Posted: Jan 26, 2012 10:24 AM
Updated: Jan 26, 2012 10:30 AM
Proppants are essential to the success of most hydraulic fractures and often account for the overwhelming cost of the well treatment. According to a recent study by Mei Yang, Lead Research Engineer for Cadre Proppants, proper selection of the right type of proppant and the mass of proppant can lead to a maximum Net Present Value (NPV).
Common wisdom in the oilfield has held that natural sands such as Brady and Ottawa are appropriate selections for reservoirs with lower closure stress or those below 6,000 psi. Conversely, it is widely held that more expensive, manmade proppants such as ceramics should be utilized in higher closure stress environments, invariably deeper reservoirs.
Ms. Yang examined the use of three types of proppants in a gas reservoir in the Eagle Ford Shale: Brady sand, Ottawa sand and ceramic. A fracture optimization p-3D model was used to maximize well performance by optimizing fracture geometry. Post-treatment well performance was estimated using optimized well geometry leading to cumulative production over the well life. Finally, NPV analysis was employed as the criterion to select the best proppant for the job.
The study concludes that in an overwhelming number of wells in North America, and increasingly in other countries, the fracturing of low permeability oil and gas wells can be enhanced by the use of natural proppants. In particular, Brown Sand can be used for large fracture jobs in oil and gas reservoirs resulting in low cost treatment, maximized well performance and NPV.
Ms. Yang will be presenting her study and conclusions in detail at the upcoming SPE 2012 Hydraulic Fracturing Conference in The Woodlands on February 7. Her presentation will be at 9:15 am in Waterway 1-4. Joining Ms. Yang will be Michael J. Economides, University of Houston.