to isolate and

understand the effect of fracture walls and concentration on

proppant distribution in a fracture for low viscosity fracturing

fluids, a neutral buoyancy proppant is considered. With the

low density proppant, the settling velocities are low and do not

affect the proppant placement significantly. Also, the stress

contrasts were chosen such that the fracture is contained.

When low viscosity fracturing fluids are used, the fracture

widths are usually very narrow. The narrow fracture can have

a significant impact on proppant placement.

Figure 8a shows the proppant distribution in the fracture when

wall and concentration effects are not considered for a 10 cp

fluid and a neutrally buoyant proppant. Figure 8b shows the

impact of considering the wall effects and proppant

concentration on proppant transport. The proppant is retarded

due to the wall and concentration effects and therefore the

proppant placement is poorer compared to the case where the

wall and concentration effects are not considered.

When high viscosity fracturing fluids are used, the fractures

are wider. Therefore, the drag forces due to the wall and

concentration effects are smaller (Figure 9a).

Figure 9a shows the proppant distribution in the fracture

without considering the proppant retardation effects and 9b

shows the proppant distribution when these effects are

considered. Since the fracture is wider, the proppant particles

tend to flow along the center of the fracture. Therefore, the

average proppant velocity is higher than the average fluid

velocity and the proppant is transported further.

Figure 9c shows the effect of wall effects and concentration

effects for a larger proppant diameter. Note as the diameter of

the proppant increases, the hydrodynamic drag forces increase

and cause retardation of the proppant. Due to the reduction in

the proppant horizontal velocity for larger proppant, the

proppant is not placed as far out when compared to a smaller

diameter proppant.

5.2 Proppant Placement in Water, Gel and Hybrid Fracs

In order to study the effect of proppant retardation, the stress

contrasts were chosen such that the fracture is contained for

the water, hybrid and gel fracs. Figures 10a, 10b and 10c show

the proppant distribution in the fracture for water, gel and

hybrid fracs respectively. The proppant placement is poorer

for the water frac because the fracture is narrower. Figure 10d

shows the ratio of proppant diameter to the average fracture

widths for the gel, hybrid and water fracs considered. Note

that a gel frac is almost thrice as wide as a water frac.

Therefore the wall and concentration effects are not as

significant. The proppant placement for the hybrid and gel

fracs are, therefore, better.

5.3 Effect of Proppant Concentration

Figures 11a and 11b show the effect of inlet proppant

concentration on proppant placement for a gel frac. A higher

proppant concentration leads to a reduction in the effective

fracture width in accordance with the model for hydrodynamic

drag forces from the surrounding particles. With a high inlet

proppant concentration along with leak-off, the concentration

of proppant along the fracture becomes large. This causes it to

be significantly retarded relative to the fracture fluid. The

proppant therefore stops being transported along the fracture

and causes the net pressure to build up. In fracturing

operations this phenomenon is referred to as a tip screen out

(TSO). This occurs both for gel fracs and water fracs and is

more significant in water fracs.

6 SPE 97106

Figure 11c shows the proppant distribution for a higher inlet

proppant concentration when the proppant concentration is

slowly ramped up. The proppant placement is better than the

previous case where the concentration was not ramped. In

order to optimize proppant placement, ramping up proppant

concentration rather than injecting a high proppant

concentration from the beginning is shown to significantly

improve proppant placement. This is consistent with field

observations.

5.4 Effect of Pump Rate

Figures 12a and 12b show the effect of pump rate on proppant

placement when the stress contrast between the reservoir and

the adjacent layers is high and the fracture is contained even

for the higher rate. A higher pump rate leads to larger pressure

drop along the fracture and hence a wider fracture. Therefore

the proppant placement is better when the pumping rate is

higher.

However when height growth is expected, higher injection

rates do not necessarily yield better proppant placement.

Figure 12c shows the proppant distribution for a higher pump

rate when the stress contrast is not high enough to contain the

fracture. Higher rate leads to height growth and, therefore,

shorter propped lengths. To optimize proppant placement, the

pump rates should be selected based on the stress contrast.

5.5 Effect of Leak-off

Figures 13a and 13b show the effect of leak-off on proppant

placement. When the leak-off is high, the proppant

concentration in the fracture increases. This increased

concentration leads to an increase in the drag forces and

thereby retards the proppant. Higher leak-off can result in a

poorer proppant placement.

5.6 Proppant Retardation and Settling

In all the examples above, a neutrally buoyant proppant was

considered to highlight the effect of wall and concentration

effects on proppant placement. When a denser proppant

(specific gravity of 2.5) is used, the settling velocity is high

when a low viscosity fracturing fluid is used.

Figures 14a shows the proppant distribution for a 10 cp

fracturing fluid (proppant specific gravity of 2.5) when the

wall and concentration effects are not considered. Figure 14b

shows the proppant placement when these effects are

considered.

Note that the combined effect of proppant settling and

proppant retardation leads to significantly poorer proppant

placement.

5.7 Optimizing Propped Fracture Lengths

From the previous sections it is evident that wall and

concentration effects can have a significant impact on the

proppant placement. Therefore while designing fractures, it is

important to account for the relative motion between the

proppant and the fracturing fluid. Figure 15 shows the ratio of

propped lengths considering the retardation effects (LP

w,c

) and

propped length without considering the retardation effect (LP)

versus the ratio of proppant diameter to the average fracture

width. It is seen from the figure that as the fractures become

narrow and the inlet concentration increases, proppant

retardation effects become more important. Fluid rheology,

proppant size and concentration affect the proppant placement.

Also as seen from Figures 12b and 12c, stress contrast can

play an important role. Because of the large number of

variables involved and their interdependence, fracture

simulations are essential for optimizing frac design.

5.8 Field Case - APC Anderson #2

The model results were compared to field observations for

APC Anderson #2

4

. The York stimulation was a hybrid job.

Figure 16 shows the fracturing schedule. Microseismic

monitoring conducted for this job offers a good estimate of the

created fracture length

4

. Figure 17 shows the microseismic

data. The effective fracture length calculated from pressure

build-up data suggested an effective fracture length of 220 ft.

Figure 18a shows the proppant placement without considering

proppant retardation effects. The propped length obtained is

approximately 450 ft. Figure 18b shows the proppant

distribution when the wall and concentration effects are

considered. The propped length is shorter and is

approximately 300 ft and is more consistent with the effective

fracture length obtained from the build up analysis.

Conclusions

A proppant transport model that accounts for hydrodynamic

effects of fracture walls and proppant concentration and

corrected proppant settling is presented. This model allows

hydraulic fracture simulators to consider the relative motion

between the proppant and the fracturing fluid. Results from

the simulator show the importance of accounting for proppant

retardation (the relative motion between proppant and the

fracturing fluid) both for water fracs and conventional gel

fracs. The effective fracture lengths obtained can vary

significantly from similar simulations conducted without

considering these effects. This model helps in designing

fracture treatments that maximize propped frac lengths.

SPE 97106 7

References

1 Barree, R.D., Cox, S.A., Gilbert V.J. and Dobson, M.:

Closing the Gap: Fracture Half Length from Buildup and

Production Analysis, SPE 84491, presented at the SPE

Annual Technical Conference, Denver, Oct 2003.

2 Rushing, J.A. and Sullivan, R.B.: Evaluation of Hybrid

Water-Frac Stimulation Technology in the Bossier Tight

Gas Sand Play, SPE 84394, presented at the SPE Annual

Technical Conference, Denver, Oct 2003.

3 Mack, D.J, and Myers, R.R.: Proppants: Is Bigger Better

or is Placement the Key, SPE 72381, presented at the

SPE Eastern Regional Meeting, Canton, October 2001

4 Sharma, M.M. et. al.: Slick water and hybrid fracs in the

Bossier Some lessons learnt presented at the SPE

Annual Technical Conference, Houston, Sep 2004

5 Gadde, P.B. et al.: Modeling proppant settling in water

fracs, presented at the SPE Annual Technical

Conference, Houston, Sep 2004

6 Liu, Y and Sharma, M.M.: Effect of fracture width and

fluid rheology on proppant settling and retardation: An

Experimental study presented at the SPE Annual

Technical Conference, Dallas, Oct 2005

7 Staben, M.E., Zinchenko, A.Z. and Davis, R.H.: Motion

of a particle between two parallel plane walls in low-

reynolds number poissuille flow, Physics of Fluids, June

2003, pp 1711-1731

8 Felice, R.D,: The particle in a tube analogy for a

multiparticle suspension , Journal of fluid flow, Vol 22,

pp 515-525

9 Di Felice, R: The voidage function for fluid-particle

interaction systems, Int. Journal of Multiphase Flow,

1994, 20, 153-59

10 Ouyang, S., Propagation of Hydraulically Induced

Fractures with Proppant Transport, Ph.D. Dissertation,

The University of Texas at Austin, May 1994.

11 Gu, H.R. and Yew, C.H., Finite Element Solution of a

Boundary Integral Equation for Mode I Embedded Three-

Dimensional Fractures, International Journal for

Numerical Methods in Engineering, 1988, 26, pp. 1525-

1540

V

f

V

p

Figure 1: Average fluid velocity and the average proppant

velocity.

0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1

1.2

1.4

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

dp/W

V

p

/

V

f

Figure 2: Ratio of average proppant velocity to the average

fluid velocity versus ratio of proppant diameter to

fracture width.

0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

0.7

0.8

0.9

1

1.1

1.2

1.3

1.4

1.5

0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1

Particle Diameter/Cell Width

A

v

e

r

a

g

e

P

a

r

t

i

c

l

e

V

e

l

o

c

i

t

y

/

A

v

e

r

a

g

e

F

l

u

i

d

V

e

l

o

c

i

t

y

Fluid Viscosity = 1cp

Fluid Viscosity= 10.2 cp

780 cp ( Glycerin )

Figure 3: Experimental observations that show the effect of

fracture walls on the average proppant velocity

relative to the fluid velocity (Liu and Sharma

6

).

8 SPE 97106

Figure 4: Hydrodynamic analogy of a multi-particulate

suspension and a particle between walls.

0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1

1.2

0.00 0.20 0.40 0.60 0.80 1.00

dp/W

V

p

/

V

f

c=0

c=0.3

c=0.5

c=0.6

c=0.64

c=0.1

Figure 5: Ratio of average proppant velocity to the average

fluid velocity versus ratio of proppant diameter to

fracture width for various concentrations.

Figure 6: Finite element mesh for solving the fracture

mechanics, fluid flow and proppant transport

equations.

W

c

d

f

Figure 7: Boundary of the fracture.

Figure 8a: Proppant placement without wall and

concentration effects for 10 cp fluid.

Figure 8b: Proppant placement with wall and concentration

effects for 10 cp fluid.

d

p

d

c

d

c

SPE 97106 9

Figure 9a: Proppant placement without wall and

concentration effects for 500 cp fluid.

Figure 9b: Proppant placement with wall and concentration

effects for 500 cp fluid for smaller proppant

diameter (40-70).

Figure 9c: Proppant placement with wall and concentration

effects for 500 cp fluid for larger proppant

diameter (20-40).

Figure 10a: Proppant placement for a slick water frac.

Figure 10b: Proppant placement for a gel frac.

Figure 10c: Proppant placement for a hybrid frac.

0

0.05

0.1

0.15

0.2

0.25

0.3

0.35

0.4

Gel Hybrid Water

R

a

t

i

o

o

f

P

r

o

p

p

a

n

t

D

i

a

m

e

t

e

r

t

o

A

v

e

r

a

g

e

F

r

a

c

t

u

r

e

W

i

d

t

h

40/70 Proppant

20/40 Proppant

Figure 10d: Ratio of proppant diameter to the average fracture

width for gel, hybrid and water fracs for 20/40

and 40/70 proppant.

10 SPE 97106

Figure 11a: Proppant placement for lower inlet proppant

concentration (1 ppg).

Figure 11b: Proppant placement for higher inlet proppant

concentration (4 ppg).

Figure 11c: Proppant placement when the inlet proppant

concentration is ramped up (1-4ppg).

Figure 12a: Proppant placement for higher pumping rate (50

BPM).

Figure 12b: Proppant placement for lower pumping rate (25

BPM).

Figure 12c: Proppant placement for higher pumping rate (50

BPM) for low stress contrast.

SPE 97106 11

Figure 13a: Proppant placement with lower leak-off.

Figure 13b: Proppant placement with higher leak-off.

Figure 14a: Proppant placement with settling and without

wall and concentration effects for a water frac.

Figure 14b: Proppant placement with wall and concentration

effects and with settling for a water frac.

0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1

0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 0.3 0.35 0.4

dp/W

L

P

w

,

c

/

L

P

c=1 ppg

c=4 ppg

Figure 15: Ratio of propped fracture length with wall and

concentration effects to the propped length

without these effects versus the ratio of proppant

diameter to average fracture width.

0.77 psi/ft

Flush

Proppant

X-Link

Slick Water

Acid

Breakdown

ISIP Grad

0.89 psi/ft

Closure Grad

0.76 psi/ft

Mini -frac

0.0

0.5

1.0

1.5

2.0

2.5

3.0

3.5

(

ppg

)

Pressure (

psi

)

2000

4000

6000

8000

10000

12000

0.77 psi/ft

Time

Flush

Proppant

X-Link

Slick Water

Acid

Breakdown

ISIP Grad

0.89 psi/ft

Mini-frac

0.0

0.5

1.0

1.5

2.0

2.5

3.0

3.5

P

r

e

s

s

u

r

e

(

P

s

i

)

2000

4000

6000

8000

10000

12000

Closure Grad

0.77 psi/ft

Time

P

r

o

p

p

a

n

t

C

o

n

c

(

p

p

g

)

Closure Gra

0.77 psi/ft

Figure 16: Fracture treatment in the York sand.

12500

12600

12700

12800

12900

13000

13100

13200

13300

13400

13500

-700 -600 -500 -400 -300 -200 -100 0 100 200 300

Distance Along Fracture (ft)

D

e

p

t

h

(

f

t

)

Communicating fault between the

York and Bonner

York

Bonner

Non-communicating fault,

attenuation noted in MS signals

12500

12600

12700

12800

12900

13000

13100

13200

13300

13400

13500

-700 -600 -500 -400 -300 -200 -100 0 100 200 300

Distance Along Fracture (ft)

D

e

p

t

h

(

f

t

)

Communicating fault between the

York and Bonner

York

Bonner

Non-communicating fault,

attenuation noted in MS signals

400-600 ft created fracture

length and 220 ft effective

fracture length estimated from

build-up analysis

Figure 17: Anderson #2 York Stimulation, Microseismic Data

12 SPE 97106

Figure 18a: Proppant distribution for APC Anderson #2

without wall and concentration effects.

Figure 18b: Proppant distribution for APC Anderson #2 with

wall and concentration effects.

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