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Proppant Selection: The Key to

Successful Fracture Stimulation


C.T. Montgomery. SPE, Dowell Schlumberger
R.E. Steanson, SPE, Dowell Schlumberger

Summary
Many proppants and mesh sizes are available for the closure stress on the permeability of the proppant, fac-
design of a fracture stimulation treatment. When tors such as embedment, proppant distribution, and resul-
proppants-sand (Ottawa, Texas Mining, Unisil), baux- tant fracture width must be considered to determine the
ite, intermediate-strength proppants (ISP), resin-coated conductivity of the fracture at reservoir producing con-
sand (RCS), precured resin-coated sand (PRCS) and Z- ditions.
prop-are considered, the principal questions seem to be, 3. Reservoir permeability. This value is used to deter-
"Which one do I select?" and "How should I use it?" mine the fracture conductivity required to use the pro-
Maximized, adequate, long-term productivity in low- posed fracture penetration effectively.
permeability reservoirs depends on fracture penetration 4. Drainage radius. This value is used, as is reservoir
and fracture conductivity. How to obtain deeply penetrat- permeability, to determine the length of fracture needed.
ing fractures that are contained and adjacent to the porous A long fracture is needed if the well spacing is large and
interval is one of the questions that challenge the indus- the reservoir permeability is low.
try. Another is how to obtain sufficient fracture conduc-
tivity to use the deep penetration effectively. Typical Well
This is a state-of-the-art paper that attempts to bring To show how the principles that are described in this paper
the current technology on proppants together. This paper work, we will use a typical gas well with the properties
discusses how to determine and to obtain sufficient frac- described in Table 1.
ture conductivity. Fracture conductivity is a function of
the proppant properties (i.e., strength, roundness, and Effect of Reservoir Permeability on Fracturing. In
fines content), closure stress, drawdown rate, formation deep, hot, low-permeability sandstone reservoirs, devel-
properties (i.e., proppant embedment conditions), and opment of deeply penetrating fractures with adequate con-
resultant propped fracture width. The engineering prin- ductivity is important. Once reservoir permeability is
ciples involved in the selection of the proper type and known, it is important to optimize the fracture length and
amount of proppant are supported with a case history. conductivity by comparing treatment cost to expected pro-
duction. The pressure drop along a propped fracture that
Introduction has an insufficient flow capacity will limit the production
As we explore for reserves at depths exceeding 10,000 from a well. A fracture with excessive fracture capacity
ft [3,048 m], the tendency is to find reservoirs that have is not effective.
low permeability and contain natural gas. Because of the Fig. 1 can be used as a guide in the selection of the
low permeability of the formation, the natural rate of pro- desired effective fracture length based on reservoir per-
duction and the drainage area are often too low to pro- meability. When the reservoir permeability is greater than
vide a commercial well. about 0.1 md, the desired fracture lengths are generally
Propped hydraulic fracture-stimulation treatments that 1,000 ft [305 m] or less. In low-permeability reservoirs
create deeply penetrating, highly conductive flow chan- (k g < 0.1 md), production can be almost directly propor-
nels can be used to increase both the rate of production tional to fracture length before boundary conditions are
and the drainage area. 1 reached. With adequate fracture flow conductivity, the
Four factors control improvements in productivity (i.e., longer the fracture, the higher the producing rate. For ex-
the productivity index) provided by hydraulic fracturing. ample, in very-low-permeability reservoirs (i.e., 0.001
1. Propped fracture area (sq ft). This is the area of the to 0.0001 md), fracture half-lengths of 2,500 to 4,000 ft
fracture adjacent to the porous interval that has been [762 to 1220 m] can be used to increase production ef-
propped (length times height). All the fracture area adja- fectively. Fig. 1 shows that in the typical well example
cent to the porous interval that is created may not be with a permeability of 0.03 md, a 1,300-ft [396-m] frac-
propped, and only the fracture area adjacent to the produc- ture half-length should be created and propped to achieve
tive porosity that is propped is considered an effective maximum production.
area.
2. Conductivity of the propped fracture (md-ft). This Effect of Fracture Conductivity and Fracture Length
is a measurement of how well the propped fracture con- on Production. Fig. 2 was generated with a reservoir
ducts the produced fluids. In addition to the effect of simulator 3 and shows the effect of fracture conductivity
(Cf ) and fracture half-length on production in dimension-
Copyright 1985 Society of Petroleum Engineers less terms. Dimensionless time (t D) is related to the
DECEMBER 1985 2163
TABLE 1-PROPERTIES OF A TYPICAL GAS WELL TABLE 2-FRACTURE CONDUCTIVITY
IN THE MORROW FORMATION AT A
Depth, It 12,000 PROPPANT CONCENTRATION OF 2 LBM/SQ FT
Permeability (kg), md 0.03
Height of pay zone, It 100 Depth = 14,060 ft
Porosity (<1», % 6 Closure stress = 10,000 psi
Fracture gradient, psi/ft 0.85
Gas gravity 0.65 Fracture Fracture
Gas compressibility at 6,000 psi, psi - 1 1.02x10- 4 Width Conductivity Permeability
Gas viscosity, cp 0.02 Proppant ~ (darcy-ft) (darcy)
Bottomhole pressure, psi 6,000 20/40 sand 0.177 0.11 7.7
Bottomhole producing pressure, psi 2,000 20/40 bauxite 0.157 3.14 240
Bottomhole temperature, of 250
Well spacing, acres 640

producing time (t) and fracture half-length (Lf ), as shown fracture, proppant strength, and formation hardness and
in Eq. 1. strength. The half-length of the fracture (Lf ) must be op-
timized by variation of the fracture conductivity (kpb) and
2.634 X 10 -4 kft by the ability to keep the fracture in the zone.
tD= ...................... (1) As can be noted in Fig. 2, a CjD of 10 or greater pro-
2
cPJl.c,L f vides essentially the same production performance when
dimensionless times are greater than 0.1, which would
Production rate (q g) is proportional to dimensionless be about 209 days in real time in the example well. The
rate (qgD), as shown in Eq. 2. well would perform essentially the same with a CjD of
10 to 500 after 209 days of production; therefore, the ex-
kht:.p pense of a CjD of 500 is not justified by an incremental
llqgD= ....................... (2) increase in production. Therefore, the fracture should be
141.2qgJl.{3 optimized for a CjD of 10. As longer fractures are created
to increase production, the fracture conductivity (kpb)
The dimensionless fracture capacity (CjD) is shown in must be increased to maintain a CjD value equal to or
Eq.3. larger than 10.
Fig. 3 shows the fracture conductivity needed to give
kpb a CjD of 10 for various formation permeability and frac-
C j D = - - . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (3) ture lengths.
kEHLf In the typical well example with a formation permea-
bility of 0.03 md and with a selected fracture half-length
Eq. 3 is the key equation in the optimization of frac- from Fig. 1 of 1,300 ft [396 m], the fracture conductivi-
ture conductivity, fracture half-length, and formation per- ty must be at least 425 md-ft [128xlO- 3 md·m].
meability. The permeability (k EH) of the formation is
fixed. The permeability of the proppant (k p) varies with How To Determine the Actual Bottomhole Producing
closure stress, proppant size, proppant composition, and Fracture Conductivity. The best method to determine
proppant quality. The width of the producing fracture (b) fracture conductivity is to use core samples from the well
varies with closure stress, amount of proppant within the in question to prepare core halves that simulate fracture

10,-------------------,

o ~ IJ-
';; 4 DIMENSIONLESS
ui FRACTURE CAPACITY
f-
..:
-5Ol 3 c:
(fJ
c: (fJ

j'"
UJ
2 -'
Z
1.~~..!.t_ ~ ----~..... o khIJ.p
Ui
e
:J
1~------~~
iTI 10-'
qgO - 141.2qgJ.l)3

kh.l.Ip')
U ::;
o 1,424q g JlzT
~
qgD -
0 I
LJ..
-' 1 khl.lmlp))
I ..: - : - -
Extremely
Tight
Very
Tight T'ghl I Near
Tight Conventional
u
~ 10- 2
qgD 1,424q g T
2.634x 10 -4kl
<l.
U to = ¢p,CrL~
UJ
c: k,w
md 0.0001 0.001 0.005 0.01! 0.05 0.1 1.0 10.0 100.0 C'D = kL;
0.03
p-darcies 0.1 5 10 100 1.000 10.000 100.000
In-Situ Gas Permeability DIMENSIONLESS TIME. to

Fig. 1-Required fracture half-lengths vs. formation perme- Fig. 2-Log-log type curves for finite-capacity vertical
ability. 2 fractures-constant well bore pressure. 3

2164 JOURNAL OF PETROLEUM TECHNOLOGY


TABLE 3-FRACTURE CONDUCTIVITY TABLE 4-FRACTURE CONDUCTIVITY REDUCTION CAUSED
IN THE GRANITE WASH FORMATION AT A BY EMBEDMENT OF BAUXITE (20/40), VICKSBURG
PROPPANT CONCENTRATION OF 2 LBM/Sa FT FORMATION

Depth = 13,075 ft Depth = 10,712 ft


Closure stress = 9,000 psi
Closure
Fracture Fracture Stress Conductivity (darcy-ft)
Width Conductivity Permeability ~ 0.5 Ibm/sq ft 1.0 Ibm/sq It 2.4 Ibm/sq It 4.5 Ibm/sq ft
Proppant (in.) (darcy-tt) (darcy) 1,000 3.5 2.81 2.71 3.18
20/40 sand 0.200 0.47 28.2 3,000 1.2 1.76 1.92 2.71
20/40 bauxite 0.162 2.46 182.5 5,000 0.08 1.48 1.76 2.53
12/20 bauxite 0.162 5.62 416.5 7,000 0.05 1.06 1.40 2.28
9,000 0.02 0.91 1.28 2.17

faces and to measure the fracture conductivity in the lab- kpw-(k EH »( (L,»( (10)
oratory under closure pressure with different amounts and Fracture Capacity = Formation Permeability x Fracture Hall-Length x c",
types of proppants. 1.0~rr------------------,
Tables 2 through 4 present laboratory-generated data
from cores that were taken from the depths and forma-
tions indicated. The data show that, even though the frac-
"0
ture width is greater in the fractures propped with sand E
owing to the lower specific gravity of sand, the fracture >-.
f-
conductivity of the fractures propped with bauxite is from :::i
5 to 27 times higher because of bauxite's strength and iii
4:
w
limited proppant crushing. ~ 0.1
a::
The fracture conductivity normally cannot be measured w
a.
in the laboratory by use of this technique because of the Z
o
expense and difficulty of obtaining actual cores. Fracture i=
4:
conductivity normally is calculated by assuming a width ~
a::
based on the pounds of proppant per square foot of frac- ou..
ture area multiplied by the measured permeability of the
proppant at the producing closure pressure conditions.
There have been numerous papers and brochures writ-
400 800 1,200 1,600 2,000 2,400 2,800
ten on the measurement and values of proppant permea-
FRACTURE HALF-LENGTH,lt
bility in the laboratory. 4-12 The measurements usually are
made from hard metal plates that simulate the fracture Fig. 3-Fracture conductivity for formation permeability vs.
faces. The reported values vary widely, probably because fracture length.
of differences in the testing procedures. Figs. 4 through
18 show average values and error bars from as many as
17 different tests and nine different sources for sintered
bauxite, intermediate-strength bauxite, fused ceramic (Z- conservative but should be sufficient for most cases. In
prop), ReS, and the best-quality fracturing sand. It is deep gas wells, the most severe closure stress condition
hoped that the average values are more representative of happens early in the life of the well because the amount
the actual value that should be used than the extremes the of stress required to open the fracture is at the highest
literature shows. value. If the well is allowed to produce at the maximum
rate or is swabbed hard during the initial completion, an
Closure Pressure extremely low pressure within the fracture will be creat-
The permeability of the proppant within the fracture var- ed temporarily and will cause an unduly high closure
ies with closure pressure. The fracture closure stress es- stress.
sentially is the stress required to open the fracture minus
the bottomhole producing stress within the fracture, as
Fracture Width
shown in Eq. 4. This closure stress is available to close
the fracture and will tend to reduce fracture conductivity. Experience has shown that propped fractures greater than
0.25 in. [6.35 mm] are very difficult to achieve, particu-
a=gjD-PBHP' ........................... (4)
larly at the deeper depths. A good place to start a design
is to assume a width of 0.1 in. [2.54 mm]. This width
can be varied somewhat to allow for larger conductivi-
The fracture gradient (gj) and the reservoir abandonment ties if required. Fracture width can also be calculated from
pressure commonly are used to calculate the maximum Eq. 3 if kp is known.
closure stress on the proppant. As the reservoir pressure
is depleted, both the fracture gradient and bottomhole
pressure (BHP) are reduced but at different rates. There- Case History
fore, effective stress on the proppant is increasing. 13 To show how these principles work, we use the typical
Because of this increase, the above practice is somewhat well parameters and an assumed propped width of 0.1 in.
DECEMBER 1985 2165
1o,ooo,...--------------------, 10,000,----------------------,
Test Conditions:
Test Conditions:
Test Fluid = 2% KCI Water
Test Fluid = 2% KCI Water
Number of Tests = 8
Number of Tests = 4
Test Procedure = API Recommended Practices
Test Procedure = API Recommended Practices

1,000 1,000
'"
(I)
'0
~
'"
(I)
'0
"0 ~
:; "0
I- :;
::::i I-
[II ...J
<t:
w iii
<t:
:2 w
a: :2
w a:
a.. 100 UJ
a.. 100

100~-~2~--4~-~6~--8~-~1~0-~1~2~--714
2 4 6 8 10 12 14
CLOSURESTRESS,psix1~ CLOSURESTRESS,psix 1~

Fig. 4-Permeability VS. closure stress of 12/20-mesh best- Fig. 5-Permeability VS. closure stress of 20/40-mesh best-
quality fracturing sand. quality fracturing sand.

[2.54 mm] to calculate from Eq. 3 that the proppant per- If the well were swabbed hard after the fracture treat-
meability (k p ) required to achieve a CjD of 10 is ment, the pressure within the fracture could be less than
2,000 psi [13.8 MPa] and the closure stress even greater
than 8,200 psi [56.5 MPa]. For example, if PBHP were
brought down to 500 psi [3.4 MPa] because of swabbing
or high initial production rates, then
a=(0.85 psi/ft) (12,000 ft)-500 psi
where
=9,700 psi.
b (propped width) =0.1 in. [2.54 mm] Table 5 shows the kp of the various proppants at these
two closures according to data from Figs. 4 through 18.
and With closure pressure of 8,200 psi [56.5 MPa], any of
the available proppants except 40170-mesh sand could be
k = _(k_E_H)_(L-'.f_)(_10_) used to obtain the required kp of 48,750 md. This num-
p b ber is very optimistic, however, because of several ill-
defined factors. Cooke 4 has shown that hot brine causes
a two- to three-fold permeability reduction in sand and
(0.03 md)(l,300 ft)(lO) bauxite proppant packs.
Although the data presented in Figs. 4 through 18 were
0.1 m.
run with 2 % KCI and at various temperatures, we believe
some k p reduction will occur as a result of hot forma-
=48,750 md. tion brines. A second factor is that the published data on
kp (including flow data in this paper) were generated with
The closure stress this well will experience can be calcu- short time intervals between each measurement. Fig. 19
lated from Eq. 4. shows the effect of time at closure pressure. In Fig. 19,
hardened metal plates simulated fracture faces. As can
be seen, the fracture conductivity continued to be reduced
for several months before the sandpack reached equilib-
=(0.85 psi/ft)(l2,000 ft)-2,000 psi rium. This is because of sand particles breaking and geo-
metric particle rearrangement to the minimum pack
=8,200 psi. porosity.
2166 JOURNAL OF PETROLEUM TECHNOLOGY
10,000.----------------------, 10,000,---------------------,
Test Conditions: Test Conditions:
Test Fluid ~ 2% KCI Water Test Fluid ~ 2% KCI Water
Number of Tests ~ 1 Number of Tests ~ 1
Test Procedure ~ API Recommended Practices Test Procedure ~ API Recommended Practices

1,000 1,000
(/) (/)
Q) Q)
.~ U
til ~
"0 "0
~ ~
!:::: !::::
--l --l
CD CD
-<
w
-<
w
~ ~
a: a:
w ~ 100
a... 100

10
o 2 4 t--------g---m---i1"'2-.-'14 10~-~--~--~-~~-~~-~-~
o 2 4 6 8 10 12 14
CLOSURE STRESS. psi x 10 3 CLOSURESTRESS.psixl~

Fig. 6-Permeability VS. closure stress of 40/70-mesh best- Fig. 8-Permeability VS. closure stress of 12/20-mesh ISP.
quality fracturing sand.

10,000,--------- TABLE 5-k p VALUES


Test Conditions: FOR VARIOUS PROPPAIIITS
Test Fluid ~ 2% KCI Water
Number of Tests ~ 3
kp kp
Test Procedure ~ API Recommended Practices at 8,200-psi at 9,700-psi
Proppant Closure (md) Closure (md)
12/20 sand 73,000 46,000
20/40 sand 78,000 48,000
40/70 sand 43,500 35,000
20/40 RCS 118,000 64,000
1,00
12/20lSP 880,000 720,000
if)
Q)
16/20lSP 430,000 350,000
~
20/40lSP 212,000 177,000
til 40/70lSP 94,000 79,000
"0
~ 16/20 Z-prop 600,000 350,000
f- 20/40 Z-prop 235,000 217,000
--l
40/70 Z-prop 92,000 88,000
CD
-<
W 12/20 bauxite 990,000 850,000
~ 16/20 bauxite 800,000 700,000
a: 20/40 bauxite 260,000 235,000
~ 100
40/60 bauxite 74,000 65,000

10'-----_---'-_ L _ _L - _ - J_ _~
o 2 4 6 8 10 12 14
CLOSURE STRESS, psi x 10 3

Fig. 7-Permeability VS. closure stress of 20/40-mesh PReS.

DECEMBER 1985 2167


1o,ooo..-------------------, 10,000..-----------------------,
Test Conditions:
Test Fluid = 2% KCI Water
Test Conditions:
Number of Tests = 1
Test Fluid = 2% KCI Water
Test Procedure = API Recommended Practices
Number of Tests = 1
Test Procedure = API Recommended Practices

1.000 1.000
en
en Q)
Q)
"0 "0
:0 :0
"0
"0
~
~
!::: !:::
~
~

iii iii
« «
w
w ::2:
::2: a:
ffi 100 w 100
a..
a..

100~-~2--~4--~6~--8~-~1~0~-1~2~-~14 100~-'2~-~4~-'6~-'8~-·1~0--.1~2--714
CLOSURESTRESS,psix1~ CLOSURESTRES~psix1~

Fig. 9-Permeability vs. closure stress of 1S/20-mesh ISP. Fig. 11-Permeability vs. closure stress of 40/70-mesh ISP.

10,000.--------------------,
10,000.--------------------, Test Conditions:
Test Fluid = 2% KCI Water
Test Conditions: Number of Tests = 1
Test Fluid = 2% KCI Water Test Procedure = API Recommended Practices
Number of Tests = 14
Test Procedure = API Recommended Practices

1,000
1,000
en
Q)
'"
"~ .~
~ ct!
ct! "0
"0
~
~ I--
I--
~
~
[Ii
[Ii
«w «w
::2: ::2:
a: a:
w w 100
a.. 100 a..

100~----~2----~4----~6~---8~---1~0~--~12~--~14 10~-~--7--~~-~-~7_--~~__7
o 2 4 6 8 10 12 14
CLOSURESTRESS,psix 1~ CLOSURE STRESS, psi x 10 3

Fig. 10-Permeability vs. closure stress of 20/40-mesh ISP. Fig. 12-Permeability vs. closure stress of 1S/20-mesh fused
ceramic (Z-prop).

2168 JOURNAL OF PETROLEUM TECHNOLOGY


1o,ooo1,------------------- 10,0001,--------------------
Test Conditions: Test Conditions:
Test Fluid = 2% KCI Water Test Fluid = 2% KCI Water
Number of Tests = 8 Number of Tests = 7
Test Procedure = API Recommended Practices Test Procedure = API Recommended Practices

1,000 1,000
(f) (f)
<D <D
() .~
;0 <IS
"0 "0
~ ~
~ ~
~ ~
iIi co
<I: <I:
ill ill
::2: ::2:
ffi 100
a: 100
ill
~ ~

10~-~---L--~ _ _L__~_ __L_~ 10~-~--L--~--~--L-~~---J


o 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 o 2 4 6 8 10 12 14
CLOSURESTRESS,psixl~ CLOSURESTRESS,psixl~

Fig. 13-Permeability vs. closure stress of 20/40-mesh fused Fig. 15-Permeability vs. closure stress of 12/20-mesh sin-
ceramic (Z-prop). tered bauxite.

10,000,----------------------,
Test Conditions:
Test Fluid = 2% KCI Water 10,000r-----------------------,
Number of Tests = 1 Test Conditions:
Test Procedure = API Recommended Practices Test Fluid = 2% KCI Water
Number of Tests = 2
Test Procedure = API Recommended Practices

1,000
(f)
<D
1,000
(f)
·0 Q)

;0 ·u
"0 ~
"0
~
~ >
!:::
~
~
co co
<I: <{

---
ill w
::2: ::2:
a: a:
~ 100 w
~ 100

100L---L2--~4--~6~--8L---l~0--~12~-14 1010~--~2--~4--~6--~8~-~10~-~lL2---14

CLOSURESTRESS,psixl~ CLOSURE STRESS, psi x 103

Fig. 14-Permeability vs. closure stress of 40/70-mesh fused Fig. l6-Permeability vs. closure stress of 16/20-mesh sin-
ceramic (Z-prop). tered bauxite.

DECEMBER 1985 2169


1o,ooo.---------------------,
Test Conditions: A = 20/40 Sand, 75°F
Test Fluid = 2% KCI Water B = 10120 Sand, 250°F
Number of Tests = 17 80
5,000 psi Closure Stress
Test Procedure = API Recommended Practices
60
A
40 B

20
1,000
(j)
Q) 2 3 4 5 6 8 9
'0
TIME, months
~
"0
>-- Fig. 19-Percent of original conductivity vs. time.
t::
_l

CO
<{
W A third factor reducing conductivity is embedment.
~
Several authors 11,14 have shown that embedment im-
ffia.. 100
proves the retention of permeability at higher closure
stresses because the stress is spread over a larger portion
of the particle. Rather than having a point-to-point con-
tact, as with the linear flow apparatus, the proppant
embeds into the rock as closure increases, thus spread-
ing the stress over a larger area. This embedment is a func-
tion of the modulus of the rock; therefore, final
conductivity is a function of the modulus. On the oppo-
site side, embedment allows partial fracture closure that
100~--72--~4--~6~--8~--1~0--1~2~--l14 will reduce fracture width and conductivity. As described
CLOSURESTRESS,~ix1~ earlier, a fourth factor is the effect of increased closure
owing to the increases in effective stress. Other factors
Fig. 17-Permeability vs. closure stress of 20/40-mesh sin- that influence final conductivity (but are very difficult to
tered bauxite. define) are the effects of gel residue in the fracture, move-
ment of formation fines into the fracture, and very-Iong-
10,000r------------------~ term degradation of the proppant. In deep well comple-
Test Conditions: tions, we believe the final recommended conductivity
Test Flujd = 2% KCI WateJ
Number of Tests = 7
needs to be two to three times higher than the theoretical
Test Procedure = API Recommended Practices designed conductivity. Half the mentioned proppants
would not meet this criterion in this case, and a wider
producing fracture would have to be created if these prop-
pants were used.
In the example of the typical well, the 48,750-md kp
would become 97,500 to 146,250 md. Therefore, it should
1,000 be recommended that 12/20-, 16/20-, or 20/40-mesh ISP,
(j)
Q)
Z-prop, or bauxite be used. It then becomes a matter of
u
~ economics to obtain adequate k p at the lowest cost.
"0
;,.:-
f- Proppant Volume
_l

CO Figs. 20 and 21 show the proppant concentration in


<{
W pounds per square foot of fracture area vs. the width of
~ the fracture for various proppants. These figures assume
c::
w that there is no embedment and that the porosity remains
a.. 100
constant for each proppant as its recommended closure
stress range. For the example well, with 20/40 bauxite
and a fracture width of 0.1 in. [2.54 mm], 1.2 Ibm (prop-
pant)/sq ft of fracture area [5.86 kg/m 2 ] is required. The
predicted propped fracture area would be fracture half-
length (l,300 ft) [396 m] X net fracture height (l00 ft)
[30.5 m] x2 fracture wings =260,000 sq ft [24,155 m 2 ].
This number times the 1.2lbm/sq ft [5.86 kg/m2] equals
100~--~2--~4--~6~-~8--1~0~-~12~-~14
the 312,000 Ibm [141 521 kg] of bauxite required for this
treatment.
CLOSURESTRESS,~ix 1~
Economics of Typical Well Example
Fig. 18-Permeability vs. closure stress of 40/70-mesh sin-
tered bauxite. A two-dimensional, single-phase reservoir simulator (see
2170 JOURNAL OF PETROLEUM TECHNOLOGY
A-Sand feb '" 36.5 (CS range = 1,000 to 4,000 psi) 0.7 A- RCS '</J = 30.8% @ CS range 6.000 - B.OOO psi
B-ISP frP =36.6 (CS range = 6,000 to 10,000 psi) 8 - Z Prop '</J = 37.5% @CS range 10.000 - 12.000 psi
0.7 C-Bauxite op=36.7 (CS range=8,000 to 15,000 psi)
0.6
0.6

0.5 C 0.5
C
I I
I- 0.4
C I- 0.4
0 0
~ ~ 0.3
0.3

0.2 0.2

0.1 0.1

0
2 3 4
2 2
POUNDSPROPPANT/H FRACTUREAREA POUNDS PROPPANT/ft FRACTURE AREA

Fig. 20-Pounds of proppant per square foot of fracture vs. Fig. 21-Pounds of proppant per square foot of fracture vs.
fracture width using 20/40-mesh sand, ISP, and fracture width using 20/40-mesh PRCS and fused
bauxite. ceramic (Z-prop).

Fig. 22) shows that the ex~mple well in an undamaged, Input Parameters
Depth - 12,000 ft Bottom·Hole Pressure (BHP) - 6,000 pSI
unstimulated condition would produce approximately 8 % Permeability (kg) = 0.03 md Bottom-Hole ProdUCing Pressure (BHPP) - 2,000 psi
Height of Pay Zone = 100 ft Bottom-Hole Temperature (BHT) ~ 25QoF
of the initial gas in place from the 640-acre [259-ha] PoroSIty (41) "0 6% Wellhead Temperature (T wh) gO°F
drainage area in 20 years. With a fracture having a Gas Gravity
Tubing Size
0.65
2-7/8 in
Well Spacing - 640 acres

1,300-ft [396-m] half-length and a dimensionless flow ca-


pacity of 10, that same well would deplete 34% of the
17,500
initial gas in place in the same amount of time. The ini-

------
tial rates for the fractured well would be higher than those
for the same well unfractured. Ultimate recovery from
the well would also be greater. These two factors are key
14.00 0

--- -- -- Fractured

---
C/O =10
points in the determination of the economics of a single L r =1,300ft

well or of required well spacing. 10.500

/"
//'
---
7,000
Conclusions ,,"
/"
1. The optimized proppant for a well can be selected /

-
/
3.500
on the basis of the conditions found in that well. /
- ~d

'--
/
2. Both the effective fracture length and fracture con- I
~
~
ductivity can be selected and calculated by the design 0
12 16 20
engineer. Time (yr)
3. As shown on rock samples, fracture conductivity is
affected significantly by closure stress. Fig. 22-Comparison of the cumulative production vs. time
for the case study well in a fractured vs. unfractured
condition using a two-dimensional, single-phase
Acknowledgment reservoir simulator.

We are indebted to Dowell Schlumberger for the oppor-


tunity and permission to publish this paper.
kp = proppant permeability at producing closure
conditions, md
Nomenclature L f = fracture half-length, ft [m]
b = producing fracture width, ft [m] t:.p = pressure drop, psi [kPa]
Ct = total system compressibility, psi - 1 [kPa - 1 ] PBHP = bottomhole producing pressure, psi [kPa]
CfD = fracture capacity, dimensionless qg = production rate, STBID [stock-tank m 3 /d]
D = depth, ft [m] q gD = dimensionless flow rate
gf = current fracture gradient, psi/ft [kPa/m] t = time, hours
h = formation thickness, ft [m] t D = dimensionless time
k = permeability, md {3 = formation volume factor, RB/STB
k EH = effective horizontal formation permeability, [res m 3 Istock-tank m 3 ]
md jJ, = viscosity, cp [Pa' s]
kf = formation permeability, md a = closure stress, psi [kPa]
DECEMBER 1985 2171
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(Sept. 1983).
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(OF-32)/1.8 °C
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Frac Treatments," paper presented at the 1978 ASME Meeting,
x 1.450 377 E-04
Pet. Div., Houston, Nov. 1978. psi/ft x 2.262059 E-Ol kPa/m
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2172 JOURNAL OF PETROLEUM TECHNOLOGY