Microproppants Deliver Macro Returns
For a 100-mesh sand, the hydraulic fracture width needs to be wider than a half millimeter (or 0.02 inches) to accept the proppant. The table highlights another, more promising option for very small fracture apertures. The proppant known as Deeprop® 1000 is an order of magnitude smaller than conventional proppants, which opens up the potential for tapping into the production oil and gas trapped within the vast secondary fracture network of many shale wells.
Deeprop® 1000 – Tiny proppant, massive potential
Zeeospheres (deepropfrac.com) developed its Deeprop® 1000 microproppant specifically to optimize reservoir recovery and mitigate steep production declines. A small, strong, perfectly spherical manmade proppant (Figure 2), Deeprop® 1000 targets the reservoir’s secondary fracture network—specifically, those fractures that are too small to accept conventionally sized proppants. And, the material’s high crush resistance (60,000 psi) allows it to maintain conductivity at very high closures (see Table 2 for a full list of properties).
Introducing Deeprop® 1000 into the narrow stimulated fracture system contributes to long-term conductivity, which translates to a flattening of the decline curve. In the field, Deeprop® 1000 has proven most effective in shale formations with a Young’s modulus of 2.5 million or greater and a permeability of less than 5,000 nano darcies. Fortunately, most of the major shale plays across the US fit these characteristics. When Deeprop® 1000 is applied in these formations, it allows reserves to be recovered earlier and for a longer period of time, which ultimately increases total recovery from the well.