Oceanit's advanced materials team has developed a sensing technology for mapping proppant distribution in formations away from the wellbore in unconventional gas wells.
In hydraulic fracturing, fluid mixtures containing proppants are introduced into the fracture and 'prop' the crack open, resisting formation closure stresses. VuFrac is added to proppant mixtures during well completion to aid the operator in assessing proppant distribution and environmental conditions, providing specific data that is not currently available to the industry.
This innovation helps operators to evaluate and improve fracture design methods. VuFrac communicates the geometry and behavior of the propped fracture including aspects like proppant bed height, coverage and flow directions, perforation efficiency and details of wellbore connectivity. VuFrac converts traditional proppant into a smart proppant that enables logging of distribution using currently-available logging tools, multi-dimensional and multi-parameter mapping of accessed formation geophysical features, and logging run as often as desired during the life of the well with no pretreatment log.
VuFrac is engineered with specific acoustic properties based upon the characteristics of the smart proppant particles, allowing it to be measured with industry-standard acoustic logging and continuous monitoring tools. The background well and formation properties can be measured at a frequency at which VuFrac is acoustically transparent, but VuFrac's location can be detected at an adjacent frequency in which it is acoustically opaque.
With the upward global trend in hydraulic fracturing and the proppant market demand expected to reach 84M tons by 2019, Oceanit sees Vufrac as a crucial disruptive innovation that provides novel data to improve productivity in operations. Through enhanced knowledge of proppant and geophysical conditions, VuFrac allows operators to reduce waste and increases safety, and security for operations.