Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Ultra-deepwater and Unconventional Resources Program)
Creating Fractures Past Damage More Effectively With Less Environmental Damage
DaniMer Scientific, LLC
CSI Technologies, LLC
Texas A&M University
Ampak Oil Company
Burleson Cooke, LLP
The goal of this project is to demonstrate in the field a novel, cost effective and environmentally friendly fracturing process. The primary target for the application are domestic independent oil and gas producers who drill and produce 60% of oil and natural gas wells in the US and who do not have access to technology facilities nor resources of the majors and mega independents. The process could apply to a large number of wells where small fracturing treatments, less than 50,000 pounds of proppant, are necessary to fracture past damage. These smaller fracturing treatments make up approximately 13,000 fracturing treatments per year or 40% of all fracturing treatments in the US (Spears and Associates “US Small Remedial Frac Market”, April 5 2007).
The novel fracturing technique (now referred to as NFT) has two key benefits over conventional fracturing methods in that it is more effective than traditional fracturing treatments thus enhanc-ing production rates and ultimate recovery from reservoirs, and it has less impact on the envi-ronment. The process is more efficient than conventional treatments because of a novel residue free fluid, so after a fracturing treatment, the fluid cleans up leaving no permeability plugging residue. The process is also designed to deliver optimal proppant pack distribution resulting in more effective proppant pack. This project will also demonstrate that this process is more envi-ronmentally friendly than conventional treatments because it utilizes substantially less fluid vo-lume than conventional treatments. It is anticipated that fluid volumes will be reduced by 60% – 80% when compared to traditional treatments. Secondly, the frac fluid itself is comprised of a biodegradable polymer that will hydrolyze in an aqueous environment to monomeric forms of organic materials. This eliminates the need for transition metal cross-linkers, breakers and other commonly used chemicals required with traditional cross-linked frac fluids. Also, the process is unique in that normal levels of hydraulic horsepower and mixing equipment are not necessary to perform treatment due to modified material placement technique, resulting in a smaller footprint. This will reduce the amount of equipment traffic, required foot print and number of roads neces-sary to provide for accessing the location for fracturing treatments. An extensive prior research project has been performed and indicated that this technique is very promising.
The key deliverable of the project is to utilize prior laboratory R&D to demonstrate the effec-tiveness of this process in the field. The field demonstration will take place on a small producer well in central Texas. The field application process will be documented and the results trans-ferred to independent oil and gas companies and small service providers throughout the US.
CSI Technologies (a leader in providing technology and innovative solutions to the oil and gas industry) has been conducting laboratory testing of this product and will participate in the process scale-up development and field demonstration. CSI participates in the Environmentally Friendly Drilling (EFD) program run by HARC. HARC has identified this NFT as a key envi-ronmental impact in their project. CSI and DaniMer have been in collaboration for two years. That effort has taken the initial idea to the point where the technology is now ready to apply as a process in the field. Both CSI and DaniMer are providing cost share to the project in the way of reporting all prior test data and process development data from initial testing of the idea. A con-sortium comprised of Ampak Oil Company and other small producers interested in the process will be formed to focus on wells in the Clayton Field and surrounding fields in South and Southwest Texas. In addition operators in the Permian Basin area have shown substantial interest in the process. There will be cooperation between the Environmentally Friendly Drilling project, HARC and Texas A&M University in the modeling of a hydraulic fracturing simulator using this NFT which currently does not exist for this type of application. This project will build upon the initial work performed by Texas A&M.
Successful completion of the project will have significant impact on the industry as the process could be applicable to up to 40% of fracturing treatments in the US. Demonstration of this new process would apply to an extensive amount of small producer wells in the United States. The process is applicable to wells that require treatments of less than 50,000 pounds of proppant and have substantial casing/ tubular configurations that allow for adequate volume for modified placement technique.
Principal Investigator: Steven Wann