American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 29

TECHCONNECTIONS
DOE Research Holds Promise For Breakthroughs
The Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA) conducts research and development projects in a public/private partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy. I attended a workshop in Lawrence, Ks., that highlighted some of its onshore production projects. I was particularly impressed with the laboratory scale investigation of a promising new fracturing technology for natural gas shales. Professor Kishore Mohanty’s group at the University of Texas in Austin studied a concept to use a foam fracturing fluid combined with lightweight proppants instead of a slick-water fracturing fluid. The laboratory results look especially promising and it appears ready to be field tested. The group set out to address several technical issues common to gas shale operations: low connectivity between the pore space and the well bore, proppant settling in long induced fractures, the large volumes of water needed for fracturing, and the resulting large volumes of flow-back water requiring disposal. The research objectives were to develop nondamaging frac fluids, minimize water requirements, and demonstrate their results in field tests. The strategy employed ultralightweight proppants and frac foams. Researchers testing three lightweight proppants found a resin-coated ceramic material generally performed best in all tests. The ceramic material had the highest crush strength and the greatest fracture conductivity of the three proppants. The conductivity increased with the ceramic proppant concentration, but was an order of magnitude larger than the other ultralight proppants tested. Three aqueous foams were tested also, with a 0.5 percent-by-volume viscoelastic surfactant performing best. Using an aqueous nitrogen foam fracturing fluid may seem counterintuitive, but the water requirement is much reduced. It does require a nitrogen drive for fracturing, but the viscosity is increased (from 20 to 80 centipoise for typical fracturing pressures). The ultralight proppants do not settle, which results in proppant reaching more of long fractures. The viscosity is temperature insensitive and the process requires little gel to increase viscosity, which reduces gel cake plugging. The foam flow is laminar, whereas it is turbulent in the water frac. The viscosity increases with pressure. Using a very high quality foam up to 80 percent nitrogen means a significant water reduction compared with a water frac. One concern, of course, is foam breaking during the fracture process. The lab results indicate that the foam half-life is about 100 minutes, while the time to complete the fracture is about 30 minutes. The lab results indicate that the foam will last long enough to complete the frac, deposit the proppant, and collapse them to a much smaller volume, minimizing flow back. Study conclusions to date are that the ultralight proppants can endure the stresses seen in the Barnett Shale, frac conductivity is about 10 milliDarcies a foot (1 mD/ft or greater is needed for Barnett Shale conditions), the nitrogen foams are stable enough for a frac, and proppant settling is negligible, which results in more propped fracture area.

“ I was particularly impressed with
a promising new fracturing technology for natural gas shales.

”

Having conducted lab-scale work myself and overseen much more, I know that while these results look promising, they do not guarantee a technically or commercially successful process. That requires field testing and successful demonstration under real world conditions. Professor Mohanty’s group has some support for such testing and is looking for a field test partner. If it works well in the field, however, this technique will be a game changer in both improved fracturing efficiency and water conservation. New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology presented a wellhead produced-water purification project that utilized coproduced energy. Other, more technical, RPSEA projects presented at the workshop included a treatment for produced water using co-produced energy sources, by New Mexico Tech. The potential for low operating costs, depending on local environmental conditions, is a major goal, but the capital costs are not insignificant. The project utilized a humidification/dehumidification process, and both lab and pilot scale units were tested. A field test resulted in an ion rejection rate of 99 percent for costs comparable to other water cleanup technologies. Lynn Watney of the University of Kansas presented a low cost approach for using a lateral well without stimulation in a naturally fractured, shallow portion of the Hunton reservoir in the Unger Field. That field has been depleted with vertical wells over several decades, but some compartmentalized highpay zones still exist. The project utilized gamma ray azimuthal detector-while-drilling to stay below the overlying shale but high in the reservoir. While limited to the particular conditions of that location, the project could be replicated in other locations with similar environments. Other projects presented included new interpretations on virgin (and other) residual oil zones, regulatory compliance tools, and near-miscible carbon dioxide flooding in the Arbuckle. RPSEA hopes to put the videoed presentations on its website. Read more about these and other projects at www.rpsea.org or www.netl.doe.gov. r

BILL LAWSON is the executive director of the Petroleum Technology Transfer Council. He was the first director of DOE’s Strategic Center for Natural Gas and Oil at the National Energy Technology Center, retiring after 31 years of DOE service. PTTC may be contacted at www.pttc.org.
DECEMBER 2011 29


http://www.rpsea.org http://www.netl.doe.gov http://www.pttc.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011

American Oil and Gas Reporter 12/11
Contents
Reports
Calendar
Oil & Gas Counts
State Legislative
Industry Digest
Tech Connections
Washington Watch
Keystone XL
Liaison Committee
Shale Gas Subcommittee
Endangered Species
Midstream Startups Emerging to Meet Booming Demand
Liquids Resource Plays Have Oil Production Rising Again
Organizers Anticipating Big Things for 2012 PBIOS
Cover Story
R&D Areas Key to Improving Fracturing
Natural Gas Offers Solutions as Transportation Fuel
Completion Design, Frac Modeling Optimize Eagle Ford Wells
Novel Drill-In Fluid Excels in Horizontal ERD Wells
Technologies Optimize Sand Control
Operators Must Manage Risk Before, During and After Drilling
OCS Access: BOEM Offers Business-as-Usual OCS Leasing Plan
Court Finds for Insurers in Gulf Spill Ruling
OIPA
Clean Air Act
IOGA NY
COGA
IPAA Annual
Louisiana
West Virginia
Pennsylvania
Texas
The American Well Servicing Directory, Winter 2011
Industry Focus
Classified Advertising
Advertisers Index
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - American Oil and Gas Reporter 12/11
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Cover2
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Contents
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Reports
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 5
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 6
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 7
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Calendar
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 9
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 10
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 11
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Oil & Gas Counts
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 13
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Industry Digest
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 15
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 16
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 17
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 18
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 19
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 20
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 21
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 22
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 23
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 24
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 25
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 26
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 27
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 28
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Tech Connections
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 30
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Washington Watch
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Keystone XL
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 33
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Liaison Committee
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 35
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 36
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 37
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Shale Gas Subcommittee
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 39
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Endangered Species
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 41
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Midstream Startups Emerging to Meet Booming Demand
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 43
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 44
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 45
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 46
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 47
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 48
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 49
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 50
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 51
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 52
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 53
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 54
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 55
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 56
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 57
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Liquids Resource Plays Have Oil Production Rising Again
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 59
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 60
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 61
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 62
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 63
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 64
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 65
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 66
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 67
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 68
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 69
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 70
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 71
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 72
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Organizers Anticipating Big Things for 2012 PBIOS
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Cover Story
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 75
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 76
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 77
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 78
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 79
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 80
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 81
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 82
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - R&D Areas Key to Improving Fracturing
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 84
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 85
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 86
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 87
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 88
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 89
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 90
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Natural Gas Offers Solutions as Transportation Fuel
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 92
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 93
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 94
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 95
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Completion Design, Frac Modeling Optimize Eagle Ford Wells
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 97
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 98
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 99
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 100
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 101
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 102
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 103
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 104
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 105
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 106
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 107
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 108
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 109
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 110
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Novel Drill-In Fluid Excels in Horizontal ERD Wells
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 112
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 113
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 114
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 115
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 116
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Technologies Optimize Sand Control
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 118
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 119
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 120
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 121
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Operators Must Manage Risk Before, During and After Drilling
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 123
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 124
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 125
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 126
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 127
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 128
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - OCS Access: BOEM Offers Business-as-Usual OCS Leasing Plan
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Court Finds for Insurers in Gulf Spill Ruling
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 131
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 132
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - OIPA
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 134
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 135
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Clean Air Act
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 137
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - IOGA NY
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 139
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 140
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 141
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 142
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 143
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - COGA
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 145
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 146
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - IPAA Annual
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 148
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 149
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 150
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 151
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Louisiana
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 153
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 154
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 155
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - West Virginia
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 157
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Pennsylvania
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Texas
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 160
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - The American Well Servicing Directory, Winter 2011
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 162
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 163
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 164
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 165
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 166
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 167
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 168
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 169
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 170
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 171
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 172
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 173
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 174
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 175
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 176
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 177
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 178
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 179
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 180
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 181
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 182
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 183
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 184
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 185
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Industry Focus
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 187
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 188
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 189
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 190
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 191
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Classified Advertising
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - 193
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Advertisers Index
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Cover3
American Oil & Gas Reporter - December 2011 - Cover4
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