Oxane Materials is now in the 20,000 psi club—joining two other makers, Carbo Ceramics and Saint-Gobain, who have announced they are selling proppant capable of standing up to pressures that high. Oxane’s new offering, OxThor, meets the standard set for use in frontier fields, such as those in the Lower Tertiary Trend in the US Gulf of Mexico, where the grain-sized spheres will be called on to prop open fractures in wells drilled in ultradeep water that are around 30,000 ft deep.
What is different is the weight of the Oxane offering. It is said to have a specific gravity of 3, compared to 3.9 for the new 20,000 psi offerings from Carbo Ceramics and Saint-Gobain. The current standard for extreme conditions is sintered bauxite, which goes up to 15,000 psi and has a specific gravity of about 3.6. The new offering from Oxane is expected to be able to perform at temperatures up to 450°C, comparable to sintered bauxite and other proppants high in alumina.
The lower weight is an advantage in extremely hot reservoirs that break down gels used to thicken fracturing fluids, allowing it to carry proppant further, increasing its effectiveness, Oxane’s president, Chris Coker said.
The three companies making 20,000 psi proppant are ramping up production to allow testing. Coker said that Oxane is increasing the production of OxThor with the goal of supplying enough for laboratory testing by customers in May and a field test late in the year.
Stephen Rassenfoss is the Emerging Technology Senior Editor for the Journal of Petroleum Technology.