Extended reach stimulation fluids...
C02 Gas Generating Co-solvent and Surfactant
By Jeff Ayers Vice President, Solutions Development
As unconventional resources quickly become an increasingly larger segment of our production landscape, we so also see a significant increase in focus on how technologies may play an important role in overcoming unique challenges in unconventional production. For ultra-tight or micro-fracture formations, CBM, or shaly heavy oil plays, the use of CO2 gas generating and clay friendly fluids are showing tremendous promise. And for production in politically charged geographies, any fluid technologies must hold up to an unprecedented level of scrutiny about safety in the environment.
For years, VeruTEK has demonstrated leadership in the environmental remediation space for providing fluid solutions that enable high levels of hydrocarbon recovery from tight, high-clay content formations. And the use of these same patented fluids as a source for targeted in-situ CO2 and gas generation provides for custom applications to create secondary permeability in tight formations, or injecting fluids to produce a localized gas drive. Since these fluids are already being used for environmental projects in drinking water aquifers, they have met and passed close regulatory scrutiny and permitting for subsurface injection.
WELL COMPLETION AND FRACING
As more wells are drilled in tight and micro-fractured formations, we are continually learning of how easy it can be to damage formation flow properties with drilling muds or fracing fluids. The VeruSOL T500F and EOR Activator additive suites are being used as cleanup fluids to quickly and economically remove lost drilling muds from the formation without causing further damage. Once displaced into the near-field, the nano-sized additives begin activation to break down the clays and the generated CO2/gas effectively flushes the drilling muds from the formation. The treatment has a profound effect on clays, permanently removing their ability to swell or demonstrate any cohesive surface activity characteristics, even if exposed to fresh water. Samples of treated flush fluids collected from test wells with sever clay damage, and monitored over a year period, show that the affect on treated clays is permanent. The additives readily mix with fresh and high brine content waters, and are applied at a neutral pH to prevent any further damage in the form of precipitates or sludging that might be seen with acid treatments. The active ingredients are biodegradable, and do not contain any priority pollutants or national primary drinking water contaminants.
In clay-sensitive tight formations and heavy oil plays, there is significant interest in using EOR Activator suite fluids to enhance both the effectiveness and recovery of frac fluids. The additive behaves similar to a very slow reacting acid, remaining active and generating CO2/gas in the formation for longer periods, providing a local pressure mechanism to help flush frac fluids back to the well. Testing in carbonate (chalk) and shaly sandstone formations as a slickwater frac system has demonstrated greater than 90% recovery of frac fluids. Side-by-side well tests show that frac systems employing the EOR Activator suite outperform acid frac applications. Testing of hybrid applications in which VeruTEK additives are displaced ahead of, or in combination with, acids are being planned. In formations with sensitive clays, these neutral pH additives offer high levels of performance without the risk of damage.
SYNERGIES WITH LATERAL JETTING AND STEM FRACING
In exploring new technology advantages for reaching unconventional reserves, VeruTEK has found, and continues to look for other, synergistic mechanical techniques that can give the chemistry more access to the formation. In addition to horizontal wells, mechanical jetting of radials and laterals, as well as propellant stem fracing, are two such technologies. SEMJET Well Technologies, LLC, an international company with a mandate to advance these types of mechanical access techniques, has already demonstrated that combining the use of VeruTEK fluids such as VeruSOL GCF, VeruSOL T500F, and EOR Activator with their jetting processes for both short radials, and 100-meter laterals into Mississippian carbonate produces flow back results unprecedented for these types of mechanical techniques. We believe the core basis for these synergies is that jetting of VeruTEK fluids prevents sidewall damage typical seen when using water only or acid as the jetting fluids. Additionally, use of the laterals for targeted placement of the CO2/gas generating VeruTEK additives deep in the formation extends the effective reach of the laterals, and serves to flush or clean the laterals of residual cuttings. Use of the VeruTEK fluids in propellant or gas stem fracing offers the same advantages in tight formations of providing extended reach, performance in clay sensitive environments, and clean micro-fractures.
Damage and clogging are the primary issues historically limiting the sustained performance of mechanical radials or stem fracing techniques. However, this can be overcome with simple regularly scheduled maintenance treatments that displace VeruTEK fluids into the laterals or frac zone to keep laterals and micro-fracturing clean and open for production flow.
Being able to quickly gain significant exposure in tight and micro-fractured formations, especially when tied to the economics of doing it from a vertical well, is an important focus for VeruTEK and these types of synergistic technologies moving forward.