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Experimental Investigation of Fracturing With Propellant in a Large Sandstone Block

Fig. 2—Lower section of the East half of the block under ambient light (left) and fluorescent light (right).

Propellants have been used in oil and gas wells to assist with perforating and creating near-wellbore stimulation. Propellants are electrically ignited at the perforated interval. Upon ignition, they rapidly create a large amount of gas, and the pressurization leads to breakdown of the formation. Hypotheses suggest that the pressurization leads to the creation of multiple fractures. This paper describes an experimental study with a new propellant and aims to understand the pattern of fracture creation with these propellants.

Introduction

The fracture patterns created with propellant can include biwing fractures (in the direction perpendicular to the minimum principal stress), multiple/radial fractures, and explosive fractures, depending on the pressurization rate, as demonstrated in multiple small-scale experiments.

A large-scale block test had been conducted previously to observe fracture patterns with the propellant Arcite 368M. The test resulted in the creation of a dominant biwing fracture in the direction perpendicular to the minimum principal stress. This paper presents an experimental study aimed at comparing the performance of a second-generation propellant with that of Arcite 368M. The goal is to determine if the propellant provides a higher pressurization rate and if multiple fractures can be obtained with the second-generation propellant.

This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper OTC 27563, “Experimental Investigation of Propellant Fracturing in a Large Sandstone Block,” by Sahil Malhotra, SPE, Peggy Rijken, and Alicia Sanchez, Chevron, prepared for the 2017 Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, 1–4 May. The paper has not been peer reviewed. Copyright 2017 Offshore Technology Conference. Reproduced by permission.
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Experimental Investigation of Fracturing With Propellant in a Large Sandstone Block

01 June 2018

Volume: 70 | Issue: 6

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