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JCPT80-03-01 PRODUCTION Combination foam/fluid fracturing R.S. BULLEN President Canadian Fracmaster Ltd. Calgary, Alberta ABSTRACT This paper describes the newly developed combination foam fluid fracturing technique, dealing with the objectives of the process, the equipment required, a typical sand schedule, the calculation for frac area, fluid cleanup procedures and, finally, the advantages of combination fracturing. The areal extent of a combination fracturing treatment is discussed in the Appendix, along with fracture capacity and the fluid coef- fcient for foam. Introduction One of the
most significant innovations in fracturing technology in recent years was the development of foam as a fracturing fluid in the fall of 1973. First conceived and re- searched by Blauer et aL(l) as a thesis project at the Colorado School of Mines, the process was quickly recognized by the oil and gas industry as a technique with a number of advantages resulting from the unique rheological properties of foam.
Foam is now widely used as a fracturing fluid, for stimulating productivity of oil and gas wells, with a high ratio of success.(2-3)
"Combination Fracturing" was first introduced in
February of 1977 as a further improvement of the Blauer form frac pro- cess, incorporating the best features of both foam and conven- tional fluid fracturing treatments in one job. Results of jobs performed to date indicate that Combination Fracs achieve R.S. Bullen Mr. BuUen graduated in mechanical engineering from the University of Alberta in 1961, is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers of Alberta and of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, and is president of Canadian Fracmaster Ltd. Mr. Bullen's experience in the ofl and gas industry includes engineering positions with
a major oil company, and with two service companies, primarily dealing with oil and gas well stimulation, production operations and equipment standards. An author of numerous technical papers related to completion techni- ques, Mr. Buflen holds a number of patents for stimulation processes and equipment. Keywords: Production, Fracturing, Combination fracturing, Foam fracturing, Fluid fracturing, Cleanup. _ Technology, July-September, 1980, Montreal equal or higher productivity increases than either foam fracs or fluid fracs alone. Description of the Process A Combination Frac is actually two
different fracturing opera- tions conducted in sequence on a well - first a foam frac, followed by a fluid fracture treatment. These two fracs are continuous, with transition from one type of operation to the other effected by increasing the pumping rates of the liquid and at the same time reducing the rate of the gas volumes pumped.
The first stage of a Combination Frac is generated by treated fluids and a specific N2 ratio to develop 75% quality foam at bottom-hole conditions. The, foam is injected into the well as the base fluid of the fracturing treatment, with sand be- ing added
at concentrations of I to 2 pounds/ gallon of foam.
The rheological properties of foam, including its excellent sand carrying properties and low fluid logs, are such that it develops a fracture of considerable areal extent reaching deep into the formation.
In the second stage of a Combination Frac, the aeration and the foaming agent ratios are reduced. Simultaneously, the pumping rate is increased and sand ratios are increased to con- centrations as high as 8 to 10 pounds per gallon. The increased viscosity of this fluid stage, combined with the increased rate, develops a greater
crack width. This widening of the fracture, as described in the Appendix, results in a higher flow capacity over the total frac area developed by the treatment. Objective of a Combination Frac The productivity of a well following fracturing is propo on to both the permeability contrast (flow capacity of the fracture in md-ft divided by the flow capacity of the formation in md- ft) and the extent of the fracture area, as illustrated in Figure 1. This graph indicates that the highest productivity increases are realized when both the frac area and the frac capacities are at maximum. values.
Combination Fracturing was developed with these considerations in mind-develop a maximum frac- ture area using an efficient media such as foam, then subse- quently increase the frac capacity over this area by changing to a viscous, highproppant concentration bearing fluid injected at increased pump rates.
In this paper, the "area generation" stage and the "widen- ing" stage are described for foam and gelled water, respective- ly. A number of benefits in fluid properties result from this particular combination, however other materials may be well suited for use in the combination
technique, such as a hydrocarbon-water polyemulsion followed by a viscous oil gel.
Another variation of Combination Fracturing would be the use of multiple and alternate stages of foam and liquid to pro- 51