SPE Forum: Waterless Fracturing - Reducing Fresh Water Use for Reservoir Stimulation in a Future Water-Constrained World 5 - 9 Nov 2017 San Antonio, Texas, USA


Monday, November 06

07:00 - 08:00
08:00 - 11:30
Session 1: How We Got to Where We Are
Session Chairpersons Katherine Hull, Aramco Services Company; Ginger Rothrock, Research Triangle Institute

Water usage for oil and gas operations has become a challenging topic concerning environmental impact, resource availability, policy and economics.  This opening session will introduce the participants to technologies presently available for fracturing applications using

  • lower-quality water
  • fluid systems that minimize or eliminate water using energized or foamed fluids
  • systems based on non-aqueous liquids
  • no liquids at all

This discussion will encompass single stage wells, multi-stage fracturing/pad wells, and barriers and opportunities.  The lively discussion and facilitated brainstorming session on future alternatives will enable all participants to share their views, and set the stage for in-depth technology discussions throughout the remainder of the forum.

09:30 - 10:00
11:30 - 13:00
13:00 - 16:30
Session 2: Opportunities for Saving Freshwater by Fracturing with High Salinity Waters
Session Chairpersons Kay Cawiezel, BP Americas; Mahmoud Asadi, Fritz Industries

The use of seawater presents an excellent option to minimizing the use of valuable freshwater. The session will start with an overview of the available technologies for using seawater. It will continue with a sharing of success stories associated with the use of seawater in fracturing. Then, we will discuss the barriers to seawater use, such as

  • compatibility with high PH fracturing fluids
  • shortcomings of existing filtration methods
  • transport and logistics issues
  • the costs of stabilizing additives
  • the long-term effects of seawater on the reservoir

We will focus the remaining discussion on exploring the use of existing technology to overcome these barriers, on new approaches to address current technology gaps, and on the opportunities provided by using seawater in fracturing.

15:00 - 15:30

Tuesday, November 07

07:00 - 08:00
08:00 - 11:30
Session 3: Fracturing with Hydrocarbons
Session Chairpersons Eric Chaput, Total S.A.; Kevin Watts, Linde LLC

Hydrocarbon (HC) fluids have ideal fracturing fluid properties. They are:

  • fully compatible with reservoir fluids and rock formations
  • yield a quicker and more effective clean-up
  • can easily be gelled for proppant transport
  • can be monetized upon their return to the surface with no need to deploy a clean-up unit
  • can increase production by enhancing oil mobility

Historically, use of hydrocarbon fluids has been limited due to safety, logistical, and cost concerns. In this session, we will review these concerns and currently proposed solutions, discuss remaining barriers to use, and investigate possible approaches to overcome those barriers to ensure a future in which HC fluids can be utilized safely and cost-effectively on a large scale. 

09:30 - 10:00
Coffee Break - Poster Session
Moderator(s) Ginger Rothrock, Research Triangle Institute; Dean Willberg, Schlumberger
18:30 - 21:30
Session 4: Alternative Techniques and Innovation
Session Chairpersons Mohamed Soliman, University of Houston; Dean Willberg, Schlumberger Research

Hydraulic fracturing is most effective means to create surface area in rock formations. However, once created, much of that surface area can be subsequently rendered non-productive by gel damage, chemical scale, clay migration, rock-softening and other water-associated damage mechanisms.  This session explores alternative technological methods for stimulating formation that eliminate or significantly reduce the use of fresh water in hydraulic fractures.  

20:00 - 20:30

Wednesday, November 08

07:00 - 08:00
08:00 - 11:30
Session 5: Foams - Energized Stimulation Fluids and Techniques to Increase Production, Lower Overall Costs, and Achieve Greater Fracturing Control
Session Chairpersons Reza Barati, The University of Kansas; Jeremy Dockter, Expansion Energy LLC; Robin Watts, Linde LLC

Foams have been used successfully as a fracturing fluid for the past 40 years.  Before the unconventional revolution, foams and energized fluids were used as fracturing fluids for approximately one third of the wells completed.  In Canada today, that percentage remains about the same.  However, in the US, that number is less than 2%, despite foams' potential to increase productivity, reduce overall costs, reduce proppant volumes and increase fracturing control. 

Points of discussion could include:

  • What can/should be done to increase the use of foam fracturing in the US? 
  • Where water is scarce, has significant life-cycle costs, or requires significant capital investment to reduce overall cost and usage, how could foams serve as a possible solution? 
  • Can foams be a cost-effective alternative for formations that do not respond well to water, such as those with high clay content? 
  • Improvement of foam stability using nanoparticles has led to improvements in rheology, proppant suspension, filtration as well as reduction in core damage.  How can these new chemistries bring about the next generation foam fracturing solutions?
09:30 - 10:00
11:30 - 13:00
13:00 - 16:30
Session 6: Selecting the Right Waterless Fracturing Fluid for Your Reservoir
Session Chairpersons Satya Gupta, Baker Hughes

The reduction of water usage in fracturing can be achieved through the use of nitrogen gas (N2), carbon dioxide (CO2), and/or hydrocarbons. While there is a documented history of applying these alternative fluids, there still exist engineering hurdles in fracturing design and modeling. Fracturing design, when applying these fluids, needs better models that incorporate fluid phase behavior, pressure volume pressure-volume-temperature (PVT) properties and proppant transport. Energized fluids offer better wellbore cleanup characteristics than water-based systems. Better models will result in a better understanding the applicability of these fluids. Rock-fluid interactions, and fluid flowback need to be better modeled to quantify the impact of energized fluids on well productivity and estimated ultimate recovery (EUR).
Engineering opportunities also exist to capture and recycle these gases to reduce costs and minimize the environmental footprint. This session will address improved technologies in these areas and breakthroughs in logistics to allow these fluids to be used on a large scale.

15:00 - 15:30

Thursday, November 09

07:00 - 08:00
08:00 - 11:30
Session 7: Integration and Application
Session Chairpersons Mohamed Soliman, University of Houston; Satya Gupta, Baker Hughes

To have a highly successful hydraulic fracturing treatment, integration of multiple technologies is required. Knowledge of reservoir physical and mechanical properties of the rock, the stress field, and an understanding how the rock under consideration behaves during the fracturing process is important. This session will emphasis the integration of various applications that influence the creation of a hydraulic fracture, and in turn the effect of the created hydraulic fracture on the reservoir.

09:30 - 10:00