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Research Papers: Petroleum Engineering

Physics of Proppant Transport Through Hydraulic Fracture Network

[+] Author and Article Information
Oliver Chang

Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering,
Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering, EMS Energy Institute,
The Pennsylvania State University,
202 Hosler Building,
University Park, PA 16802
e-mail: occ103@psu.edu

Michael Kinzel

Applied Research Laboratory,
The Pennsylvania State University,
218 GTWT Building,
University Park, PA 16802
e-mail: mpk176@arl.psu.edu

Robert Dilmore

National Energy Technology Laboratory,
U.S. Department of Energy,
626 Cochrans Mill Road,
P.O. Box 10940,
Pittsburgh, PA 15236-0940
e-mail: Robert.Dilmore@netl.doe.gov

John Yilin Wang

Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering,
Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering,
EMS Energy Institute,
The Pennsylvania State University,
202 Hosler Building,
University Park, PA 16802
e-mail: john.wang@psu.edu

Contributed by the Petroleum Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received March 23, 2016; final manuscript received December 15, 2017; published online January 22, 2018. Editor: Hameed Metghalchi. This work is in part a work of the U.S. Government. ASME disclaims all interest in the U.S. Government's contributions.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 140(3), 032912 (Jan 22, 2018) (11 pages) Paper No: JERT-16-1140; doi: 10.1115/1.4038850 History: Received March 23, 2016; Revised December 15, 2017

Horizontal drilling with successful multistage hydraulic fracture treatments is the most widely applied and effective method to enable economic development of hydrocarbon-bearing shale reservoirs. Once fracture networks are established, they must be propped open to maintain pathways for fluid migration through the production phase. As such, the design and application of effective and efficient proppant treatment is considered a key step to successfully develop the targeted resource. Unfortunately, the available literature and simulation tools to describe proppant transport in complex fracture networks are inadequate, and some of the fundamental mechanisms of proppant transport are poorly understood. The present study provides a critical review of relevant published literature to identify important mechanisms of particle transport and related governing equations. Based on that review, a mathematical model was developed to quantitatively predict the transport behavior of proppant particles in model fracture networks. Aspects of this mathematical model are compared against computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulation, and implications of this work are discussed.

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Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Illustration of saltation and creeping (modified from Wang and Zheng [30])

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Patterns of proppant transport

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Movement of multiple particles at an interection of a fracture network

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Movement of a single particle at an interection of fracture network

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Fracture intersection geometry and influx/out flux velocities. Streamlines indicate the sand flow path where the black streamlines pass through the intersection, the white stramlines turn to the left, and the green streamlines turn through the right passage.

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