New Technology Yields Ultra-High Strength Proppant
Nearly all of the proppant available on the market today can be classified into one of three tiers – sand, resin-coated sand and ceramic. The products contained in these three tiers have served the industry well and have typically covered the broad spectrum of applications required by completions engineers. However, with the development of deeper reservoirs as well as the ongoing look at geothermal and steam-flood applications, there now exists a gap in proppant technology. No conventional proppant can provide the required conductivity at the 20,000 psi closure stresses (and higher) anticipated in the Lower Tertiary formations in the deep Gulf of Mexico. Similarly, no conventional proppant can adequately withstand the harsh chemical conditions in many geothermal and steam-flood applications.
A new proppant has been developed and commercialized to meet these challenges, achieving twice the baseline conductivity of any conventional proppant at these high stresses, and providing additional advantages with increased durability and longevity. This paper will review the step change advancements achieved by this new proppant, including technology improvements in both raw materials and manufacturing process. It will present properties never seen before regarding proppant shape, sizing and strength. Extensive laboratory testing has been completed to demonstrate the superior performance in harsh conditions, and will be presented.
The paper will also present the expected applications for this product, including areas where increased production rates, superior EUR, lower erosivity and reduced equipment wear are a premium. Field applications are beginning as of this writing.
This paper should be beneficial to all engineers and technologists currently working in stress applications greater than 15,000 psi, or other harsh conditions such as steam-flooding and geothermal applications.
Author(s): Terry Palisch, CARBO Ceramics Inc.; Brett Wilson, CARBO Ceramics Inc.; Bob Duenckel, Carbo Ceramics Inc.