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Against the Grain: Three Proppant Delivery Approaches That Buck the Status Quo

An illustration of a recently introduced adhesive coating designed to keep sand grains in place as high-pressure wells flow back. Source: Hexion Inc.

Pumping proppant down a wellbore is the easy part.

Ensuring that the precious material does its job is another matter.

A trio of field studies recently presented at the 2020 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) highlight in different ways how emerging technology and old-fashioned problem solving are moving the industry needle on proppant and conductivity control.

These examples include the adoption of unconventional completion techniques in a conventional oil field in Russia and work to validate the use of small amounts of ceramic proppant in North Dakota’s tight-oil formations. Both studies seek to counter widely held assumptions about proppant conductivity.

A third study details a recently developed chemical coating that Permian Basin producers are applying “on the fly” to sand before it is pumped downhole. The new adhesive material has found a niche in helping operators mitigate the amount of sand that returns to surface during flowback, a sectorwide issue that drives up completion costs and later may spell trouble for artificial lift systems.

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Against the Grain: Three Proppant Delivery Approaches That Buck the Status Quo

Trent Jacobs, JPT Digital Editor

01 January 2021

Volume: 73 | Issue: 1

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