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A New General Model of Fluid Loss

in Hydraulic Fracturing
A. Settari, SPE, Simtech Consulting Services Ltd.

This paper gives a new fonnulation of fluid loss in us to introduce the effects of variable pressure, fluid
hydraulic fracturing that is much more general than the viscosity, and different fluids contacting the wall in the
classical theory while retaining its simplicity. The model filtration process, in accordance with real conditions dur-
allows many parameters to vary during filtration and ing the treatment. Comparison with the experimental
can, therefore, simulate nonlinear effects. data of McDaniel et al. 8 shows that the model is capable
The model has been validated against laboratory data of exhibiting nonlinear behavior matching the laboratory
for Newtonian fluids and crosslinked gels. The results data, which cannot be explained in tenns of the previous
show that the finite length of the core, viscosity simple theory. An important feature of the model is in-
screenout, and shear sensitivity are important parameters corporation of the length of the core, which produces
that. can be represented by the model. The standard nonlinear behavior and can cause large errors in
analysis gives values of leakoff coefficients that will give calculating the true value of the leakoff coefficient when
incorrect, considerably higher leakoff when applied to the simple fonnulas are used.
field conditions. The new model retaihs the simplicity of the classical
leakoff theory, although it is more comprehensive and
Introduction potentially more accurate than the simulation-type
The estimate of fluid loss is an important part of a leakoff calculations, because it is fonnulated in tenns of
hydraulic fracturing treatment design. Although the con- measurable variables.
trol of fluid loss has improved with the use of modem
fracturing fluids, the size of the generated fracture areas Leak-off Models vs. Simulation
increases with the size of a job. Consequently, fluid loss The flow of fracturing fluid into the reservoir can be
can be important even in low-penneability reservoirs for described, at least in principle, by the equations of
large treatments. multiphase flow in porous media. It would thus seem
For design calculations, fluid loss has been treated in natural that an improved treatment of fluid loss would
the past by use of the simplified theory proposed by use numerical simulation of flow in the reservoir with the
Howard and Fast, 1 which expresses the rate of filtration properties and pressure at the wall (behind the filter
perpendicular to a fracture wall as a simple function of cake) as the boundary conditions. This approach, which
leakoff coefficients. we have taken in our current work,6 is indeed more
The advantage of this approach, besides its simplicity, general. It is not restricted by the assumption of one-
is that it can be directly (if not always correctly) related dimensional (10) flow, and it includes the effects of
to experimental data on fluid filtration obtained in a relative penneability and capillary pressure and handles
laboratory. Apart from the correction of the derivation of changing conditions at the fracture face.
the combined leakoff coefficient, 2,3 very little has been However, the simulation approach also has problems.
done to improve the classical theory. First, the process of fracture fluid filtration is more com-
With the recent development of a simulation approach plicated than the reservoir multiphase flow. The proper-
to fracturing design,4,5 it has been recognized that fluid ties of the invading fluid are greatly different from the
loss can be computed directly by solving the basic reservoir fluid and are changing with time because of
multiphase flow equations in porous media. Such an ap- breakers, temperature changes, and mixing. The fluid
proach is more general and does not have many of the can be miscible with one of the resident fluids. The prop-
assumptions that limit the chtssical theory. 6 However, er fonnulation would require solution of three-phase
the computational cost is much higher and the data re- flow (one phase being the fracture fluid) with relative
quired to describe the process are difficult to measure. penneability, capillary pressure, and viscosities chang-
This paper presents a generalization of the classical ap- ing with time. Even though such a fonnulation and solu-
proach that includes the effect of several parameters that tion is possible, the multiphase data are almost impossi-
are variable in the field. The mathematical fonnulation ble to obtain because of the nonlinearity and instability
includes the model of filter-cake behavior developed by of the gels. Consequently, one must make simplifying
the author 6 and the results of the work of Biot et al. , 7 assumptions (e. g., the filtrate assumes the properties of
which improves the calculation of flow in the reservoir. the reservoir water).
The model is then fonnulated numerically, which allows On the numerical level, an extremely fine grid would
be required owing to usually very small penetration of
Copyright 1985 Society of Petroleum Engineers the fracture fluid. To avoid this, we have found it
AUGUST 1985 491
ILR' The fluid loss additives and/or high-molecular-
weight polymers may form a layer of filter cake on the
fracture wall, as shown in Fig. 1. If the fluid pressure is
Pf and the original reservoir pressure P R , the total
pressure drop, tl.p=Pf-PR, is a result of the flow
resistance of the cake and pressure drop in the porous
The classical theory treats the problem as three
separate regions.

Filter cake. In the absence of the porous media, the flow

. velocity through the cake, u w , and the filtration volume
per unit area V w, are given by a square-root relatio~­
ship, V w - Jr.This relation is found experimentally 10
1 -I-
filtration tests with thin wafers. It can be derived from
the assumptions that (1) the deposition of the cake is pro-
portional to the volume passed through the surface; (2)
the permeability of the layer is independent of its
thickness; and (3) flow through the cake obeys Darcy's
law. Then, according to Fig. 2a,

o dV w kw I1pw k wexl1pw
x U =-=_._-= ........... (1)
w dt ILf U w IL f V w

\ from which we obtain the expression 8



x and

Fig. 1-Representation of regions in the analytical leakoff

V w=2C w.Jt+ V spt ' . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (2b)

where ex is a constant of deposition (ex units of volume

passed will deposit unit volume of cake). Spurt loss,
necessary to track the invaded zone on a subgrid scal~ in Vspt. is the integration constant and is equi~alent to the
a piston-like displacement, which resembles the classIcal assumption that volume V spt does not deposit cake.
leakoff theory .
Although direct coupling with the simulation of reser- Filtrate Zone. The flow in porous media is divided into
voir flow is necessary for high-Ieakoff applications (frac- two zones: the part invaded by the fracture fluid and the
tured water injectors, steam fractures), its accuracy for part with the original reservoir fluid. To calculate the
typical fracturing application depends on adjusting the flow through the invaded zone, one assumes (Fig. 2b)
data that cannot be measured to agree with laboratory ex- (1) constant pressure difference, tl.pv =Pw -P c; (2)
periments. In addition, the. mechanism of filter-cake piston-like Darcy displacement with 100% saturation of
buildup is always expressed empirically, and there is lit- fluid filtrate of constant viscosity, ILfilt; and (3) incom-
tle difference between the simple theory .and simulation pressible fluid and rock. These conditions are ap-
if the leakoff is controlled by the filter cake (coefficient proached if there is no filter cake and the resident fluid
C w )' All this gives a good argument for revisiting the ID resistance is small (gas reservoir or evacuated core) such
leakoff theory, which is the subject of this paper. that the backpressure is constant. Then the flow through
the region is instantaneously steady state, and from
Classical Leakoff Theory
Before the new model formulation is presented, it is
useful to summarize the standard theory because the k tl.pv dV v
U v=-'-=- ..................... (3)
development of the equations is sketchy in the literature Milt U v dt
and the underlying assumptions are not always
Consider filtration of a fracturing fluid with viscosity and the equation for the fluid front movement
ILf into an infinite porous medium ~ith ~rmea?ilit~ k
and porosity cb, occupied by a reservOIr flUid of VISCOSIty U v =cbVv =cbluvdt, ....................... (4)


~Lw= Vw/cx

one obtains

uv=C)'Vt,wlthC v =
---, ............ (5a)
2t-tfilt , .

Vv =2C v .Ji. ............................. (5b) U

Reservoir zone. To calculate the flow in the uninvaded 0
zone, one assumes (Fig. 2c) (1) constant pressure, Pc>
and therefore constant Ap c = Pc - P R; (2) compressible
flow with constant total compressibility, C T; and that (3)
position of the front, x e, does not change with time. I .
I ' ..

Then one can consider the position of the front to be the

face of the porous medium and apply the well-known I I , '

analytical solution to calculate the flow rate at the «......J
face. 9,10

Ve =2Ce .Ji. .............................. (7)
It should be noted that to apply Eq. 5 or 7 one must
assume infinite medium. Also, the last condition for C e
cannot be physically satisfied and will be discussed later o
in relation to the work of Biot et al. 7
For calculations, one knows only Pi and P R and is in-
terested in u w' Because of the incompressibility assump-
tion, we have

Uw=Uv=Ue(Xe)=U ....................... (8a)


These conditions can be used to express the fluid loss in

terms of the combined leakoff coefficient Fig. 2-a. Flow through filter cake. b. Flow through the zone
invaded by the filtrate. c. Flow in the reservoir zone.
U=C/.Ji, V=2C.Ji. ........................ (9)

In the case without filter cake, Williams 2 derived the

correct form, (Note that Eq. lOa is quoted with error in Ref. 3). A
similar formula can be derived for the general coefficient
2C e C v C wve , if the spurt volume is ignored (Eq. 6.27 of Ref. 3).
C ve = - - - - - -
McDaniel et al. 8 give the corresponding formula for
Cv+.JC~+4C~ , .................. (lOa)
C wv when C e is not important (i.e., laboratory ex-
periments) and the equation for conversion from C wv to
C wve ·
where Ce and Cv are the nominal coefficients, in which However, all these equations implicitly include all
overall Ap is substituted for Ape and Apv. Eq. lOa is an the previous assumptions, which greatly restrict their
improvement over the previous harmonic mean, accuracy. Because they are all of the form V - C .Jt.
they are not able to explain nonlinear behavior in .Ji, fre-
quently found in laboratory tests. In such cases deter-
CeC v mination of C w from laboratory data is not possible and
C ve = A A ••••••••••••••••••••••••• (1 Ob)
Cv+C e the values quoted are quite arbitrary.

AUGUST 1985 493

The General Fluid Loss Model where if w is a "modified volume"
The new model is developed by considering the flow
resistance of the three regions in Fig. 1 as a function of V w = 0 if V w < V spl ;
several additional variables, and then solving for the
common velocity and unknown pressure drops in each
region by use of Eq. 8. Although it is not necessary, we
have formulated the equations in terms of the leakoff and
coefficients for easier understanding and relating to data.

Flow Through Cake. The development of the equations

for the filter cake follows our earlier work. 6 The Thus, T w is infinite until the filtration volume reaches
resistance of the cake is expressed by the transmissibili- V SPI ' Eq. 15 can be numerically integrated for any ar-
ty, T w, according to bitrary variation of and f-tf to give the filtration V(t)
(neglecting the resistance of the porous media) if the
UW' ............................ (11) physical mechanisms, Eqs. 13 and 14, are specified. The
requirement of T w independent of t:..p suggests a function
If C w is the leakoff coefficient measured in a static test
with a pressure differential t:..p~ and fluid of viscosity fk=t:..p;1 for >D.pmin
ILl, then transmissibility in test, T~, is
T~ =2C w 2 I(t:..p~ V w)' ..................... (12)

The following mechanisms will modify T w for condi- From the assumption of Darcy flow,
tions different from the test.
1. Cake erosion. This effect is well documented 2.11,12
fIL =f-tJlf-tf·
and is measured by a minimum (steady-state) velocity,
Us, which corresponds to an equilibrium cake thickness.
These functions are currently used in the model, for lack
The value of Us obviously depends on the shear rate of of better data. Note that the filtration of the polymers
the flow along the fractllre face, but systematic data are should be a function of the permeability and pore struc-
lacking in the literature. The data of McDaniel et al. 8 ture of the porous media as indicated by the theory of
can be interpreted as supporting this effect, as will be polymers 13 and laboratory evidence. 14 Therefore, the
discussed later. Equilibrium is reached when the volume C w data should be obtained with porous material
of filtrate reaches Vs =2C wlu s and the transmissibility representative of field conditions.
for V w > Vs is constant, which is obtained by using Vs Recent laboratory measurements 15 suggest that the
instead of V w in Eq. 12 .. filter cake is compressible at low pressure differentials
2. Cake compaction. In the early measurements it has and becomes incompressible at high D.p, contrary to the
been observed that filtration is approximately indepen- older data.
dent of t:..p w until D.p w is decreased to 100 to 300 psia Eqs. 15 a~d 16 can be written in terms of a variable
[690 to 2068 kPa]. This can be explained by considering coefficient, C w , which by Eq. 11 is
kw in Eq. 1 a function of such that kw' In
general, we can write Cw=Twt:..pJt.

Flow Through Invaded Zone. The flow in the filtrate

zone is much more complicated than suggested by Eq. 5.
Because of the usually small penetration distance, mix-
3. Viscosity effect. As Eq. 1 indicates, Uw is a function ing and diffusion can play a role even though the
of ILf' and therefore displacement usually has a favorable mobility ratio. The
dispersion zones in porous media 16 are known to be on
the order of magnitude of t:..L v • The polymers will be
screened off on entrance, and the filtrate viscosity, IL fill ,
will generally be lower than /Lf. When the fracture fluid
where the viscosity in the fracture ILf may vary widely is not miscible with the reservoir fluids, relative
from the laboratory value ILl because of different shear, permeability and capillary pressure can also playa role.
temperature degradation, etc. Water-based fluids will also mix with the connate reser-
The above effects are introduced in Eq. 12 to give voir water. Finally, 'the displacement will be under vary-
ing pressure because of changes in p f and t:..p w.
These effects can be introduced in the flow equation,
Eq. 3. The effects of relative permeability are approx-
imated by using the effective properties ke and ¢e in
and place of k and ¢. The effects of dispersion and mixing
can be accounted for by using a "mixed" viscosity
IL M filt = f(f-tfilt, f-tmix' t:..L mix ), ............... (17)



Z 0
0 z
...a: w
e:J w
a: II

II .---...,
L____ _

Fig. 3-Representation of flow in the filtrate zone for the
general model.

2 4 II II 10 12
tim •. min
where Mmix is a mixing-zone length (Fig. 3). In addi-
tion, we will consider the practical case when the wall is Fig. 4-Effect of step change in pressure (A) and of finite
contacted by several batches of fluids with distinct length of core (8) on leakoff.
viscosities /.t 1, /.t2 ... , as shown in Fig. 3, and arbitrary
variation of tlp v .
As derived in Appendix A, the filtration velocity ~an
then be expressed in terms of a variable coefficient, C v: If all the variables are constant, Eq. 18 will reduce to
the standard expression. However, with changing condi-
tions, integration of Eq. 5a with instantaneous C v will
uv=Cvl.Jt=C v · (~)I.Jt, ............. (18) give erroneous answers. For example, the effect of a step
C avg change in tlp v and of the length of the core are shown as
Cases A and B in Fig. 4. The core and fluid data used
where C v is the instantaneous coefficient here are the same as for Test 3 discussed in the next sec-
tion. Note particularly the large error that results if we

Cv(t)=~ kecPetlPv(t) , .................... (19)

neglect the finite length of the core.

2/.te(t) Flow in the Reservoir. The correct solution of this flow

region is more complicated because it is transient. The
C avg is an average C v , and /.te is an effective viscosi- two major assumptions made to obtain Eq. 6 are the sta-
ty. The ke and cPe are adjusted for mobility and satura- tionary boundary and constant pressure Pc. Recently,
tion of the displacing fluid. The coefficient C avg is Biot et at. 7 obtained the solution for the correct formula-
simply tion with moving boundary between the regions. Under
the standard assumptions about other variables as in the
C avg =VvI2.Jt, .......................... (20) preceding section, they derived an expression for C ve in
the case of constant tlp,
where Vv is again a modified filtration volume
C ve =Cv~ ~ 1+~
, ......................... (21)
where ~ is a function of
v v = V core if V v > V core' . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (21 )

and V core is the filtration volume per unit area at which

the front Xc reaches the end of the core,

The effective viscosity is a simple average of viscosities

/.ti weighted by the volume filtered for each fluid, as They claim that Eq. 21 gives much higher leakoff than
derived in Appendix A. the old formula (Eq. lOb).
AUGUST 1985 495
where k rf is the average relative permeability to the
filtrate in the invaded zone. The effects of capillary
pressure are minimized in most cases by the large
pressure differences created during fracturing.
In the absence of data on the filtrate, the values of S her
and krf can be estimated from wateiflood data for water-
0.' f,- EQUATION bObl based gels.
F2 - EQUATION ('001 Other limitations result from the assumption of ID
flow and infinite extent of the reservoir in the direction
perpendicular to the fracture face. These limitations will
be important only for very high leakoff situations
(waterflood fractures) and are not important in fracturing
treatments .
•0' 1L-_-'--..L-..L..J...LL..I.J.:'.,.....---''--.L......JL..J.....J....I...LLL_--'---I--L...L.Ji..J...L.I.J
.01 0.1 R 10
Implementation and Numerical Solution
Fig. 5-Comparison of three methods of calculation of Cve. At any time, the filtration velocity u and pressure drops
across the regions must satisfy Eqs. 8a and b. Because of
the nonlinearities now introduced in the coefficients T w
and C v , analytical expression is no longer possible. The
While this is true, our analysis in Appendix B shows solution procedure is as follows.
that most of the difference seen is between the Eqs. lOa 1. At time tn, we know the pressure drops t:..p!, t:..p~,
and lOb. Biot's formula (Eq. 21), in fact, agrees very and t:..p e' total filtration volumes V! and V~, fluid
well with Eq. lOa except in cases when leakoff is pressure Pf' and viscosity /J-f for the next time increment
dominated by Ce and cTt:..Pve is large (Fig. 5). As shown t:..t.
in Appendix B, Biot's solution can be used to correct Eq. 2. Calculate T!+l and C~+l, which satisfy the
lOa for the moving boundary if C Tt:..P ve < 1 by replacing equations
Ce by

C =C .
- A [ 7r J'h . ............. (22) and
e e 3(I-c Tt:..Pve)
w+1 =Tn+l
w =u ve n+1 / rt,
n+l =C ve" t ..... . (23b)
Use of Eg. 2? gives the same leakoff as Eq. 21 in the
lim!! for Ce/C v ->0. In addition, we have found that use where T!+l is given by Eq. 16 and
of C e in Eq. lOa approximates very accurately the more
complicated formula (Eq. 21) in the range of practical
data. C~+l = _________ _
The effect of variable pressure is not as easy to correct. Cv+v'C~+4C~ ............ (24)
However, this is important only if Ce controls the filtra-
tion (C e ~ Cv' C w), which is rarely the case in practice. - -
In any case, our calculations presented in the following In Eq. 24, C v is given by Eq. 18 and C e by Eq. 22,
section, as well as laboratory experience, suggest that t:..p with the overall pressure difference t:..p~+l instead of
will stabilize under constant conditions. t:..p v and t:..p e. Because the terms in Eq. 23b depend on
the unknown boundary pressure, Pw, and volumes,
Limitations of the Model V n + 1 (through the constraints on V wand V v ), the solu-
The model just described is limited by the assumptions tion must be obtained iteratively.
remaining in its formulation. One of the more important 3. Integrate the loss volume,
of these is the assumption of piston-like displacement in
the invaded zone, which replaces the more realistic
model of two-phase Darcy flow with capillary and
relative permeability description. To assess the accuracy
V~ + 1 = V vn
+ i
t n+1
udt.. ................... (25)

of this approximation, it would be necessary to obtain

detailed saturation profiles of injected filtrate. If these Apart from the necessity of the solution of Eqs. 23, the
were known, the present model could be adjusted by us- model retains the simplicity of the classical leakoff
ing effective porosity to filtrate as calculations. On the other hand, admitting this complica-
tion allows us to vary, during the calculation, a number
of important parameters in a multistage job: fracturing
pressure, Pf; fluid apparent viscosity, /J-f; wall-building
where S we is the connate water saturation and S her is the properties of each fluid; and viscosity reduction by a
average residual hydrocarbon saturation left in the invad- cake (/J-filt//J-f). In addition, the constraint ofEq. 21 takes
ed zone. Similarly, the effective permeability will be into account the effect of the length of the core.
In our numerical implementation, Eqs. 23 are solved
by a Newton-Raphson technique. The integration of Eq.
25 is done by a trapezoidal rule except for the first



Core Match by Us Match by f~

III k L ilp Shear rate Us Us
Test Fluid (cp) (md) (psia) (sec -1)
</> (cm) (ft/min) ~ (ft/min) ~
1 Glycerol 361 0.2 0.10 6.0 1,000 0 0.0 1.0 0.0 1.0
2 Glycerol 262 0.2 0.28 1.0 550 41 0.00066 1.0 0.00032 1.93
3 Crosslinked gel 0.2 0.20 2.0 300 82 0.00087 1.0 0.00032 2.47
123 0.0011 1.0 0.00032 3.15

timestep, where the singularity is integrated out, which and this trend can be seen in the later part of the curve.
yields VI =2C I ill. The iterative scheme is very depend- The core length alone cannot explain the large initial rate
able, and the model has since been successfully in- of leakoff, which could be produced in the model only
tegrated into a general-purpose hydraulic fracturing by assuming that initially the effective viscosity is much
simulator. lower.
Once this is recognized, a reasonable agreement can
Testing of the Model be achieved by several assumptions. Fig. 6 shows three
In the first instance, the model was tested against the different simulations: (1) initial batch of a fluid with
results obtained previously by numerical simulation, 6 P-f= 10 cp [0.01 Pa' s] followed by the test fluid; (2)
with the results being very similar. Because of the simple larger batch of P-f=26 cp [0.026 Pa' s]; and (3) mixing
nature of the examples, these tests did not involve any of zone with P-mix = 1 cp [0.001 Pa' s], because the sample
the nonlinearities built into the model. was saturated initially by water, and V mix =2Vcore '
For comparison with actual laboratory data, we have The last of these gives slightly lower filtration, but the
used the data of McDaniel el al. 8 They measured the trend ofthe curve follows the data very well. The results
filtration of linear fluid as well as crosslinked polymer clearly indicate that some kind of mixing or dilution
under various shear rates and used cores of different mechanism is present, which can be included in the
lengths. We have simulated two tests with Newtonian leakoff model in a very simple fashion.
fluid (glycerol) and one test with crosslinked natural
polymer. The pertinent data are summarized in Table 1; Test 3. The filtration is controlled in this case by the
the experimental results are those of Figs. 2 and 3 of filter cake and less so by the core, and there is a marked
Ref. 8. dependence on shear rate.
To begin with, the data for zero shear are linear
Tests 1 and 2. Because glycerol is a Newtonian fluid in .Jt,
and does not form a cake, one would expect the results to which agrees with C w theory with Us =0 (no cake ero-
follow the classical theory. This is observed for Test 1 at sion). To match the test, it was necessary to assume that
ilp=I,OOO psia [6.89 MPa], which is matched by the the filtrate viscosity was completely screened out and
model with C w =0 as shown in Fig. 6. The fluid front is equal to water viscosity. We have learned subsequent-
still within the core at the end of the test and the behavior ly* that the same conclusion has been reached experi-
is linear in .Jt. mentally. The match gave a value of C w = 0.002 ftf
The second test was conducted with a V2-in. [1-cm] ..fmin, [0.00001 mf../s], which was then kept for all
core, which gives a PV, V core' of about 2.3 mL. The runs with shear.
leakoff should therefore be linear with I for V> V core, "A. Deyserkar, private communication. Dresser Titan, (Houston), 1982.


7.5 TEST 3


1 - - - -- BATCH OF 10 cp
ME 5,0 2----- BATCH OF 28cp 40
o SHEAR. sec-


B 10 12 14 16 18 10 12 14 16 18
time,mtn'l2 1/2
ttme. mln

Fig. 6-Filtration of Newtonian fluid-comparison of data Fig.7-Filtration of crosslinked gel-comparison of data

and simulation for Tests 1 and 2. and simulation by variable us'

AUGUST 1985 497

P,-PR III Illilt Cw - - DATA

Stage (psia) (cp) (cp) (ft/min '(2) 50 -- - - SIMULATION.

Pad 600 1.0 1.0
Fluid I 800 20.0 10.5 0.01 40
Fluid II 900 100.0 1.05 0.001 ~E
,. 30
!lp0= 1.000 psia. f!.P'in= 100 pSia, Us =0.0005 Itlmin,
f!.L mix = 0.0, and cross-sectional area = 1 sq It.



• 10 12 14 18 18
The behavior with shear is physically much more com- tim.:min'l'l

plicated. It was found by numerical experiments that the

observed dependence on shear rate could be matched in Fig. 8-Filtration of crosslinked gel-comparison of data
and simulation by variable Cwo
two ways.
1. One can assume that the steady-state filtration
velocity, Us, depends on shear rate. The results of the
match are shown in Fig. 7, and the values of Us are in
Table 2. The assumption is reasonable, but the results the end are similar for both hypotheses, but the early
cannot be considered conclusive because of the strong pressure history is completely different. The measure-
shear sensitivity of the gel. To isolate the mechanism of ment of pressures in addition to filtrate volume will be
the cake buildup, data similar to these should be important and should be included in future laboratory
measured with linear wall-building fluids, which is ex- work.
perimentally difficult.
2. One can assume that the coefficient C w itself is a
function of shear rate in the fracture. This can be Model Application
justified in several ways. One possible argument is that The cases shown in the previous section show the ability
the material of the cake will have different structure and, of the model to represent nonlinear filtration. Also, they
therefore, different kw, if the fluid was sheared at dif- bring out the peril in characterizing the process in terms
ferent rates. Another possibility is the effect of the shear of a single number, as is the practice in the service in-
on the flow through the cake, where at least at the en- dustry. For the case of Test 2, fitting a straight line
trance the fluid will be nonlinear. We have simulated the through data gives apparent C v almost twice the actual
effect by a constant nominal C w equal to that of the static value, as a result of the end effect. Use of this coefficient
test, and by varying 11/ according to the shear. Fig. 8 for field calculations would then give larger leakoff,
shows the results of a match. Note that the values of ap- while the present model will automatically correct for the
parent viscosity that can be calculated from the theory of difference. Similarly, the values of the leakoff coeffi-
non-Newtonian flow in porous media 17 would be on the cient quoted in Table 2 of Ref. 8, which have been ob-
same order as I1ffor the match in Table 2. tained by fitting the ends of the curves, will give con-
While the results in Figs. 7 and 8 have similar siderably higher fluid loss compared with the data if ap-
character, the pressures behind the cake, Pw, shown in plied for the entire time period (for example, 100 mL vs.
Fig. 9, are more revealing. The stabilized pressures at 65 mL for the highest shear rate).


- - - VARIATION OF u. ----, §

I ~
1 ~.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1~3 J 9
I ~
-------------- u FLUID J I FLUID.
2000 I .02 :I
, _____________
50 I z
--'" ~ I "'Ci:I
~---- 0 SHEAR,Me"'
o 4 • -. ~
ti ... ,M'fl
12 M
'. .. • •
Fig. 9-Pressures behind cake for the two methods of mat- Fig.10-Example of calculated fluid loss for a multifluid
ching the f,ltration of crosslinked gel. treatment.


Use of the model allows us to deduce the basic values C vc = combined leakoff coefficient for the porous
of C wand IL filt, which can then be used to calculate media
filtration at conditions different from the test, provided C w = wall-building coefficient (C m )
that the variation resulting from other parameters is F 1,2,3 = functions defined in Appendix B
calibrated by laboratory data. The amount of dynamic k = reservoir permeability
laboratory tests necessary for a given fluid could poten-
kw = filter-cake permeability
tially be greatly reduced if the dependency on shear rate,
!:.L core = core length
temperature, etc., is established with the help of match-
ing with the model. !:.Lv = depth of the invaded zone
Once the filtration is characterized in terms of the Pc = pressure at the filtrate front
basic properties from laboratory tests, the same model Pf = pressure in the fracture
must be used to compute loss in the field. As an example P R = initial (undisturbed) reservoir pressure
of the generality of conditions possible, Fig. 10 shows a P w = pressure at the face (behind cake)
hypothetical case of a fracture wall contacted by three t:..p = pressure drop
fluids. The data, shown in Table 3, resemble a pad P = dimensionless compressibility, C p1.p
followed by two fluid stages. The model predicts R = ratio CclC v
simultaneously the filtration volume, velocity, and t = time
pressures between the regions, which all vary during the
T w = filter cake transmissibility
u = Darcy flow velocity
Conclusions V = filtrated volume per unit area
V c = fictitious volume per unit area of reservoir
A new mathematical formulation of fluid loss has been
developed, implemented numerically, and tested against fluid flowing through the cross section Xc
laboratory data. The main results of the theoretical V mix = "mixing" volume
analysis are as follows. Vs = spurt volume per unit area
1. The new model removes many of the assumptions V v = volume of filtrate in the invaded zone per
restricting the applicability of the classicalleakoff theory unit area
while it retains its simplicity. The formulation allows V w = volume passed through cake per unit area
time variation of pressure, fluid viscosity, and filtration ex = cake deposition constant
characteristics during the process and models the effects IL f = fracture fluid (apparent) viscosity
of finite core length, viscosity screenout and mixing, and
ILfilt = filtrate viscosity after passing through cake
cake erosion.
ILmix = "mixing" viscosity
2. The model can produce nonlinear behavior, which
cannot be obtained from the classical theory, and thus IL R = reservoir fluid viscosity
can be used to analyze the laboratory data. ~ = parameter defined by Eq. B-1
The main results of the comparison with the data of 4> = reservoir porosity
McDaniel et al. 8 are as follows.
1. The finite length of the core causes large deviation Subscripts
from linear behavior in.Jt. Standard analysis will pre- e = effective
dict too much leakoff in the field while the present model f = fracture
yields values unaffected by the length of the core.
filt = filtrate
2. Leakoff sensitivity to shear rate can be obtained in
the model by variation of cake erosion or of the effective hcr = hydrocarbon residual
coefficient. More laboratory research is required to i = batch of filtrate fluid with distinct properties
determine the mechanism. N = total number of fluid batches
3. The difference between the fracture fluid and filtrate R = reservoir
viscosity resulting from screenout is important and can spt = spurt
be obtained by matching laboratory data. v = invaded zone (filtrate)
The model is suitable for integration in fracture design w = filter cake (wall)
programs and it is computationally extremely efficient.
M = mixed
The author thanks A. Deyserkar and R. McDaniel of n = time step number
Dresser Titan for their discussions and input during the
course of this study.
- = modified value to account for additional
= value of leakoff coefficient related to the
overall pressure drop, Pf-P R
Note: All volumes are per unit cross-sectional area ex-
o = reference or laboratory value
cept in results of laboratory experiments.
CT = total reservoir compressibility 1. Howard, G.C. and Fast, C.R.: "Optimum Fluid Characteristics
Cc = reservoir flow coefficient (C n ) for Fracture Extension," Drill. and Prod. Prac., API, Dallas
Cv = filtrate displacement coefficient (C I ) (1957).

AUGUST 1985 499

2. Williams, B.B.: "Fluid Loss From Hydraulically Induced Frac- This can be expressed more conveniently by a recurrence
tures," J. Pet. Tech. (July 1970) 882-88. relationship,
3. Williams, B.B., Gidley, J.L., and Schechter, R.S.: Acidizing
Fundamentals, Monograph Series, SPE, Richardson, TX (1979)
4. Settari, A.: "Simulation of Hydraulic Fracturing Processes," Soc.
Pet. Eng. J. (Dec. 1980) 487-500. where V N- I and (/Le)N-I are the volume and the effec-
5. Settari, A. and Cleary, M.P.: "Three-Dimensional Simulation of
Hydraulic Fracturing," J. Pet. Tech. (July 1984) 1177-90.
tive viscosity at the end of the previous batch. Thus, only
6. Settari, A. and Price, H.S.: "Simulation of Hydraulic Fracturing the cumulative values need to be saved. It is easy to See
in Low-Permeability Reservoirs," Soc. Pet. Eng. J. (April 1984) how Eq. A-3 can be generalized for a continuous change
141-52. in viscosity.
7. Biot, M.A., Masse, L., and Medlin, W.L.: "A Two-Dimensional To express U v in the form of Eq. 9, we write Eq. A-2
Theory of Fracture Propagation," paper SPE 11067 presented at
the 1982 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, New as
Orleans, Sept. 26-29; to be published in Jan. 1986 Production
8. McDaniel, R.R. et al.: "An Improved Method for Measuring
Fluid Loss at Simulated Fracture Conditions," Soc. Pet. Eng. J.
(Aug. 1985).
9. Collins, R.E.: Flow of Fluids Through Porous Materials, Van
Nostrand Reinhold, New York City, 1961.
=c v (~)/Jt=Cv/Jt. ............. (A-5)
C avg
10. Carslaw, H.S. and Jaeger, J .C.: Conduction of Heat in Solids, se-
cond edition, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1959.
11. Hall, C.D. and Dollarhide, F.E.: "Effects of Fracturing-Fluid Note that this equation is valid for any ilp v and therefore
Velocity on Fluid-Loss Agent Performance," J. Pet. Tech. (May is general, provided C v is evaluated with the current
1964) 555-60; Trans., AIME, 231. ilpv' However, if the length of the porous media is
12. Hall, C.D. and Dollarhide, F.E.: "Performance of Fracturing
Fluid Loss Agents Under Dynamic Conditions," J. Pet. Tech.
finite, Eq. A-2 is valid only for LlLv < LlLcore' or
(July 1968) 763-68; Trans., AIME, 243. V v < V core' and for larger time it must be replaced by
13. Stright, D.H. Jr.: "The Use of Polymers for Enhanced Oil
Recovery, A Review," Applications Report AR-2, Petroleum
uvLlLcore/Le U v Vcore/Le
Recovery Institute, Calgary, 1976. ilp = - - - -
14. Gulbis, J.: "Dynamic Fluid-Loss Study of Fracturing Fluids," v k cf>k
paper 82-33-18, 33rd Annual Technical Meeting of CIM,
Calgary, 1982. Both cases can be treated by Eq. A-5 with a modified
15. Roodhart, L.P.: "Fracturing Fluid, Fluid-Loss Measurement volume
Under Dynamic Conditions," paper SPE 11900 presented at the
1983 SPE European Petroleum Conference, Aberdeen, Sept. 6-9;
to be published in Oct. 1985 Soc. Pet. Eng. J ..
16. Perkins, T.K. Jr. and Johnston, O.c.: "A Preview of Diffusion
and Dispersion in Porous Media," Soc. Pet. Eng. J. (March 1963) and
70-84; Trans., AIME, 228.
17. Ikoku, C.U. and Ramey, H.J. Jr.: "Transient Flow of Non-
Newtonian Power-Law Fluids in Porous Media," Soc. Pet. Eng. Vv=Vcore if V v > Vcore' . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A-6)
J. (June 1979) 164-74.
Finally, we will describe a simple method of adjusting
APPENDIX A the viscosity /Lfilt for mixing. We define a "mixing
Derivation of the General Coefficient C v length," LlLmix' and the "mixing viscosity" of the fluid
ahead of the front, /L mix' Then the mixed viscosity of the
Let us first consider displacement with constant ilp v , displacing fluid, /Li\\t, will change continuously from
where batches of several fluids are introduced with /L mix when V c = 0 to the full viscosity /L filt at
viscosities /LI, /L2" ·/LN, as shown in Fig. 3. If we Vv = V mix = LlLmixlcf>. We used a simple linear mixing:
denote by VI, V 2 ... V N the filtered volumes per unit
area of each fluid, and assume that the batches do not
mix, we can calculate the distances LlL I ... LlL N, and
pressure drops are given by Darcy's law,
The viscosity /Lmix may be reservoir water viscosity or a
viscosity of a previous stage when mixing of stages is
considered. Different mixing rules (such as the one-
quarter-power rule) may be used for miscible fluids. The
where U v is the common velocity. We now want to find concept of the mixing can also approximate the effects of
an effective viscosity that will give the overall pressure multiphase flow (i.e., changing mobility).
drop, ilpv, over a distance LlLv:
.............. (A-2) Comparison of Formulas to Calculate C vc
cf>k We wish to compare Eqs. lOa, lOb, and 21, in which

~= 1/2 [CTilP vc -1 + [(CTilp vc -1)2 +

/Le= (~/LY)lVv . .................... (A-3) 8CTil~VC/Lfilt ] V2]. ..................... (B-1)
For this purpose, it is convenient to write them as quires either high reservoir-fluid viscosity (which is
C vc = Cv . F, and compare the functions F, which will be unlikely for high-compressibility fluid) or a low
functions of two parameters: fracturing-fluid viscosity.
Assuming that P < 1, we can derive the limiting value
of C ve according to Eq. 19 for R-+O and compare it with
the limit ofE~s. lOa and b, which is C vc =C c . For small
and R, ~;"(7r/3)R l(l-P) and F3 ;,,~, and therefore in the
, - - ; - A -

Ccv(R=O)=~ ~ C c =C c . ............ (B-2)

Then 3(I-P)

F I =RI(l +R) (Eq. lOb), This is an interesting result because it shows clearly the
effect of including the moving boundary between the
F 2 =2RI(I+v'1+4R 2 ) (Eq. lOa), regions. Eq. B-2 shows that the error is very small if the
compressibility is small, and grows with increasing P.
~=1/2 [P-I+v'(P-l)2 + (47r/3) R2 ], Because Eq. B-2 gives us a correction for R-+O, and
Biot's formula has the same limit for large R, one would
and expect that use of C c in Eq. lOa would give a good ap-
proximation to Eq. 19. This is indeed true in the en-
F3 =v'~/(l +~) (Biot et al. Eq. 21). tire range of Fig. 5 as long as P< 1, as can be verifie\~
by calculating "corrected" F 2 by substituting
The plot of these three functions is shown in Fig. 5. It [7r/3(I-P)] '12 • R for R in the formula.
is apparent that Eq. lOa gives higher values of leakoff
than Eq. lOb, with the maximum difference of-23% at SI Metric Conversion Factors
• CclC v -1. Biot's formula depends on the compressibili- cu in. X 1.638 706 E+Ol
ty parameter P. In the limit for P=O, the curve F3 is psi x 6.894 757 E+OO
practically identical with F2 and Biot's method gives the
same result as Eq. lOa. Only for fluids with large com- SPEJ
pressibility and for Cc < Cv are there large differences. Original manuscript received in the Society of Petroleum Engineers office Feb. 28,
1983. Paper accepted for publication July 19, 1984. Revised manuscript received
This is, however, a physically unlikely situation, Sept. 17, 1984. Paper (SPE 11625) first presented at the 1983 SPE Low Permeability
because to have a large compressibility and small R re- Symposium held in Denver March 14-16.

AUGUST 1985 501