As the development of tight/unconventional and partially depleted gas reservoirs has increased, so has the demand for more-innovative hydraulic-fracture designs. Operators are increasingly placing proppant with slickwater, linear gel, or hybrid fracture designs. While the benefits of these designs typically are attributed to a reduction in gel damage of the proppant pack, many operators mistakenly believe that the resulting fractures are not conductivity-limited.
Because few (if any) models on the market can adequately model the propagation of a slickwater fracture along with the associated proppant transport and deposition, it becomes difficult to optimize these fracture designs. This has led many operators to assume incorrectly that only small-diameter sand or resin-coated sand may be placed in these types of designs, and that these products supply ample flow capacity.
Author(s): Patrick Handren; Denbury Resources Inc. LP, Terry Palisch; Carbo Ceramics