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Improved Conductivity and Proppant Applications in the Bakken Formation

Production from the Bakken and Three Forks formations within the Williston basin is continuing to climb as a result of applied horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Key to increased oil production is the evolution of reservoir-stimulation techniques, such as fracturing-fluid systems and proppant types. This study evaluated the key factors that may result in conductivity loss within the Bakken and Three Forks reservoirs. The results of this work suggest that certain fluids may affect both rock and proppant strength and, therefore, require consideration.

Introduction

This work was conducted in an effort to answer questions regarding reservoir stimulation in the Bakken petroleum system, specifically with respect to conductivity loss in hydraulic fractures over time. The key questions that were evaluated include

  • Can conductivity loss be attributed to proppant degradation, rock strength, or both? 
  • What role do fluids have in affecting propped-fracture conductivity?
  • To what extent does fluid exposure affect the degradation of rock strength and proppant performance? 
  • How do various proppants perform relative to one another under stress using actual core samples from the Bakken petroleum system?
This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper SPE 163849, “Investigation of Improved Conductivity and Proppant Applications in the Bakken Formation,” by Bethany Kurz, SPE, Energy and Environmental Research Center, Darren Schmidt, SPE, and Phil Cortese, SPE, Weatherford, prepared for the 2013 SPE Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference, The Woodlands, Texas, USA, 4–6 February. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Improved Conductivity and Proppant Applications in the Bakken Formation

01 March 2014

Volume: 66 | Issue: 3

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