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*

SPE 39959

Society of Petroleum Engineers

High-Rate Foam Fracturing


Phillip C. Harris,

Copyrfght 1~.

SPE,

Halliburton

StiT6ty of PehoTetim EngFW-rs,

Energy Services,

Inc. and Mike Pippin, SPE,

Resources

Oil & Gas Company

lowered to 40 bbl/min resulting in a fracturing cost savings of


approximately
$7,400 per treatment. The success of these
lower rates has been verified by both after-frac tracer logs and
on-line production.

Inc.

This pa~r
Waa preparad for presentation at the Rocky Mountain Regi~pa[ Meetin~~~
Permeability Reservoirs Symposium held in Denver, Colorado, 5-8 Apr. 1998.
This paper was s%ract~oi-pre.sentalion
by an S?-~rogram
Committea following review of
information c.antalned in an abstract submitted by the author(a), Contents of the paper, as
prasanfed, have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subie~! to
correction by~e
autfiorTsJ, me material, as presentad, does not necessarily reflect any
poaftion of the Society of PeUoleum Engineers, its officars, or membars. Papera presented at
SPE meetings are aubjecf to publication review by Editorial CommittMs
of the Society of
Petroleum Enginaara. Permission to copy is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300
words, Illustration may not be copied, The abstract should contain conspicuous acknowledge
ment of where and by whom the ps~r is presented, Write Librarian, SPE, P,O. Sox 833836,
Richardson, TX 75063-W36,
U.S.A. iax 01-972-953-9435.

Introduction
Nitrogen foam fracturing has been used for more than 20 years
as a preferred method to stimulate low-pressure, shallow gas
reservoirs.-3 Laboratory studies of foam properties and field
studies of foam stimulation have concluded that foam fluids are
the least damaging of many fluid candidatesf6 During the first
decade of foam stimulation, various correlations were proposed
to quantifi pressure relationships for foam flow?9 In recent
years, foam fracturing pumping rates have been pushed to very
high levels, ofien exceeding the range over which the tubular
friction correlations were developed?
During the pumping of several high-rate foam stimulation
treatments for a production company, unexpected pressure versus rate relationships were observed. As designed pumping rates
were achieved, pressures would fall below expected values. In an
attempt to maintain pressure on the formation, rates were increased, but pressure response would not be sustained. These
observations raised questions about the stability of foam fluids
at very high pumping rates and the applicability of the conventional tubular friction correlations.
Since the implementation
and acceptance of foam as a
standard fluid for stimulation, net-pressure plots have been
introduced and accepted as a standard tool for on-site control of
fiacturingtreatments.1
IAccurate knowledge ofbottomhole treating pressure (BHTP) is essential for proper interpretation of
fmcture growth. Fornonfoamed fluids, BHTP is calculated from
frictional pressure correlations for the particular fluid with
varying degrees of success, Calculation of the BHTP is less
accurate for a foamed fluid than for a nonfoamed fluid because
two-thirds of the volume of a foamed fluid is Nz gas, the volume
of which is dependent on both pressure and temperature. Since
Nz delivery rates are pressure sensitive, errors in BHP estimation
cause control problems with both rate and foam quality. Perforation erosion, if unaccounted for, can signal a need for increase
in rate to maintain BHP. To gain more accurate knowledge
during these high-rate foam fracturing treatments for the production company, real-time, transmitting bottomhole gauges were

Abstract
treatments pumped down 3.5- to 4.5-in. tubing
at up to 80 bbl/min have presented problems in control and
execution, WeI1head pressures used to predict net entry pressure can give erratic results in the absence of good knowledge
of bottomhole pressure (BHP). Since nitrogen (Nz) delivery
rates are pressure sensitive, errors in BHP estimation cause
controI probIems with both rate and foam quality. Perforation
erosion, if unaccounted for, can signal a need for increase in
rate to maintain BHP.
We used a laboratory study of foam in Iaminar and turbulent
flow and a series of field experiments with bottomhole gauges to
calibrate foam fiict ion-pressure in tubulars at very high rates. To
measure the viscosity of foam fluid with Nz at 1,000 psi, we used
a small-scale, flow-loop viscometerthat could be applied in both
laminar and turbulent flow. Foam parameters included foam
qualities from 25 to 80% Nz and guar concentrations from Oto 40
lb~gal.
The effects of surfactant concentrations from 0,2 to
1.07. were also studied.
Field foam treatments pumped at high foam rates were
equipped with bottomhole real-time transmitting gauges. Steprate tests were performed on both neat foam and sand-laden foam
to calcuIate friction pressures. Actual friction pressures from
these treatments were compartid with pressures based on laboratory data. The laboratory correlation can predict tubular friction
accurately for foam fluids up to very high foam rates.
In severaI of the treatments, small perforations were used in
an attempt to provide limited entry stimulation.
With the
bottomhole-gauge
data, we were able to assess the effects of
perforation erosion because of changes in sand concentration.
Results of this study were used to support the design of
lower foam tiac rates. The average rate of 80 bbl/min was
Foam-fracturing

References at the end of the paper.

Burlington

509

HIGH-RATE

FOAM FRACTURING

installed. In add;tion, laboratory flow studies were performed


under very high shear rates so that the dynamic stability of the
foam composition used in these treatments could be determined.

For a small number of small perforations,


PP~> O, and P
> BHTp. If perforation friction is ignored, and we incorrectI~
assume BHTP = P~, then PP~is included by default with PP and
consequently our estimation of P~is erroneous. Therefore, we
must recognize the effect of PP~that is caused by small
perforations and that the magnitude of PP~may change during
the treatment.

Wel~-ore Equations
The objective of measurement of foam behavior is to enable
prediction ofproperties such as pressure and rate of the foam that
enters the fracture. In the following wellbore equation,
BHTP=PW+P~

Experiment
The recirculating, turbulent-flow loop viscometer, shown in Fig.
2, was initially calibrated with water and 20-, 30-, and 40-lb/
Mgal guar-base gel fluids, starting at room temperature. Eight
gal of base-gel fluid were prepared in the mixing tank on the
bench shown in Fig. 2. Base gel from this tank was pumped
through a centrifugal pump and injected into the loop during
recirculation through a large quintuple
pump. The flow-loop
volume is 5 gal. System pressure was set at 1,000 psi with a
backpressure regulator. Afier stable flow rate and differential
pressure were obtained, a step-rate test was perfomed from 5
gal/rein up to the maximum flow rate, or untiI the ~Rerentialpressure transducer reached its maximum.

.(1)

Pr PP~

BHTP is the static BHTP applied to the formation, PWis the


wellhead pressure, P~ is the hydrostatic pressure of the foam
column, P~is the fluid-friction loss in the tubulars, and PP~is the
friction 16ss in the perforations. With a gauge placed inside the
pipe at the bottom, BHTP can be calculated by the equation
BHTP = P, PP~

(2)

where P. is the gauge pressure. Location


measure~ents
is indicated in Fig. 1.

Pw

SPE 39959

of these pressure

1
1
PhPf

P@
I
BHTP

Pg
I

I
I

I
Fig. 2Turbulent-flow loop viscometer.

Fig. lLocation of pressure designations relative to wellbore and


parforationa.

After the quintuple


pump had performed a stey-rate test
up and down, automatic valves switched the high-rate pump out
and the smaII, low-rate, gear pump in-Iine. The low-rate pump
then performed a step-rate test from 5 gal/rein down to 0.5 gal/
min. Samples of the test fluid were taken from the flow loop
afiercirculation,
and viscosity was confirmed on a Farm Model
35 viscometer.
Foam fluids were prepared by filling the flow loop with base
fluid containing 5 gal/Mgal of an anionic foaming agent (AFA).
A nonionic surfactant was sometimes included for flowback
control. Nitrogen gas was bled into the loop at 1,000 psi during
recirculation at 10 gaI/min. Foam quality was determined from

After rearran@ng Eqs. 1 and 2, we get Eq. 3:


Pf=Pw+Ph

-Pg.

(3)

Eq. 3 was used to calculate the actual friction for comparison


to the friction computed by the on-site computer program.
When there are a large number of large perforations, PP~= O,
and BHTP = P~, and so Eq. 3 works well.
Rearranging Eq. 1, we get

[Pr+ ~,J = ?;+-Ph - BHTP .......................... (4)


510

SPE 39959

P. C. HARRIS,

DAP/4L

the specific-gravity reading of the mass flowmeter. Foam texture


was equilibrated dwlng circulation by the time the desired
quality was reached. A step-rate test was performed with the
quintuple pump at a high flow rate and then with the gear pump
at a low flow rate.

M. PIPPIN

= AD(8v/Dy

(5)

where the wall stress (DAP/4L) is a function of pipe diameter


(D), pressure (P), and length (L) and equals the product of the
turbulent-flow intercept (A), the pipe diameter raised to a power
(e), and the shear-rate function (8V/D) raised to the turbulentflow slope (s). V is the bulk linear velocity,
Laminarflow fornon-Newtonian
fluids may be described by
the power-law model

Results and Discussion


The recirculating flow loop was initially calibrated with water
and gel fluids. Fig. 3 shows both laminar- and turbulent-flow
behavior for the different fluids. In the diagram, turbulent flow is
generally indicated where the slope of the line is greater than 1,0,
Laminar flow will have a slope of 1.0 or less. Water has a slope
of 1.78 and is in turbulent flow throughout the shear-rate range
shown in Fig. 3. The 20-, 30-, and 40-lb/Mgal guar fluids have
turbulent-flow slopes in the range of 1.3 to 1.2, in agreement with
previous work.lz Turbulent flow for non-Newtonian gel fluids
was described by

DAP/4L

= K(sV/D)

(6)

where K is the fluid-consistency


index, and n is the flowbehavior index, Laminar-flow apparent viscosities measured in
the flow loop for these base-gel fluids matched values for fluids

10

0.1

0.01
1. .=

100

10
..

Fig.3Water

and finear-guar

Shear Rate (see-)

fluids in recirculating

flow loop.

511

1,000

1 (5,000

HIGH-RATE

- ....... . - .-

10

1 #

-IT

1 1 r

. . ----

..
1

~~
N

2 gal/Mgal AFA

5 gal/Mgal AFA

--A-1()

SPE 39959

FOAM FRACTURING

gal/Mgal AFA

0.1

0.01

10,000

1,000

100

10

Shear Rate (see-)


:- Fig. 4-Seventy-quality

N, water foama at varying

anionic foaming

agent (AFA) concentrations.

100

r , 1
Y

~~
w

1 1 , r
11

/!

.I

25 Quality

r r Illlr

=- 50 Quality

10

60 Quality
I

70 Quality

-o

111

I
~~,,,,,,

80 Quality

11 F

1 1 1 , ,
TTlli
1111

0.1

0.01
1

10

1,000

100

10,000

Shear Rate (see-)


Fig. 5--Water

foams with 5 ga~gal

anionic

512

foaming

agent at varying N2 qualities.

100,000

SPE 39959

P. C. HARRIS,

measured on Farm 35 viscometers, with n values also in the


range of accepted values,
Fig. 4 indicates that though water containing 2 gallMgal
AFA produced a foam, it was not of sufficiently fine texture to
give maxiniu-m~iscosity.
However, waters containing 5 to 10
gal/Mgal AFA all gave similar higher viscosities, indicating that
texture does not _irnprove by adding more surfactant once a
critical surfactant level is present~~
Using a surfactant level of 5 gal/MgaI AFA, we examined
the effects of quality on foam viscosity. Fig. 5 shows that
viscosity increases as quali~ increases. Our previous efforts to
describe foam flow were limited to less than 2,000 secl in
laminar flow. The apparatus used in the experiment described in
this paper allows the shear rate to be extended to 10,000 see] in
turbulent flow. A line with a slope of 1.78 for water in turbulence
was superimposed on the plot. The foam curves all join the
nonfoamed, water turbulence-curve
as a limiting slope. This
observation agrees with the principles proposed in previously
published works.g
The turbulent foam flow equation7 (Eq. 7) is similar to the

Field Application
The Pictured Cliffs and overlying Fruitland formations of the
San Juan basin, in northwestern New Mexico and southwestern
Colorado, comprise genetically interrelated sediments deposited during the last major regression of the Late Cretaceus
seaway out of the western interior U.S. The sands of the
Pictured Cliffs were deposited in marine shoreline systems that
trended northwest-southeast
and were seaward (northeast) of
the continental fluvial (river) sands, silts, clays (shales), and
peats (coals) of the overlying Fruit land formation. The entire
Pictured Cliffs-Fruitland
system rapidly regressed in terms of

to account for the lower densi~ of foams. A is the turbulentflow intercept for foam, and m is the turbulent-flow slope for
foam (which equals the turbulent-flow
slope for the externalphase fluid).
= A p Dc(8V~)m

Guar at a minimal concentration of 20 lb/Mgal was added to


foams of various qualities (Fig. 6). The effect of increasing
viscosity with increasing quality was observed in larninar flow.
The transition to turbulence, with a merging of the different quality
curves, was also observed. There was no apparent breakdown of
foam texture even at shear rates as high as 10,000 secl.
Foam fluids typical of the production companys high-rate
treatments are shown in Fig. 7 (Page 6). The 70% quality foam
with 30 lb/Mgal guar has higher viscosity than a similar foam
with only 20 lb/Mgal guar. The fluids were well behaved throughout the entire shear-rate range, and no breakdown of foam texture
was observed.
Measurement and computation of foam-flow properties
now allows foam friction-pressures
to be calculated in terms of
field parameters. Fig. 8 (Page 6) indicates friction pressures for
water foams and 30-lb/Mgal gel flow in up to 4.5-in. OD tubing.

form of Melton and Malone, with the addition of the term ~x

DAP/4L

M. PIPPIN

, (7)

-..

10

-f-r,

-..

,,,

70%
50%

&

25%
11111
I II !1

0.1

0.01
1

10

100

1,000

10,000

100,000

Shear Rate (see-)


Fig. 6Linear,

20-lb/Mgal

guar foama with 5 gal/Mgal

513

anionic foaming

agent at varying

Nz qualitiea.

HIGH-RATE

10

SPE 39959

FOAM FRACTURING

! ,

---=---20 lb guar, 10 gal anionic


foaming agent
* 30 lb guar, 3 gal anionic E
foaming agent, 2 gal
II
I

H
1

za) 0.1

6
0.01
1

100

10

1,000

10,000

Shear Rate (see-)


Fig. 7-Seventy-quality,

Nz, linear-gel

foama typical

of field use.

1 ,000

100
.

10

100

10

Flow Rate (bbl/min)


Hg. 8-Turbulent-flow
friction for seventy-quslity
Nz with 30-lb/lWgal
according to the principles of Reidenbach et al. 7 and Harris.

514

Iinesr-guar

foam computed

P. C. HARRIS,

SPE 3-9959

geologic time to the northeast. The Pictured Cliffs is a major


tight gas sandstone target, and the Fruitland contains coal-gas
and fluvial-sandstone
pay zones. The Fruitland Coal wells on
which tests were conducted were underpressured,
in contrast to
the overpressured
and highly permeable wells located further
north in the San Juan basin.

M. PIPPIN

In our area of interest, the Pictured Cliffs top is from 1,800


to 2,100 R deep and is about 200 R thick. A foam frac is used
along with a limited-entry fiat design in an effort to stimulate all
of the stacked sandstone layers with one frac stage. The sandstone layers can have different permeabilities and fiat gradients.
Fig. 9 shows the composite wellbore diagram and log for a
typical Pictured Cliffs well (Well A).

,---$.;
----

Gamma

Neutron

Density
...
----------,

---------.

..

,.

<!

------

.1

,.-$

<---. -.,
,,

.
: ---.-,
,---:,

:-----

8 5/8-in. Casing at 92 ft

----

-----,
------,
----.
.
L
2 -...,
Top Kirtland
at 1,227 ft

~------...
-------

<

-.-.
,.=
...
2,,..---.,
..,--- ..-

-,-. -,

Top of Cement
at 1,390 ft

(
--- .;

>

1 l/4-in. Tubing at 1,915 ft

---

---------.,

,,-
.---.*

.-----------,
---------

5 112-in.

at 1,901 ft

Packer at 2,056 ft

% ----....--..=---

.!

Fig. 9-WeIIbore diagram and log for Well A, a typical Pictured Cliffe well.
515

.
>-3

Pictured Cliffs Perforations


1,897 to 2,045 ft
18 Each 0.27-in. Diameter Holes
l/2-in. at 2,058 ft

HIGH-RATE

SPE39959

FOAM FRACTURING

Discussion

Also in our area of interest, the Fruitland top is between


1.700 and 2.000 ft dee~ and about 250 fi thick. A foam frac is
used during the completion of Fruitland Coal wells to contact the
perrneability of the existing cleat system in each coal interval.
Fig. 10 shows the composite wellbore diagram and log for a
typical Fruitland Coal well (Well B).

of Treatment

Data

-7---,

Friction without Perforation Erosion. Four treatments performed on the Fruitland Coal wells (Stages 1 and 2 of Well C and
Stages 1 and 2 of Well D) were similar in design. All treatments
were performed with 52,000 to 65,000 gal of 70-quality Nz foam

Gamma

1,800

,-.
L

8 518-in. Casing at 140 ft

J
.

1 l/2-in.

Tubing at 1,897 ft
1,900
1

,
Fruitland Coal Perforations

1,806

ft

1,894 ft

-.:.=
<

1,938 ft

-.
--* ,
\
I
-1
.

58 Each 0.48-in. Diameter Holes


2,018 ft

2,00si

Packer at 2,152

54 Each 0.48-in. Diameter Holes

$-

ft

l/2-in. at 2,198 ft

,
\:
/
,#---.
Fig. 10-Wellbore

diagram

and log for Well B, a typical

Fruitland

Coal well.

516

SPE 39959

P. C. HARRIS, M. PIPPIN

at rates greater than 50 bbUmin down 4 Yz-in.casing with 54 to


68 perforations of 0.48-in. diameter. The typical foam-fluid
pumping schedule for Wells B, C, and D is listed in Table 1.
Foam rates were increased stepwise in the pad and in the sandIaden fluid stages to assist in friction pressure correlation analysis. The treatment plot for Stage 2 of Well C, shown in Fig. 11,
is typical of this group. The bottomhole gauge pressure showed
ordy minor variations as proppant concentration was changed.
Stable BHTP indicated that perforation diameter was not significantly eroded by the proppant. The friction pressure calculated
real-time on location in the technical control center (TCC)
agreed reasonably well with the actual friction pressure calculated tiom the bottornhole gauge pressure, casing pressure, and
hydrostatic pressure. This agreement tends to verifi the Chan10
correlation as a good predictor of tubular friction pressure.
The actual friction pressure was computed and compared to
the correlation reported by Reidenbach et al. The standard
deviation of the acti friction vaIues was 1d~o. At the flow rates
indicated in Table ~ the average friction pressure was withh
10% of the correlation value reported by Reidenbach et a~.7

Table lTypical Foam-Fluid Pumping


Schedule for Wells B, C, and D
1
1
1
Fluid Stage

Foam Volume
(gal)

4.0 Iblgal

5,000

20,000

Totela

52,000

90,000

I
Flow Rate
(bbUmin)

I
I

30

Well C (Stage 1)

18
18

40

Well C (Stage 2)
Well D (Stage 1)

17

--:

34

42

33

42

33

54

65

Average Friction

18.8i2.2

26.5*3.7

35.7*4.8

45.0i6.O

58*9.9

Correlation Friction

19.5

28.0

37.2

47.0

57.0

Percent Deviation

-9.6

-9.5

9.6

-9.6

9.6

70

--=

mm

40
30

--

20

10
0

19:26

19:33

19:40

19:48

Time (hr:min)
Fig. 1l-Data

log for treatment on Stage 2 of Well C (caaing size la 1,800 ft x 4 %-in.).

517

51

43

.>~:
.-

19:19

32

50

19:12

42

22

2,000--

1,000- -

Well D (Stage 2)

60

1,500- -

70

25

~e~~

P~--

I 60I

25
24

50

80

2,500- -

Friction for Neat 70-Quality Foam


(psi/100 ft)

3,000
.

Table 2-Comparison
of Laboratory Correlation with
Field Friction Data Measured with Bottomhole Gauae

Friction with Perforation Erosion. Well E had 4 %-in. casing,


like Wells B, C, and D. However, Well E was perforated with
ody 14 holes of 0.27-in, nominal diameter for limited entry. As
shown in Fig. 12 (Page 10), the casing pressure was typically
1,000 psi higher than that in Wells B, C, or D, and the bottornhole
gauge pressure of Well E was nearly 2,000 psi higher than that
in Wells B, C, or D even though the foam rate in Well E was 30
instead of 50 bbl/rnin. This supercharged wellbore condition was
maintained until proppant was introduced. Once proppant was
introduced, the casing and gauge pressures initially increased

500-

Sand Volume
(lb)

19:55

HIGH-RATE FOAM FRACTURING

10

..

4,500

~_--..

SPE39959
.

4,000
3,500
3,000
2,500
2,000
1,500
1,000
500

0
10:10

10:03

10:39

10:32

10:24

10:17

Time (hr:min)
Fig. 12Treatmant

data log for Well E (casing size la 2,100 ft x 4 % in.).

70

4,500

BH Gauge

4,000- -

-60

3,500- -50
~ 3,000- a
tf
~ 2,500- 3
% 2,000- g
n

BHTP=BH Gauge-Perf

-40
-30

E
$3
La
:;
~ g
gg
@o
~~

1,500- -*

Perf Friction

Lictlori

1,000- -

-20

gg
2

500- -

.-

~~
010:03
Fig. 13-Seiected

10:10

10:17

10:24
Time (hr:min)

10:32

tre&rtment data from Weii E with perforation friction recalculated.


518

10:39

SPE 39959

P. C. HARRIS,

M. PIPPIN

and then declined

by about 500 psi in an exponential manner.


When proppant concentration was again increased, the pressures declined by another 500 psi as before. A third sandconcentration
increase gave. another decline in pressures, To
offset these pressure declines, the foam rate was increased from
30 to 60 bbl/min. Each time the proppant concentration
was
increased, the perforations were eroded, and the bottomhole
gauge pressure was significantly reduced because of loss of
perforation friction pressure.
Well A was treated down 3 %-in. casing. Consequently,
casing pressures were higher for Well A than for Wells B, C, D,
and E. Only 18 holes with 0Q7 in. diameter were placed in the
casing for Well A. Declines in both casing pressure and bottomhole
gauge pressure were obsemed when proppant concentrations
were changed. These declines were interpreted as perforation
erosion. The bottomhole gauge did not transmit usefil data fulltime throughout the job, and consequently the patterns were not
as easy to recognize for Well A as for Well E. The rate was
increased throughout the treatment to overcome the effects of
perforation erosion. It is our estimation that the actual tubular
friction based on gauge pressure is well modeled by the equation
formulated by Reidenbach et a/. The TCC calculation was 500
to 1,000 psi higher than actual tubular friction, and so the
correlation was intentionally offset by the control operator to
include the effects of perforation friction. The control operator
accomplished this offset by multiplying the Chan correlationio
by an arbitrary factor at the beginning of the job to include the
effects ofperforation friction. Unfortunately, the factor does not
automatically change as the perforations erode. An improved
practice would allow separate calculation of perforation and
tubular friction.
The intermittent data-trammission
problem maybe a reason
why the gauge shouId not be used real-time for job control, and
the TCC should instead depend on internal mathematical calculations to estimate bottomhoIe pressures. Loss of gauge data
would require an alternative control mechanism. However, the

Table 3-Perforation

11

gauge has been extremely useful to help diagnose the perforation-erosion condition.
Perforation Friction
As shown in Eq. 2, perforation friction is included with the
bottomhole gauge pressure. Perforations can be eroded by an
abrasive sand slurry traveling at high velocity .14S!urry velocity
in the Wells B, C, and D was typically 60 ft/s. Slurry velocities
in Well E were in the 200 to 400 Ws range. Highervelocities are
much more erosive to the perforations.
We calculated perforation friction by the method ofEberhard
and Schlosserl Susing the equation
P,f = P,+

0.21 *P~ (BHTP,,m

where An,, is the change in net pressure during the treatment. A


plot ofperforation pressure for Well E is shown in Fig. 13. Once
perforation-friction
changes have been removed from the gauge
pressure, the BHTP function appears much smoother The chart
shows a slight decline in BHTP, rather than the expected increase. This decrease may be due to overcompensation.
Perforation friction can also be calculated from the equation
PP~= 0.2369 *p*(Q/NDpCd)2

Fluid
Volume
(gai)

Bottomhole
Foam Rate
(bbl/min)

Bottomhole
Gauge
(psi)

Actual
Friction
(psi)

3,600

27

4,088

163

System

Enlargement
Perforation

Sand
Concentretlon
(lb/gai)

(9)

where p is the density of the fluid, Q is the total pump-rate, N is


the number ofperforations, DPis the perforation diameter~and Cd
is the discharge coefficient. Knowing the perforation friction, we
can adjust the values of discharge coefficient and diameter to
match the actual perforation friction.15
The left portion of Table 3 shows perforation friction
recorded by the data-acquisition system in Well E. On the right
side of the table, we calculated perforation friction by using Eq.
9 and adjusting the va[ues of Cd and perforation diameter to give

Friction and Estimation of Perforation


for Stimulation Treatment on Well E

From Data-Acquisition

An,,) ........... (8)

9. net
(psi)

Pp,

Ppf

(pei)

(psi)

cd

16

1,286

1,323

0.95

Perforation
Diameter
(in.)

Dsta
No. of
Perforations

Velocity
(Ws)

0.28

14

444

15,000

27

4,145

262

0.5

67

1,313

1,192

0.95

0.29

14

414

20,100

32

3,621

456

1.1

90

807

922

0.95

0,34

14

357

25,500

35

4,143

448

2.4

114

1,303

1,188

0.95

0.34

14

390

32,000

43

3,500

769

2,4

143

699

701

0.95

0.43

14

300

40,000

51

3,438

704

2.3

179

587

687

0.95

0.47

14

297

50,000

58

3,250

1,023

3.3

223

422

498

0.95

0.55

14

247

55,200

60

3,064

1,239

4.2

246

258

284

0.95

0.65

14

183

519

HIGH-RATE

12

FOAM FRACTURING

Follow-Up Results
We used results of this study to support the design of lower foam
frac rates. The average rate of 80 bbl/min was lowered to 40 bbl/
min resulting in a fracturing cost savings of approximately
$7,400 per treatment. The success of these lower rates has been
verified by both after-fiat tracer logs and on-line production.
Gas production from Wells A, B, C, D, and E is detailed in
Table 4.

Nomenclature
PW= wellhead pressure
P~ = hydrostatic pressure of foam column
P~= fluid friction loss in the tubulars
PP~= friction loss in the perforations
P~ = gauge pressure
D = pipe diameter
P = pressure
L = length
A= turbulent-flow intercept
e = power that the pipe diameter is raised to
V = bulk linear velocity
s = turbulent-flow
slope
K= fluid-consistency
index
n = flow-behavior index
x = power that the density is raised to
A= turbulent-flow intercept for foam
m = turbulent-flow slope for foam
A.,, = change in net pressure during the treatment
p = density of the fluid
Q = total pump rate
N = number of perforations
DP = perforation diameter
Cd= discharge coefficient

Table 4-Gas
production after 9 Months from Wells
Stimulated by High-Rate Foam Fracturing

~-WeIl

A (Pictured Cliffs)

Gas Rate
(Macf/D)
I

280

Well B (Fruitland Coal)

400

Well C (Fruitland Coal)

400

Well D (Fruitland Coal)

500

Well E (Pictured Cliffs)

200

39959

4 %-in. casing aIl had a large number of large perforations.


These treatments did not show great variations in pressure with
time as sand was added to the foam.
The other two treatments, on Wells A and E, did show
major effects on friction, wellhead pressure, and gauge pressure versus time as sand was added. These two treatments were
designed as limited entry and had a small number of small
perforations.
As sand was added in stages, the pressure declined rapidly as perforations were eroded to larger diameter.
As wellhead pressure declined, foam rate was increased to
boost the treating pressure. For treatments with significant
perforation friction, the perforation friction should be calculated separately from tubuIar friction.
The anomalous pressure-versus-rate
behavior inhialIy reported by the production company is real, but this behavior
probably results from erosion of perforations by high-velocity
proppant, rather than from a breakdown in foam structure or a
decrease in tubular friction pressure at a very high flow rate.

a retionable match to the perforation friction recorded by the


data-acquisition system. Fora Iimited-entrytreatment
with small
perforations, the perforation discharge coefficient will quickly
increase from 0.75 for a sharply angled tunnel to 0.95 for a
rounded entrance. As sand is added, the hole diameter must
increase to match the decline in perforation friction. With each
increase in sand concentration, the perforation diameter is enlarged. Perforations that began as 0.28-in. holes enlarge successively to 0.34 in., 0.55 in., and finally 0.65 in, by the end of the
treatment. Of course, these calculations are only approximations
and do not take into account variations between perforations. But
this method does give reasonable insight into the process of
erosion as the cause of the rapid pressure changes during a
Iimited-entrytreatment.

Name of Well
(Location)

Conclusions
Field data were collected from six treatments for the production company and analyzed. The fracturing treatments were
designed as 70%-quality foams with 30-lb/Mgal gelling agent
pumped down 1,800 to 2,100 ftof3 %- or4 %-in. casing at rates
greater than 50 bbl/min. Field-treatment
data from the TCC
were merged with bottomhole-pressure
data from a real-time
transmitting gauge. Four of the treatments, on Wells C and D,
gave good agreement between friction pressures from the TCC
programs and the friction pressures calculated with the use of
bottomhole-gauge
data. The average friction pressure calculated wit~the use of the bottomhole-gauge
data was within 10%
of the correlation
value for friction pressure reported by
Reidenbach et af. 7 Consequently,
the correlation
value has
good ability to predict tubular friction. These treatments down

Acknowledgments
The authors would like to thank the managements of Halliburton
Energy Services, Inc. and Burlington Resources Oil & Gas
Company for the opportunity to present this work. Special thanks
are due to Stan Heath for constructing the apparatus and conducting the experimental work. We would also like to acknowledge
the contributions of John Baker, Clay Terry, and Ed Woodall to
the success of the project.

520

SPE 39959

P. C. HARRIS, M. PIPPIN

References
1. Blauer, R.E, and Kohlhaas, C.A.: Formation Fracturing with
Fo~
paper SPE 5003 presented at the 1974 SPE Annual
Meeting, Houston, Oct. 6-9.
Columbia Gas: Massive Hydraulic Fracturing Experiments of
2.
the Devonian Shale in Lincoln Co., WV, final report, Vol. 1,
Contract No. E (46-1)-8014, U.S. DOE, Washington, DC (Jan.
1979).
Gaydos, J.S. and Harris, P, C.: Foam FracturingTheories,
3.
Procedures and Results, paper SPE 896 I presented at the 1980
SPE-DOE Symposium on Unconventional Gas Recovery, Pittsburgh, May 18-21.
Harris, P. C.: Application of Foam Fluids to Minimize Damage
4.
During Fracturin&w paper SPE 22394 presented at the 1992 SPE
International Meeting on Petroleum Engineering, Beijing, Mar
24-27.
5. Penny, G.S. and Conway, M. W.: Coordinated Studies in Support
of Hydraulic Fracturing of Coal Bed Methane, Gas Research
Institute Report No. GRI-94/0398, Section 2.5, Contract No.
5090-214-1983, Gas Research Institute, Chicago, IL, (Aug. 1994).
6.
SheIley, R.F. and Stacy, A,: Production Data Analysis Aids
Fracture Treatment Design/Cherokee Group in Western Oklahom~ paper SPE 37433 presented at the 1997 SPE Production
Operations Symposium, Oklahoma City, Mar. 9-12.
Reidenbach, V.G. et al.: Rbeological Study of Foam Fracturing
7.
Fluids Using Nitrogen and Carbon Dioxide, .SPEPE (Jan. 1986)
31-41.
Harris, P. C.: A Comparison of Mixed Gas Foams with N, and
8.
COZ Foam Fracturing FIuids on a Flow Loop Viscometer,
SPEPF{Ati~FW5)
197202.
Gidley, J.L. er al.: Foamed Fracturing Fluids, Section 9.7,
9.
Recent Advances in HydrauIic Fracturing, Monograph Series,
SPE, Richardson, TX (I 989) 12, 198209.
10. Friction Factor Correlation for C-O-TWO Foam, Halliburton
Services, Halliburton Services Laboratory Report No. M24-

11.
12.

13.
14.

13

BO02-83, Progress Reports Nos. 1 & 2, Duncan, (June 16-17,


1983).
Nolte, K.G. and Smith, M. B.: Interpretation of Fracturing Pressures, JPT (Sept. 1981) 1767.
Melton, L.L. and Malone, W.T.: FIuid Mechanics Research and
Engineering Application in Non-Newtonian FIuid Systems,SPD
(Mar. 1964) 56-66.
Harris, P.C.: Effects ofTexture on Rheology ofFoam Fracturing
Fluids, SPEPE (Aug. 1989) 249-257.
Crump, J.B. and Conway, M. W.: Effects of Perforation-Entry
Friction on the Bottomhole Treating AnaIysis~JP7(Aug. 1988)
1041.

15. Eberhard, M.J. and Schlosser, D.E.: Current Use of LimitedEntry Hydraulic Fracturing in the CodeI1/Niobrara Formations
DJ Basin, paper SPE 25553 presented at the 1995 SPE Rocky
Mountain Meeting, Denver, Mar. 20-22.

S1 Metric Conversion Factors


~. X 2.54*
bbl X 1.589874
psi x 6.894757
lbm/1000 U.S. gal x 1.198264
gal x 3.785412
gal/rein x 6.309020
lb/ft2 (pSf) X 4.788026
bbl X 1.589873
psi/100 h x 2.262059
ft X 3.048*
fi3 X 2.831685
~s X 3.048*
lbm x 4.535924
*Conversion

factor is exact.

E+OO
E-O 1
E+()(l
E+02
E03
E-02
E-02
E-O 1
E-O 1(5)
EO 1
E02
E-O 1
E-O 1

=
=
=
.

cm
m
kPa
4m3

= m
= dmls
= kPa
= m
= kPa/m
=m
= m3
= ds
= kg