Proppant Transport Research Council: 2018 Project Overview

In 2017, PropTester established the Proppant Transport Research Council, a group of established leaders within the field of hydraulic fracturing from Operating Companies, Service Companies and Proppant and Chemical Manufacturers. The goal of the Council is to identify one-year projects and conduct research to successfully test proppant transport behavior for various completion methods utilizing PropTester’s facility and the new Proppant Transport Laboratory.

The 2017 project studied how proppant distributes in a complex network at higher rates and lower viscosity utilizing 45 Proppant Transport Tests on 15 different types of proppants in water on a single test design.

As the 2017 project ends, the PropTester team is preparing for the next study. The vision for the 2018 project will focus on how proppants behave at low-shear in single runs for various viscosified fluids and limited proppants using three separate test designs. Research Council members will participate in two data meetings, are invited to observe tests conducted at the PropTester facility and will have access to all test data throughout the year. The scope of work for the 2018 project is outlined below.

2018 Test Designs:

Long Linear Flow
Low velocity to simulate low-shear settling and distribution.

Long Linear Flow with Leak-Off
Moderate-to-low viscosity with ports to simulate leakoff in the fracture system due to matrix or micro-fractures. The setup will include flow-through screens to simulate lateral width screen-out and a closed end to simulate fracture tip screen-out.

Slot Flow: Open System and with Geometrical Variances
Study slot flow performance of various rates for a range of fluids and limited proppants with effects of injection/discharge location, as well as unspecified geometrical inclusions meant to simulate fracture direction variation.

Technical Findings for the Project:

1. Study how proppant moves, settles and banks through an open slot at low-to-zero shear with differing viscous and elastic fluids.
2. Identify proppant transport characteristics through an open channel as fluid leaks off and shear decreases, with dead-end and open ended set up.
3. Determine how changes in geometry (incline, decline, dead-end, drop-off, climb-over) affect proppant placement in slot flow.

Testing will begin in the first quarter of 2018. New candidates for membership on the Proppant Transport Research Council are now being considered. For questions or further information, please contact PropTester.