Proppant Transport Technology
Propel SSP® proppant transport technology is a step change in the decades-old challenge of evenly distributing proppant throughout the full length of a created hydraulic fracture. The technology props open the fracture from wellbore to tip, maximizing the fracture surface area to increase hydrocarbon production.
Now, you can eliminate additives, including guar, crosslinkers, and friction reducers for increased hydraulic fracturing efficiency using a simplified fluid system. Once Propel SSP technology—comprising the polymer coating wrapped around the proppant—is in the fracture, a conventional breaker acts on the polymer, leaving the proppant in place.
Propel SSP is a game-changing advancement that allows the proppant to go farther in every fracture. With improved proppant transport, you’ll propel production with more hydrocarbon recovery and achieve better NPV for your well. Learn more below.
- How the Technology Works
- Superior Proppant Transport
- Eliminate Fluid Sweeps in Slickwater Fracs
- Improves Hydrocarbon Production
- Simplifies Downhole Chemistry
- Maintains Suspension After Pumping Shutdowns
- Uses Conventional Breakers
- Reduce Cost per BOE
- Reduce Formation and Proppant Pack Damage
Propel SSP relies on a polymer coating applied to a proppant substrate. Upon contact with water, the coating hydrates and swells rapidly to create a hydrogel around the proppant substrate. The hydrogel layer, which is primarily water, is attached to the proppant particle and provides a nearly threefold increase in the hydrostatic radius of the proppant. This reduces the effective specific gravity to about 1.3, compared to 2.6 for a typical uncoated sand grain. Lab testing shows that original proppant substrate crush strength and conductivity are not affected by the coating process, transport through fractures, and chemical breakers. The technology is stable from 35°F (2°C) up to 380°F (193°C).
With Propel SSP, the improvement in transport behavior is remarkable. It’s far easier to keep proppant moving efficiently along laterals all the way to the farthest stages and higher into fracture tips. Total propped surface area will increase to improve well yield.
Testing at Stim-Lab revealed that this technology delivers viscous transport properties from a thin fluid. Typical supernate viscosities at 1-3 PPG loading are 5 to 35 cPs, compared to as much as 1,000 cPs for conventional, cross-linked gel systems at 250-300°F (121-149°C).
This technology will help save significant amounts of water and time in slickwater completions. Many operators rely on multiple water sweeps to complete movement of conventional proppants into fractures, often with uncertain results. The superior suspension and transport behavior of Propel SSP eliminates the need for fluid sweeps. This saves both water and pumping energy.
Proppants using this technology will help you recover more from your well. Because it efficiently transports more proppant along laterals and into fracture tips, Propel SSP helps the proppant reach more hydrocarbon.
Additionally, the hydrogel layer has excellent friction-reducing properties and remains attached to proppant particles to help them slip through tight, tortuous fracture passages. Greatest benefits will be observed in slickwater and hybrid frac designs.
Propel SSP will reduce or eliminate the need for viscosifiers, crosslinking agents, and friction reducers. This simplifies topside operations and lowers the cost of overall completion chemistry. Proppants based on this technology are designed for use in most water, but are compatible with typical linear gels should alternative fluid designs be desired.
While conventional sand is difficult or impossible to restart after a pumping shutdown, proppants with Propel SSP are readily resuspendable – even multiple times. Only modest pumping energy is required for a restart, also reducing the need for fluid sweeps.
For breaking the hydrogel layer, conventional breaker chemicals such as ammonium persulfate and magnesium peroxide can be used in the frac fluid composition. There is no new equipment or chemistry to master. However, breakers based on perborate and perchloric chemistries are not recommended.
Self-suspending proppant transport technology lowers cost per BOE by efficiently increasing the propped fracture surface area compared with traditional stimulation designs. By just adding to water, the shear-stable, hydrogel polymer rapidly swells, uniformly stacking proppant throughout the low-viscosity, water-based frac fluid unlike proppant in slickwater and gel-based fluids. The polymer breaks cleanly and flows back easily to considerably decrease formation and proppant pack damage. Operators working in heterogeneous formations are applying this efficient proppant and fluid system in one. Less water with fewer fluid additives in less time means achieving compelling hydrocarbon production success.
The shear-stable, hydrogel polymer—wrapped around a standard-mesh sand grain or ceramic proppant—is the engineered wisdom of self-suspending proppant transport technology. By just adding to water, the polymer rapidly swells around each proppant grain, for effective suspension and transport in low-viscosity fluid; unlike proppant in slickwater and gel-based fluids. Additional chemicals are unnecessary to facilitate proppant transport.