Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Showcase typography
Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Showcase typography
(Source: Sobrevolando Patagonia/Shutterstock.com)
2021 Hydraulic
Fracturing Technology
This special section highlights the latest hydraulic fracturing technologies and services from nearly 40 companies and how these tools aim to address operator challenges.
showcase typography
showcase typography
This special section highlights the latest hydraulic fracturing technologies and services from nearly 40 companies and how these tools aim to address operator challenges.
Compiled by Ariana Hurtado, Senior Managing Editor, Publications
D

iscover innovations for the next fracturing revolution

Profound scientific knowledge has catalyzed advancements in intelligent systems and applications for hydraulic fracturing. Industry professionals leading these innovations will present their findings Feb. 2-4 at the 2021 SPE Virtual Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference and Exhibition. The conference features a diverse portfolio of next-generation technologies, sustainable developments and best practices.

Fracture diagnostics sessions at this event will include a novel method and its application to define a maximum horizontal stress and stress path. Among other demonstrations are field applications of sealed wellbore pressure monitoring to evaluate completion effectiveness.

Through a focus on completion optimization, attendees will learn first-hand of a multidisciplinary approach for well spacing and treatment design using lateral pore pressure estimation and depletion modeling. Furthermore, multiple DFIT-FBA tests performed on a well pad at multiple points in a well for advanced treatment stage design and reservoir characterization will be explained.

With Argentina’s Vaca Muerta Formation seeing significant developmental breakthroughs, presentations will highlight early applications of miscodifying friction reducers for fracturing operations in addition to well spacing and simulation design optimization in the region.

—Society of Petroleum Engineers
Editor’s note: The copy herein is contributed from service companies and does not reflect the opinions of Hart Energy.
Meeting e-drilling and e-fracking demand
The shift to electrification demands efficient, flexible and reliable power. E-drilling and e-fracking create demand peaks that are not always easily supported through existing infrastructure. Burns & McDonnell’s scalable, short-lead modular substation is capable of supporting early field development with the flexibility to adapt to ever-changing market conditions. Oilfield electrification equipment offers the opportunity to reduce operation and maintenance expenses, reduce lease operating expenses and lower greenhouse-gas emissions.

Burns & McDonnell’s modular substation is designed to offer a scalable, flexible approach to meet short- and long-term production requirements. Quickly mobilized on skid-mounted equipment, the modular substation offers flexibility to scale up or down as needed as well as the mobility to move with production—all while reducing field construction time and improving construction safety.

With a reliable, cost-effective and environmentally friendly electrical solution in place, producers improve their ability to reduce costs of production and attract the investors and capital dollars needed to grow core business activities.

The Burns & McDonnell modular substation
The Burns & McDonnell modular substation provides project teams and stakeholders the ultimate flexibility to react to changing market conditions by improving safety, speed to market, scalability and reliability. (Source: Burns & McDonnell)
Engines and processing system combine to achieve high displacement levels
Caterpillar Oil & Gas worked with GTUIT to successfully power a customer’s fleet of Cat Tier 4 Final Dynamic Gas Blending (DGB) engines using field gas. Cat DGB dual-fuel engines automatically maximize the amount of gas used to displace diesel with CNG, LNG, pipeline gas or associated gas. With GTUIT’s mobile gas processing systems and the Cat DGB engines, the companies demonstrated significant fuel cost savings and high displacement rates, exceeding the customer’s expectations.

The demonstration consisted of collecting raw gas from a pipeline at the customer’s frac site, where it was then processed and cleansed using GTUIT’s mobile gas processing system. The gas was then transferred directly into Cat 3512 DGB U.S. EPA Tier 4 Final and Tier 2 engines. After the eight-day demonstration, the engines averaged consistent diesel displacement levels of 77%, with a peak displacement of 85%, which translated into lower emission levels and fuel cost savings compared to only operating the engines using diesel or transporting CNG or LNG to the site.

By utilizing GTUIT’s mobile processing systems and the Cat DGB engines, operators can achieve consistently high displacement levels, reduce fuel costs and operate efficiently. Additionally, using associated gas directly from a flare or gathering line is ideal because it generates fewer emissions and costs less than diesel fuel.

The Cat 3512E DGB U.S. EPA Tier 4 Final engine automatically maximizing the amount of gas
The Cat 3512E DGB U.S. EPA Tier 4 Final engine automatically maximizes the amount of gas used to displace diesel with CNG, LNG, pipeline gas or associated gas. (Source: Caterpillar Oil & Gas)
Real-time fracturing data visualization tool
Cevian’s FracNet provides a universal service company agnostic, real-time completions portal for fracturing operations that is coupled with curated application program interfaces (APIs) and a standardized, historic data warehouse. FracNet ensures completions data are homogenous and accessible for use in a company’s data strategy. The APIs can be used for everything from KPI reporting to real-time data analytics. FracNet has been used as the sole system for remote, real-time completions decisions on more than 9,000 wells. Since commercially launching in December 2019, Cevian has loaded and QC’d more than 3,800 additional wells of historic frac data for its clients for use in data initiatives. Examples of initiatives include studies on fracture-driven interactions resulting in decision metrics for management, ESG performance with real-time produced water and gas substitution during operations, auto-population of well data management software, and lookbacks to adjust chemistry for cost savings.

Many operators have formerly stored network drives full of “dark data” (e.g., PDFs or segmented CSV files) from fracturing operations, which doesn’t allow for easy lookbacks or analytics. Additional data streams, such as offset or wireline, can be comingled for a single operational snapshot and time series dataset. FracNet’s universal compatibility and customized acquisition tools ensure completions data are standardized, mapped and tagged right at the source. Stop spreadsheeting and start streaming.

FracNet fracturing data visualization tool
Real-time data solutions, data warehouse, 20-plus curated APIs and bespoke dashboards are all part of the FracNet fracturing data visualization tool. (Source: Cevian)
Friction reducer technology helps reach pumping rates more effectively
In unprecedented times, with the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting downturn in the hydraulic fracturing activity, Chemstream’s new Nano-Dispersion Technology (NDT) is providing tremendous benefits and savings to the E&P entities that are still conducting operations. This friction reducer technology contains additives, allowing the operator to reach designed pumping rates more effectively and at minimal pumping pressures in any frac water reuse scenario. Rapid hydration and optimum friction reduction over an extended period allow for lower loadings, especially in longer laterals with higher pipe friction pressure, versus conventional technology. These results are further enhanced through a series of methodical pre-pad, on-pad and post-pad analysis, both in a traditional and onsite mobile laboratory.

NDT offers the dual perspective for savings, not only for the frac fluid design but 100% water reuse and those related benefits. Overall, the EUR for the well is optimized, allowing for revenue generation sooner, which provides increased capital for future exploration.

A Chemstream engineer evaluating contact angle
A Chemstream engineer evaluates contact angle to optimize surfactant efficacy. (Source: Chemstream)
Connecting all service providers to allow autonomous operations
Cold Bore Technology’s SmartPAD is a completions master control system (CMCS) for services on a completions site. The CMCS connects all service providers to allow autonomous operations while collecting all operational data from all service providers in one database and on a single timestamp.

Completion sites have four to six different service providers collaborating to hydraulically fracture oil and gas wells. Each offers its own control system and data capture capabilities, but none of them are integrated to create the efficiencies that come from autonomous fracturing. SmartPAD connects these service providers (fracturing, wireline, wellhead, water storage, water transfer and sand storage) on one platform. This allows supervisors to optimize in real time by seeing Internet of Things sensor data in one place, and instance-based logic will have been used to detect the end of stage, signal to the wellhead provider to close the current wellhead, and then open the next wellhead. This removes the need for human intervention in the well-swap process.

SmartPAD tracking operations directly
Using sensors, SmartPAD tracks operations directly at the wellhead and connects all onsite service companies to a trusted source of formatted and time-stamped operational data. (Source: Cold Bore Technology)
Optimizing recovery in refractured wells with expandable technology
Mechanical isolation using expandable liner technology is a more reliable and effective method for refracturing wells than cementing casing to reline the previous producing interval. Notably, expandable liner technology demonstrates the potential for consistent repeatability in terms of mechanical isolation and operational costs.

Coretrax has developed ReLine MNS, which provides a single-trip solution with no shoe milling to clad and seal various wellbore integrity concerns with minimal loss of inner diameter (ID), while providing high burst and collapse ratings.

The cased-hole system is designed for deployment on jointed pipe and can cover long or short intervals from 30 ft to 7,000 ft. It can be configured to expand and seal across various ID restrictions in the wellbore, such as nipples or frac sleeves, even in high-pressure well scenarios. It creates a like-new wellbore in the cased-hole environment, whereby mechanical isolation then restores pressure integrity with minimal wellbore ID loss for the purpose of refracturing.

ReLine MNS technology providing a single-trip solution
ReLine MNS technology provides a single-trip solution. (Source: Coretrax)
MV drive increases uptime and requires less maintenance
Electric high-pressure pumping for hydraulic fracturing has brought along many benefits including lower energy consumption and less emissions, less audible noise and smaller size combined with excellent controllability. Electric fracturing technology includes a variable frequency drive (VFD) that is used to control the speed and torque of the motor running the high-pressure pump.

The fracturing equipment is used in harsh operating conditions and is moved regularly from site to site. However, standard medium-voltage (MV) drives enclosures are designed for fixed installation in an electrical room. The VACON 3000 kit from Danfoss allows system integrators and original equipment manufacturers to create a definite-purpose MV drive in a fit-for-purpose enclosure that is optimized for mobile equipment operating in harsh conditions.

The VACON 3000 kit includes liquid-cooled medium-voltage power conversion units, which make it easy to create an enclosed, even-sealed VFD. The heatsinks of the VACON 3000 kit are grounded, and this allows new “normal water” closed-loop cooling solutions, which increases uptime and requires less maintenance. The power conversion module has a rugged design, has no moving parts and is easy to handle.

a 3,675-kVA inverter unit with a 4,160-v motor
For a 3,675-kVA inverter unit with a 4,160-v motor, the single-phase conversion module measures 25 by 9 by 30 inches. (Source: Danfoss)
Near-real-time frac fluid imaging technology
Deep Imaging has made great strides over the last year to commercialize a near-real-time frac fluid imaging technology that allows operators to make game-changing decisions during their fracturing operations.

With an array of highly sensitive nano-voltmeter receivers and a grounded dipole system laid out completely off the pad and directly over wellbore trajectories on surface, a direct measurement of frac slurry magnitude and direction is measured and displayed as a polygon taking shape over the stimulated rock area within 3 hours of the end of a stage. The technology is shown in a map birds-eye view to allow operators to make business-impacting adjustments on the well they are actually fracturing.

This technology addresses completions challenges and waste, including plug failures, extreme inter- and intra-well overlap into previously fractured stages, understimulated rock area and runaway fracture propagation toward parent wells, which lead to frac hits. Operators are able to be proactive with their completions and can improve on insufficient designs as they are realized.

Frac fluid imaging stage polygons with extreme  stage-to-stage overlap
Frac fluid imaging stage polygons with extreme stage-to-stage overlap are shown in different colors. (Source: Deep Imaging)
Disposable setting tool sets frac plugs in PNP applications
DynaEnergetics recently released DS MicroSet, a fully disposable setting tool used to set frac plugs in plug-and-perf (PNP) applications. The tool is maintenance free, eliminating many shortcomings of reusable setting tools, including metal fatigue and altered metallurgy, issues that can result in pressure leakage, reduce performance and cause downtime. DS MicroSet arrives at the well site fully assembled, including the power charge, eliminating the need for field assembly or rebuild as well as reducing risk of human error. The tool uses DynaEnergetics IS2 ignitor, which is fully compatible with the IS2 Intrinsically Safe initiating system used in DS perforating systems. The perforating systems and the setting tool can be surface tested prior to running in hole.

During field trials, a multitude of plugs have been successfully set by DS MicroSet in several different wells by numerous service companies for multiple operating companies. Capable of up to 60,000 lb of shear force, the average force of the plugs that were set was about 30,000 lb. Plugs were set at measured depths ranging from 9,000 ft up to 20,000 ft, with true vertical depth surpassing 12,600 ft. Tested for up to 20k psi on the tool, the calculated hydrostatic pressure experienced during the trials exceeded 13.5K psi.

DS MicroSet arriving at the well site fully assembled
DS MicroSet arrives at the well site fully assembled and directly attaches to the string of DynaStage perforating systems. (Source: DynaEnergetics)
New paraffin inhibitor is dispersible in water
A typical challenge encountered during hydraulic fracturing is severe wax deposition on the rock surface inside fractures as relatively cold fracturing fluids come in contact with hot crude oils. This results in multiple challenges for the operator such as decreased throughput because either crude oil viscosity increases or wax deposits narrow and clog the effective flow paths inside formation rocks and proppant packs. This can be of particular concern when the temperature and pressure start to drop rapidly right inside the fractures.

In the past, water-soluble surfactant-based wax dispersants have been frequently used to combat excessive wax deposition during fracturing. Polymer-based paraffin inhibitors, despite being more effective, however, have not been extensively deployed because they are insoluble in water and incompatible with commonly used frac additives.

Evonik Oil Additives has developed a novel type of paraffin inhibitor that is dispersible in water. This solution allows the product to be fully compatible with most frac fluids. By incorporating a paraffin inhibitor, wax deposition during the frac process can be mitigated, potentially enhancing oil recovery from liquids-rich shale reservoirs.

Detection methodology identifies depleted zones along a wellbore
Fracture ID’s mission was originally to provide rock mechanical properties and natural fracture locations efficiently and with zero wellbore risk using bottomhole assemby located vibration sensors. The company has successfully logged hundreds of wells in all active North American basins, providing high-resolution rock properties and supporting drilling and completions services.

Fracture ID has developed a methodology for identifying depleted zones along a wellbore caused by production from offset wells, using a calculated in-situ pore pressure. Comparing these measured results with expected readings, the company can identify where induced or natural fractures have been drained of hydrocarbon. Using these results, operators are able to adjust their completions programs to minimize frac hits on offset wells.

Additionally, issues such as casing damage during completions can be directly related to areas of depletions along the wellbore. This knowledge proves invaluable to operators that modify completions practices to avoid costly remedial work and so increasing free cash flow. Every dollar spent on bringing back a well from being knocked offline due to frac hits or on mitigation of casing damage comes straight from the bottom line.

example of Depletion Detection ID by Fracture ID
This graphic depicts an example of Depletion Detection ID. (Source: Fracture ID)
On-the-fly resin coating controls proppant flowback and enhances conductivity
Hexion’s PropCure on-the-fly curable resin coating allows users to coat proppant for hydraulic fracturing on location in the blender tub. The coating is a two-part system that is combined with a simple static mixer on the frac site. It is then added directly to the blender tub using standard liquid additive pumps. The chemistry has an affinity for proppants, so it coats the proppant and not the equipment. PropCure resin coating complements Hexion’s PropShield proppant flowback control additive by extending the application range to bottomhole temperatures up to 350 F.

Once downhole, the PropCure coated proppant acts like a traditional curable resin-coated proppant. It provides all the same benefits of grain-to-grain bonding and keeps proppant in the fractures where it is intended to stay. Additionally, the PropCure coating has a tailored surface chemistry that alters the relative permeability of the proppant pack. Running this technology, even at a low concentration, can improve conductivity and reduce or eliminate the need for additional surfactants.

A Bakken operator stated that the PropCure coating resolved its sand flowback issues while increasing production by 200 bbl/d over its nearest offset.

Remote communications tool allows users to customize onsite experience
The new iNET RCS (remote communications solution) is a high-performance, enterprise-class mesh, Wi-Fi-6 capable, turn-key, end-to-end managed communications technology deployed to the remote edges of the oil and gas sector. iNET RCS is backed with cloud management and machine learning that enables iNET customers to customize their onsite experience.

With this new release, users will be able to fully manage who uses their communications at the rig site and what experience that consumer will have—whether they want to give a contractor priority on the network or limit how long they will be allowed to use their communications, or even block them from accessing it completely. Users will be able to leverage analytics to gain insight into their remote network operations, previously unheard of in the oil industry. This will empower remote communications management of users and assets fleet-wide from anywhere in the world.

The iNET RCS high-availability architecture uses multiple bandwidth paths and connectivity technologies to give customers uninterrupted service under harsh conditions and in challenging locations. With Wi-Fi reaching across the pad and extended range, it allows users to deploy Industrial Internet of Things, sensors or edge servers anywhere on the pad, which drives down costs and improves the safety of personnel on site.

iNET’s RSC mobile communications technology is shown deployed on a horizontal drilling site in the Permian Basin
iNET’s RSC mobile communications technology is shown deployed on a horizontal drilling site in the Permian Basin. (Source: iNet)
Fracture face preservation and enhanced conductivity
EC Max is part of the next generation of completion fluid additives based on Integrity BioChem’s biopolymer chemistry. Whereas typical completion stimulation fluids fall into the traditional buckets of water/brine, friction reducer (FR), biocide, scale inhibitor, surfactant and possibly breaker, EC Max paves the way for a new category that encompasses fracture face preservation along with enhanced conductivity due to embedment mitigation.

The current problem in unconventional reservoirs is that the fluids being pumped create a rapid loss of fracture conductivity due to the softening of the fracture face. This softening increases the rate of proppant embedment. The net results are steep decline curves and less production on these wells.

EC Max bonds with the fracture face at the exact points where proppant embedment is most prone to occur but without altering mineral structures it encounters. It is designed to slow proppant embedment allowing fluid to migrate through the fracture network more efficiently.

Regain permeability results in the Wolfcamp Shale showed a 32% increase in permeability without breaker and 42% with breaker. In the Barrea sandstone, EC Max showed a 23% increase in permeability over FR without EC Max.

New inline chlorine dioxide generation technology improves safety
International Dioxcide, a division of ERCO Worldwide, has released inline chlorine dioxide (ClO2) generation technology for both existing well stimulation production enhancement and new well frac on-the-fly biocide application. The new generation technology minimizes the footprint, eliminating inventory of the ClO2 solution and eliminating separate rig-ups by water transfer and biocide applicator.

The new technology allows ClO2 generation at the required rate and concentration inside the main water transfer line. The new technology was trialed by Texide Solutions and delivered.

Texide stated, “We had no rig-up other than water transfer, no air locks, no special hoses and the equipment allowed fine-tuned control of ClO2 addition. We saved over $1,000 per job, while achieving zero bacterial counts for our customer with less potential for chemical exposure. [It was] another great innovation in delivering ClO2 to the frac tank or downhole safely.”

12-inch inline ClO2 generation technology is shown being deployed for frac on the fly
The 12-inch inline ClO2 generation technology is shown being deployed for frac on the fly. (Source: International Dioxcide)
Biosurfactant technology maximizes IP and sustains higher rates
Most unconventional wells recover less than 10% of the original oil in place. These wells have high oil IP rates but decline very rapidly—up to an 80% decline in the first two years of production. With less capital available for drilling, operators need new hydraulic fracturing technologies that can maximize IP and reduce decline rates to extend the life of the well and improve economics.

SUSTAIN is a biosurfactant-based green chemistry for hydraulic fracturing that outperforms many synthetic surfactants. It has the ability to penetrate into the smallest reservoir pores and mobilize more oil—improving initial flowback performance, increasing total EUR and also enhancing ESG profiles. Developed by Locus Bio-Energy Solutions, the recently launched technology is formulated using biosurfactants with multifunctional properties that require as little as 1/50th of the dosage rate of traditional completions surfactants, significantly lowering costs. SUSTAIN helps operators boost IP, reduce decline rates and increase EUR, which all work to improve the economics of unconventional wells—a must in today’s capital-challenged operating environment.

ESG-friendly biosurfactant technology penetrating the smallest nanopores
The ESG-friendly biosurfactant technology can penetrate into the smallest nanopores and mobilize oil that other hydraulic fracturing chemistries can’t reach. (Source: Locus Bio-Energy Solutions)
PLA-based degradable polymer for downhole applications
To reduce fluid loss encountered during the hydraulic fracturing process, NatureWorks has released a new polylactic acid (PLA)-based degradable polymer called Ingeo DH1900 for downhole applications. Ingeo DH1900 can be pumped downhole as fine, discrete particles that quickly change into a thick, degradable material at the targeted site.

Once located and upon the onset of the hydrolysis process, the polymer particles transform into a high-viscosity gel within 2 to 3 hours at 250 F or within 24 hours at 200 F. As the polymer continues to hydrolyze, it finds the path of least resistance where it agglomerates and can effectively minimize fluid loss before fully hydrolyzing to aqueous lactic acid, a substance classified as Generally Recognized as Safe, in 8 to 10 hours at 250 F or 48 hours at 200 F and allows flowback.

starting pellets at 250 degrees for 4 hours
(Source: NatureWorks)
Rapidly determine problematic microbial populations
LifeCheck DNA qPCR is genetic testing for rapidly determining problematic microbial populations. It enables the detection and accurate quantification of specific microbes attributed to common problems in the oil and gas industry. The primary challenge associated with hydraulic fracturing where there is the introduction of foreign microbial communities to the reservoir is biogenic well souring (H2S production).

OSP has created two qPCR packages that quantify the microbes responsible for H2S production. These data validate if sour production is the result of uncontrolled microbes coming from the frac source waters, and it can confirm the efficacy of biocides used the fracturing package. OSP supplies a sample bottle with preservative fluid in it, and clients simply top it up and send it back to them, with a request for the LifeCheck qPCR souring package. Results are emailed back.

This new souring package ensures consistency for multiple testing locations, covers the broadest reach of souring-related microbes and ensures economic options are available for acquiring this important information on source waters, frac biocide efficacy and the health of the well.

Dissolvable frac plug designed to maximize isolation performance
Packers Plus Energy Services’ LightningBOLT 2 Dissolvable Plug is designed specifically to maximize isolation performance during stimulation operations. The LightningBOLT 2 plug builds on the success of the LightningBOLT Dissolvable Plug. Both plugs incorporate dissolvable material that provides optimal degrade times to minimize debris left in the wellbore. The LightningBOLT plug is designed with a single set of slips, while the LightningBOLT 2 includes a second set of slips that secures the plug in the wellbore to maintain isolation during high-intensity completion programs.

The LightningBOLT 2 plug was developed in response to a customer’s challenge of having another vendor’s dissolvable plugs skidding in the liner during stimulation operations. During field trials, run-in times were maximized for the LightningBOLT 2 plugs. After successful pressure tests, the plugs held and maintained stage isolation during stimulation operations.

These unique plugs provide oil and gas operators with improved operations and reduced risk that will ultimately result in lower cost operations.

LightningBOLT 2 including a second set of slips that secures the plug in the wellbore
The LightningBOLT 2 includes a second set of slips that secures the plug in the wellbore to maintain isolation during high-intensity completion programs. (Source: Packers Plus Energy Services)
Alloys and elastomer compounds for downhole tooling applications
Parker Hannifin’s Engineered Materials Group has developed a family of high-strength, lightweight, chemically active dissolvable aluminum alloys for downhole tooling applications. Parker’s alloys exhibit high shear and compressive strength and excel in tight overlap, high-stage count, ball drop sleeve systems where predictable corrosion rates and reliable pressure holding performance is essential.

Parker has active development programs underway including delay coatings for high-acidity fluids, faster degradation rates for low-temp freshwater and higher modulus metal composites with improved erosion and wear resistance enabling thinner cross-section plug components and smaller form factor designs.

Parker dissolvable alloys are available as high-tolerance balls, machined-to-print components or as raw cast billets up to 6 inches in diameter in prototype and production volumes.

In addition, Parker has developed degradable elastomer compounds for downhole applications. These compounds allow fully degradable tool designs and are specifically designed to degrade into flowable non-clogging particulates to leave the wellbore free for unimpeded production. Parker’s degradable elastomers are resilient rubber compounds available in either 80 or 90 Shore A hardness. These compounds have been proven to seal 10ksi pressure and degrade across an optimal temperature range of 130 F to 180 F, independent of fluid salinity. These compounds can be provided in common components such as packer elements, wiper fins, O-rings or custom made to print parts.

Operator increases completion efficiency with open interpretation platform
An operator has two technical experts to integrate and analyze fracture diagnostic data among three asset teams. Because a technical expert needs more than a month to analyze one pad’s data, there is a significant backlog. The operator must implement a streamlined workflow to ensure rapid data interpretation that can be applied to new completions.

By using Reveal Energy Services’ ORCHID open interpretation platform that seamlessly integrates multiple datasets, an asset engineer updated a project daily and transferred it to a technical expert for analysis within two days of completing the pad. This step alone reduced the expert’s time by three weeks, and the diagnostic work was finished in less than one week.

With the ORCHID platform’s data value capture and discovery through interactive control of the spatial and temporal events, the operator is saving time and money by insourcing this work. The technical experts can now focus on data to implement the completion learnings immediately on subsequent pads. The asset engineers, with new data understanding, are offering insight into the two experts’ analyses.

microseismic and treatment data in the ORCHID platform
By integrating pressure analysis, microseismic and treatment data in the ORCHID platform, an operator can quickly understand the rock’s response to hydraulic fracturing and use the information to make decisions about completion designs going forward. (Source: Reveal Energy Services)
New tech reduces emissions, lowers costs
Modern hydraulic fracturing fleets are expected to pump harder, faster and more efficiently than ever before. Industry efforts are focused on meeting ESG targets aimed at lowering emissions, improving safety and being good neighbors. An abundance of natural gas is driving lower cost targets on diesel fuel consumption, while also facilitating lower emissions. E&P companies are challenged with reducing production costs and emissions, and service companies are faced with driving down operating costs while offering future equipment the industry is demanding.

Rolls-Royce’s MTU Hybrid E-Frac Power System is a combination of proven mission critical natural gas powered gensets and intelligent battery energy storage systems. Several challenges are addressed by delivering a scalable solution aimed at reducing emissions by up to 80% and power generation total cost of ownership by 58%, while facilitating a more efficient autonomous system. Electrification and hybrid systems enable the oil and gas industry to achieve ESG commitments and shift to a more sustainable business, less impacted by fluctuations in commodity prices.

MTU Hybrid E-Frac combining proven power generation technologies focused on consuming natural gas
MTU Hybrid E-Frac combines proven power generation technologies focused on consuming natural gas, reducing emissions and lowering operating costs. (Source: Rolls-Royce)
Real-time quality control agent for fracturing
Seismos-MWF (Measurements While Fracturing) is a quality control tool that detects and corrects understimulation in real time as it appears. The system tracks stimulation performance and fracture system properties while pumping operations are in progress. When understimulation or suboptimal reservoir coverage is detected (typically the result of subtle geological changes, stress buildup or offset well interaction), the system prompts for a subtle completions tweak, offsetting any such effect and eliminating the occurrence of “bad” stages that would contribute little/nothing to production.

Measurements of fracture complexity, conductivity, dimensions and more stream in real time to a user-friendly interface that is accessible by any device. Embedded AI-powered agents track the fracture system measurements and pinpoint to the type of stimulation inefficiency while highlighting the variables that need an adjustment (i.e., volume, rate or other).

The MWF quality control tool is designed to tackle understimulation in real time and provide critical downside protection. The tool holds a current track record of 8 boe/ft in additional production (six-month cumulative production data).

a virtual agent alerting the crew to adjust completion parameters
When the system detects under- or overstimulation, a virtual agent alerts the crew to adjust completion parameters and improve frac consistency. (Source: Seismos)
Analytics service reveals how much wells will produce and economic value
The Ultimate version of ShaleProfile Analytics was created to help industry professionals understand quickly how much oil and gas horizontal wells are likely to produce and the economic value attached to this. An advanced production forecasting engine was developed and optimized based on forecasting accuracy using all available historical data. Production forecasts are automatically generated on well level whenever new production data come in. These forecasts can be used in a well economics module to quickly calculate important financial metrics like (remaining) net present value. They are also an input to a supply projection model that allows users to simulate future tight oil and gas output based on their assumptions on how the rig count and well/rig productivity may change over time. Additionally, a well spacing analytics dashboard is available in which the relationship between spacing and well productivity can be unraveled. All production and completion data are publicly sourced, so no additional data licenses are required.
The Supply Projection dashboard containing an interactive model
The Supply Projection dashboard contains an interactive model that relates the rig count with future oil and gas supply. (Source: ShaleProfile)
Electrifying fleets and switching to natural gas reduces fuel costs up to 80%
Siemens Energy, Electric and Mechanical Solutions are powered by Via mobile power units using gas turbine generators that can develop scalable power and distribution solutions for any electrically driven hydraulic pump fleet. Electrifying fleets and switching to natural gas fuels can reduce fuel costs up to 80% and reduce fleet maintenance costs 60%. Supported by a global service team as well as remote and edge analytics technology, the electric solution enables safer and more reliable operations, lowers emissions and increases profitability.
Via portfolio of 5.8-MW and 7.9-MW class mobile power units
The Via portfolio of 5.8-MW and 7.9-MW class mobile power units provide scalable and rapid mobility solutions for power generation in a variety of oil and gas applications. (Source: Siemens)
Biocides designed specifically for fracturing applications
Solvay’s Tolcide4Frac is a broad-spectrum, fast-kill, THPS-based biocide formulation specifically designed for stimulation applications. With multiple modes of action and both biostatic and biocidal properties, it has been formulated to have enhanced efficacy against troublesome APBs, SRBs, GHBs and archaea in on-the-fly and downhole conditions, while also providing biofilm control. It has been proven to be effective in higher TDS water conditions where other biocides fail.

Unlike glutaraldehyde and glutaraldehyde-based formulations, Tolcide4Frac does not increase corrosion rates. It also works to dissolve FeS and Schmoo and is not inhibited by H2S. This gives it the ability to facilitate demulsification while still performing as a biocide. Tolcide4Frac protects the integrity of assets, while its HSE profile makes it the safer choice for protecting the environment and onsite personnel.

Tolcide4Frac is more thermostable than other in-class biocides and retains its efficacy in the reservoir while it follows the water front, providing post-frac souring control and in-situ control of blackwater.

Tolcide4Frac has proven to be compatible with all stimulation fluids, including friction reducers and oxidizing breakers, while delivering cost savings through asset protection and operational benefits.

Machine learning tool protects against cyber threats
In an increasingly digital world, operational technology (OT) systems and industrial equipment face a growing risk of cyberattacks that threaten operations. Oil and gas companies, power generation plants and manufacturing facilities must contend with:

  • Pervasive connectivity due to merging IT and OT systems, introducing more avenues for devastating cyberattacks;
  • Aging legacy computer systems that are not equipped to prevent malware, ransomware and other forms of modern cyberattacks, threatening day-to-day operations as well as causing large-scale disruptions; and
  • Traditional signature-based defenses that rely on constant, manual updates to the list of known threat signatures and rapidly become outdated on isolated systems.

Customers demand reliability and will divest from businesses that cannot defend their infrastructure. Yet companies face physical, financial and legacy constraints in securing infrastructure. By adopting an AI-based solution, companies can address OT systems’ vulnerabilities.

SparkCognition’s DeepArmor Industrial is a scalable machine learning tool that protects OT systems, legacy assets and critical infrastructure from advanced zero-day cyber threats. As the first endpoint SCADA protection that specifically focuses on protecting legacy systems against various attack vectors, it meets the highest standards of North American Electric Reliability Corp.’s Critical Infrastructure Protection reporting and compliance standards.

expand the breadth of your zero-day attack coverage pie chart
(Source: SparkCognition)
HVFR booster additives enhance viscosity of fluids
Stepan Oilfield Solutions has recently commercialized additives for improving the performance of high-viscosity friction reducer (HVFR) fluids in recycled and produced water. HVFR fluids have very low tolerance to salinity and lose their viscosity and proppant carrying capacity in the presence of even small amounts of salt. This prevents the use of HVFR fluids in recycled and produced water. Stepan’s HVFR booster additives significantly enhance the viscosity of these fluids in brines containing monovalent and divalent cations. The viscosity boost has been observed with anionic and cationic HVFRs. Furthermore, the increase in viscosity was corroborated by proppant transport measurements. HVFR fluids containing the booster formulation resulted in significantly improved proppant transport through a rectangular slot compared to analogous HVFR fluids without booster. By enabling HVFR fluids to be formulated in recycled and produced waters, Stepan’s additive provides cost and sustainability advantages. Additionally, this also allows less HVFR to be used to achieve a target viscosity in brine, thereby reducing the risk of formation damage by the fracturing fluid.
Viscosity of 6 GPT HVFR fluids in 10% potassium chloride brine
Viscosity of 6 GPT HVFR fluids in 10% potassium chloride brine with Stepan booster formulation shows improved performance versus control at two different shear rates. (Source: Stepan Oilfield Solutions)
Soy R&D leads to three new earth-friendly products
Synalloy Chemicals focused on soy chemistry in 2020 because it is an earth-friendly and annually renewable material source. The addition of soy fatty acid supply will help stabilize pricing, reduce shortages and offer some new performance advantages. Three new oilfield products resulted from Synalloy’s 2020 soy research.

Manazoline HS1 is a soy imidazoline designed for corrosion formulation that is superior to most other fatty acid imidazolines in terms of performance and stability. Salting out is reportedly improved versus conventional imidazoline.

Manazoline HSQ is a highly charged soy imidazoline quat that is water soluble. It replaces conventional imidazoline quats with several advantages.

ManaSurf SF is an 80% sulfated soybean oil that can be used in drilling lubricant formulation and as a replacement for sulfated castor oil in other oilfield applications.

Soybean oil has a compelling environmental story (available from United Soybean Council) that was a key factor in launching these research projects. Taking advantage of an enormous supply stream that can quickly adjust production to demand on any scale moved soy research to the top of Synalloy’s research priorities.

Isolation technology for refracturing
Conventional methodology typically involves running a liner and cementing to isolate existing perforations, which can result in complex procedures and a significantly reduced internal diameter. Tendeka’s SwellFrac solution uses swelling elastomer technology to simply and economically isolate existing fractures in oil and gas wells while maintaining a full internal diameter, allowing the well to be refractured.

Since its introduction in 2019, Tendeka has conducted further work to define the performance envelope and improve pumpability of the sized swellable elastomer.

As sized swelling elastomer in aqueous slurry has a tendency to agglomerate, numerous surfactants were evaluated and the concentration optimized resulting in a uniformly dispersed, non-foaming aqueous suspension. Bench top testing demonstrated that the exceptionally high surface area results in relatively fast swell times and is being validated in an HP/HT test fixture.

Additional tests have confirmed that filling of perforations with non-swollen elastomer will generate an immediate pressure differential demonstrating diversion capability during the pumping process. Most recent testing has confirmed that the sized elastomer will be retained in high side perforations once swollen.

Diagnostics locate flow before or after fracturing
TGT’s Fracture Flow evaluates the effectiveness of a fracturing program. It uses the Chorus acoustic platform to record and analyze the acoustic wave propagation in the wellbore and rocks, plus well design information, to determine the location of the acoustic source energy produced by fluid flow in the fractures. When used during pre- and post-fracturing, it can analyze the reservoir flow profiles, qualify flow to or from the fracture network, reveal fracture density and identify unwanted fracture components that impact product. The technique can identify the location and determine the distance of the acoustic signal from the receiver. Combined, these insights offer operators the diagnostics they need to improve their fracturing program, so it can be targeted and optimized to deliver maximum time and cost efficiencies.

The logplot shows a horizontal tight sand gas condensate producer, completed with a non-cemented multistage ball-activated application. Stage separation was achieved by a dual hydraulic-activated packer. The results identified the presence of 22 active fractures, 17 were offset from flow ports and five could be aligned with the flow ports producing a unique signature covering a wide frequency range. The fracture distribution varied between stages with an average of three active fractures per stage.

Isolation technology by TGT
(Source: TGT)
A drill-out technology for frac operations
Over the past decade, the industry has experienced a dramatic shift in the requirements of downhole technology performance—lateral lengths are longer, stage counts are higher, temperatures are hotter and pressures are higher. For unconventional completions operations, myriad advancements in completion technology have enabled operators to achieve higher productivity and stronger economical return. A major contributor to this outcome is the innovation in drill bits used in the milling of frac plugs.

Varel Energy Solutions’ (VES) Slipstream features a hybrid cutting structure. The roller cone drill bit utilizes tungsten carbide inserts on the outer rows for the tougher portions of the plugs and steel teeth on the inner rows to enable fast mill times.

VES is scheduled to release the newest generation of milling technology with SlipXtreme in early 2021—a design optimized for greater durability and performance while preserving the strength of the hybrid cutting structure. The bearing surface area has been increased to handle higher energy loads, and the seal location and compound has been modified to better resist wear and higher hole temperatures. In addition, the SlipXtreme is armed with VES’ maximum carburization process to treat the cone steel to mitigate erosion and improve steel life.

hybrid roller cone designed for milling applications across various downhole environments
The hybrid roller cone is designed for milling applications across various downhole environments. (Source: Varel Energy Solutions)
Powering drilling and completions decisions with customizable AI
Now more than ever, operators need to go beyond basic analytics and visualization tools. The Well Data Labs AI-powered platform enables operators to automate workflows and make repeatable data-driven decisions. The flexible AI platform shifts time-consuming and costly workloads away from engineers, data scientists and boutique consultants, freeing them to focus on higher-value tasks. Leveraging Well Data Labs’ cloud-based drilling and completions data, the platform can output anything from channel calculations to bleeding-edge multivariate diagnostics and real-time alerts initiated by machine learning.

Once a task is automated, it can be continuously performed on every well and for every team, bringing agility to every operator. The platform has been used to create sealed wellbore pressure monitoring reports and real-time fracture-driven interaction alerts. It also can identify key events such as pressure changes that can serve as early warnings for potential screen-outs and other issues. Because the Well Data Labs automation platform is flexible, operators can scale their data analytics programs throughout the organization, accelerating data-driven innovation and decision-making.

AI-enabled multivariate diagnostics shown on a computer and iphone
AI-enabled multivariate diagnostics, event recognition and real-time alerting condenses days of work into seconds. (Source: Well Data Labs)
Automate chemical injection to protect frac water storage, transportation
WellAware On Demand Chemical for water management automates chemical injection to protect frac water storage and transportation infrastructure, enabling the treatment and reuse of clean brines and more efficient transportation of water for hydraulic fracturing operations.

With WellAware On Demand Chemical, a major pure-play operator in the Permian Basin was able to reduce freshwater consumption by 30% by introducing clean brine into their water gathering network. The chemical uses advances in edge compute, wireless networking and web dashboards to automate chemical injection pumps, provide real-time chemical visibility and improve chemical vendor accountability. WellAware On Demand Chemical continuously monitors water flow rates, adjusting chemical injection rates in real time to maintain precise chemical concentrations that protect critical frac water infrastructure. This solution works on most chemical pumps that inject scale inhibitors, corrosion inhibitors, methanol, iron sulfide inhibitors or other specialty chemicals used to treat water management pipelines and vessels.

WellAware On Demand Chemical installed on a tank
WellAware On Demand Chemical is installed on a tank in a field to automate chemical injection. (Source: WellAware)
Separation equipment designed for frac operations
With high pressure, high volume and sandy production, modern hydraulic fracturing operations place demands on surface separation equipment that simply didn’t exist when much of this equipment was commissioned decades ago. Worthington Industries designs separators and heater treaters for today’s frac-intensive operating environment. The company’s ultra-efficient separators feature internals that withstand the rigors of the oil field and typically mean buying fewer pieces of equipment for lower overall cost. And with standard built-in sand management filtering sand down to 120 microns, Worthington units even help reduce maintenance and downtime in the field.
The company designed and implemented a new inlet device that almost eliminates oil carryover in the gas stream. CFD resulted in .02% oil carryover versus the typical 1% to 5% seen across the industry.

In a case study, Worthington’s advanced separation technology enabled an operator in the Delaware Basin to eliminate the need for excess equipment. In addition to the associated cost savings, this enabled consolidation of equipment onto a single skid—not only minimizing footprint but also simplifying field setup. No additional hookups were necessary for that well, just a single tie-in on the inlet and outlet. In all, the modular solution reduced footprint by 62%. The resulting design simplified the well site, lowered overall capex spend and still delivered the same processing throughput with less oil carryover.

Stimulation mechanisms used to support dilated secondary fractures
Zeeospheres Ceramics LLC’s Deeprop 1000 is a small, very strong, perfectly spherical proppant made in the U.S. that is used to support dilated secondary fractures created in shale during the hydraulic fracturing process. The material is designed to provide long-term conductivity in fractures that are 10 times smaller than 100 mesh can penetrate. It has no closure pressure or temperature limits. The economic benefits of utilizing this small proppant in both oil and gas wells have been demonstrated using production data from several different rock systems including the Barnett, Woodford, Utica, Delaware and Permian Basin shales.

In addition to the lift in production the microproppant has provided, it has found substantial immediate benefits by reducing the treating pressure as it is introduced (Figure 1). Because the material is very hard, it has been shown to abrade any near wellbore restrictions, which allows an increase in pump rate. This increase in pump rate shortens the time it takes to place a stage, which shortens the time it takes to complete a well, thus reducing the day rate charges. By increasing the pump rate, the fluid efficiency is also improved, which allows a larger SRV to be created with the same amount of fluid. An additional benefit of removing this near wellbore restriction is a reduction in the convergent flow excess pressure effects that occur as the flow in the fracture merges with the wellbore.