Permian Basin 2018

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PERMIAN BASIN: TECHNOLOGY 34 | October 2018 | "Going to dry friction reducer is something we have been interested in for a long time," MacKay continued. "There were offerings on the market, and it took a long time to fi nd one that we liked enough in terms of the rapidity of its activity—how fast does it work after you get it into water? A lot of the product offerings we examined initially four or fi ve years ago took about two to three minutes to get to their ultimate yield as friction reducer mol- ecules in solution. That wasn't satisfactory. That really means you have to construct an additional hydration unit for the polymer that adds two to three minutes of residence time at surface, or you have to accept pumping a lot harder and burning a lot more diesel fuel to get the same velocity at the perforation if it is going to happen in the well. It's a question of how fast we can condition the fl uid to make it completely performative and function as a slick fl uid and immediately minimize pipe friction, so we can increase the injection velocity to do effec- tive slickwater fracturing." Schlumberger confi rms it has identifi ed a couple of products that hold promise in terms of rapid hydration, shelf life, ease-of-use, and tolerance of irregular salinity in mix water. The company is in the middle of fi eld deployment with them right now. Schlumberger is working with 10 to 13 oper- ators, depending on the month, using these prod- ucts in the Permian Basin in particular. "We are pleased with the progress today," MacKay added. "The additional surface and opera- tional effi ciencies are helping us to bring operators' assets to market more quickly and effi ciently." Let's get small Back in 2008, Approach Resources was drilling deep gas wells in the Midland Basin of West Texas. The company drilled over 600 verticals there, and through those gained its fi rst exposure to the Wolfcamp shale. In 2009, Approach began drill- ing Wolfcamp horizontals and since that time has drilled and completed around 200 horizontals in the region. In 2014, the company boasted a $400 million budget. When the downturn hit in 2015, Approach basically shuttered its operations. In June 2016, the company restarted its program, but at a much more deliberate, slower pace. Last year, Approach drilled a trio of "science" wells to test the use of nanoparticles downhole. Nanoparticles are meant to drive deeper into the cracks and fi ssures caused by hydraulic fracturing and yield improved production results. "We picked A, B and C bench wells to pump par- ticles on," explained Ross Craft, chairman and CEO of Approach Resources. "Then we modifi ed each well just a touch, and what was interesting about the fi rst-year results from the three science wells as com- pared to our oil portion of our 700 Mboe type curves, [was that] we saw a 22% improvement in fi rst-year cumulative oil production from these wells. One well in particular that we pumped metal-oxide particles throughout the stimulation treatment, as well as reduced our stage spacing by an additional 25 feet, down to 156-foot spacing—that well's fi rst-year cumu- lative oil production exceeded our fi rst-year oil type curve forecast by 93%, which was quite impressive." Approach then shifted to using silica nanopar- ticles made by Nissan Chemical. The switch from metal oxide particles was due to size constraints. Silica particles are considerably smaller than metal oxide particles, 10 nanometers compared to 130 nanometers and 100,000 times smaller than con- ventional proppant, thus allowing deeper pene- tration in the hydrocarbon rich nano and micro fracture network within the shale reservoir. "The nanoparticles utilizing Brownian motion and diffusion continue to travel further into nano- and micro-sized fracture network once the stimulation treatment is stopped. These nanopar- ticles through disjoining pressure continue to seek equilibrium, move between the rock surface and the much larger hydrocarbon molecule contained in the fracture, freeing the trapped hydrocarbon molecule by reducing the capillary pressure effect being exerted on the hydrocarbon molecule. Nano technology is all about particle size. The speed of the particle is inversely proportional to its mass; small equals faster. Hydrocarbon production in a shale reservoir is all about increasing the effective stimulated rock volume," Craft said. "We are seeing improvements in oil production and early produc- tion data suggest shallower production declines utilizing nanoparticles in our stimulation fl uids. (continued on page 38)

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