Researchers from Texas A&M University’s Energy Institute and Saint-Gobain Proppants have begun a collaborative effort to better understand the behavior of proppants in hydraulic fracturing operations.
The collaboration will initially involve research into the “down hole” performance of proppants in fractured wells.
The collaboration will consist of two research projects. The first is an exploration of geochemical interactions between formation fluids and minerals with fracturing fluid and proppants to better understand how different materials are affected by bore and fracture ambient conditions. The work, led by Hisham Nasr-El-Din, professor in the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M, is expected to lead to better understanding of how to improve proppant stability and performance.
The second research effort—led by Zoya Heidari and John Killough, professors in the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M—involves the application of enhanced well-logging signals and borehole imaging techniques to capture time-lapse degradation of proppants after they are placed in the fracture to track the proppant changes in situ and over time. The outcome of the project will be a new method to quantify changes to sedimentary rock due to the presence of propping agents in the borehole.
“The research is a unique collaboration between petroleum and materials experts from both teams and provides the hydraulic fracturing industry with greater understanding of proppant behavior,” said Tim Stephens, director of research and development for Saint-Gobain Proppants.
According to John Pappas, interim director of the Texas A&M Energy Institute, the project is a great example of the Institute’s mission. “We are increasing our collaborations with industry to solve energy problems that are relevant and multidisciplinary,” Pappas said. “This project is in line with our goal of establishing long-term relationships that leverage industry resources and expertise with Texas A&M’s research capabilities and broad capabilities across the energy sector.”
Saint-Gobain, the world leader in the habitat and construction markets, designs, manufactures and distributes building materials providing innovative solutions to meet the challenges of growth, energy saving and environmental protection. With 2012 sales of $55.5 billion, Saint-Gobain operates in 64 countries and has nearly 195,000 employees. Saint-Gobain Proppants manufactures ceramic proppants, such as VersaLite®, VersaProp®, and UltraProp®, that meet and exceed the rigorous requirements of hydraulic fracturing and contribute to successful hydraulic fracturing in oil and gas wells around the globe. For more information, visit http://www.proppants.saint-gobain.com/.
About Texas A&M Energy Institute
The Texas A&M Energy Institute (EI) supports Texas A&M University’s goal of becoming a world leader in all areas of energy research, scholarship, and creative work and contributing to cutting-edge solutions for grand scientific, engineering, and societal challenges. The institute matches researchers and world-class facilities with internal and external partners to define and solve energy problems and turn those solutions into useful global products.