American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2018 - 78

SpecialReport: Gulf of Mexico Update
Figure 2 displays an example of the
neutral wettability of the modified LWC
proppant. A drop of tap water and a drop
of paraffin oil were deposited on two
areas of the proppant pack surface. Both
water and paraffin oil beaded on the new
surface, showing that it is neither waternor oil-wet. The new surface demonstrated
no affinity for these two fluids.

FIGURE 2
Wettability of Surface-Modiļ¬ed LWC (Water and Oil)

Water

Oil

Fluid Compatibility, Conductivity

78 THE AMERICAN OIL & GAS REPORTER

ifier reacted with the proppant surfaces
and became covalently bonded to the
surface.
Figure 1 shows optical images of the
neutral wettability 30/50-mesh LWC proppant obtained using a high-performance
digital camera. Because it is a surface
modification that requires very little chemical to treat the surface, the features of
the proppant and particle size distribution
do not change. The properties of the
neutral wettability LWC were determined
accordingly to ISO 13503-2 for proppants
used in hydraulic fracturing and gravelpacking operations. The sieve analysis
showed that 92.7 percent of the particles
were within the nominal sieves (-30/+50),
while the apparent density was 2.69 grams
per cubic centimeter (the same median
diameter and particle size distribution as
untreated 30/50-mesh LWC).
FIGURE 3

Fracturing Fluid Compatibility
1,000

300

200
100

150

Vis-base line
Vis-control sample
Neutral wettability LWC 30/50
Sample temp

10

0:0
0
0:0
7
0:1
4
0:2
0:21
0:38
5
0:4
0:41
8
0:5
5
1:0
1:02
7
1:1
6
1:2
2
1:3
0
1:3
7
1:4
1:54
1
1:5
8
2:0
5
2:1
2:12
2:29
5
2:3
2
2:3
9
2:4
6
2:5
3:03
0
3:0
3:17
4
3:2
1
3:2
3:38
6
3:4
2
3:4
9
3:5
6

Viscosity @ 100 sec-1

250

Time (hh:mm)

100
50
0

Temperature (F)

nonwetting fluid is deposited onto the
surface, it will bead, minimizing its
contact with the solid. In the case of a
wetting state, the interactive forces between the surface and fluid are stronger
than the cohesive forces within the fluid.
In the case of nonwetting behavior, the
cohesive forces within the fluid exceed
the solid surface's adhesive forces,
prompting the fluid to bead.
In a porous media (such as a rock
reservoir or a proppant pack) and in the
presence of two immiscible fluids (e.g.,
oil and water), wettability plays a major
role in fluid flow. When two immiscible
fluids come in contact, they generate a
clear interface between them that arises
from interfacial tension. The interface is
a curved surface and the pressure on the
concave side exceeds that on the convex
side, a difference defined as capillary
pressure. In general, one of the phases is
fully wetting to the capillary, while the
other is a nonwetting phase. Capillary
pressure then governs the distribution of
the fluids.
Surface-modifying the capillaries to
make them prefer neither of the two immiscible phases (meaning they are phobic
to both phases) suppresses the capillary
pressure. Under flow, the inner pore surfaces will not retain the fluids. Altering
the proppant surfaces to a neutral wet
state will decrease the intramolecular
forces between fluid and proppant surfaces
and potentially improve flow.
The LWC proppant was mixed thoroughly with the wettability surface modifier and then dried. During the drying
step, the anchoring group from the mod-

Figure 3 shows the viscosity data of
the cross-linked fluid that used linear gel
containing 4.0 pounds per gallon of neutral
wettability proppant compared with a
base line that used water that did not
contact the proppant and a control that
used the same procedure as the neutral
wettability, but with a LWC proppant in
its native surfaces. The three curves are
very similar and the viscosity performance
of treated and untreated proppant are
similar to the base line. This indicates
that the neutral wettability LWC is compatible with the fracturing fluid and the
fluid was not affected by any coating
chemical. The neutral wettability proppant
mixed very well with the gel and showed
no aggregation.
Conductivity measurements before
and after cleanup were used to determine
the regained conductivity of the proppant
pack after fracturing fluid cleanup to
simulate flowback recovery using the
30/50-mesh LWC neutral wettability proppant and standard 30/50-mesh LWC proppant for comparison.
The regained conductivity data were
generated under 2,000 psi closure stress
and a temperature of 200 degrees Fahren-



American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2018

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