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Delmont, PA, United States, 2010/03/19 - After recently encountering trouble with sand flow-back wells drilled in the Plum area of Western Pennsylvania, PENNECO was searching for a solution to keep more proppant in the fracture when treating the Speechly Stray.
PENNECO was recently encountering trouble with sand flow-back on wells drilled in the Plum area of Western Pennsylvania. They wanted a solution to keep more proppant in the fracture when treating the Speechly Stray (oil-bearing sand) formation. Wells in this area are typically treated with water frac, using natural sand proppant placed with guar gel.
To solve this problem, PENNECO teamed with Universal Well Services, who suggested a chemical known as Alpha 3385 for PENNECO’s use. Alpha 3385 is a proppant flow-back control additive that forms a thin coating on the proppant, which becomes sticky after placement. Usage of the chemical was limited to one stage and flow-back between stages and during well cleanup was monitored.
It should be noted that Alpha 3385 was used only during the last stage of the frac. Because it was not added to every stage, results cannot be completely attributed to the Alpha chemical. Alpha 3385 was added based on pounds of proppant pumped. The rate of Alpha 3385 was ramped to account for increased sand concentration used during the treatment.
The primary benefit observed from using the Alpha chemical was the cost savings of not having to sand pump the well prior to installing tubing and aligning the well. After tabulating the chloride concentration, it was found that there is no trend in the chloride levels. It can be assumed that the Speechly Stray was contributing oil to the flow- back fluid because of the increasing presence of oil in it. This is when high sand flow-back problems were encountered in the past. Also, it was determined that the economic impact of running Alpha 3385 is very minimal for a typical job. On this specific project, it was determined that the added cost of running Alpha 3385 on one stage would be $1,019.08.
Further information as to the effectiveness of Alpha 3385 can be gathered after the well is completed and cleaned up, and after it is documented as to how much sand is in the bottom of the pit when the water is hauled out. Please note that the results from this well are assumptions because there were three other formations contributing to flow-back.
Located in Delmont, Pa., PENNECO (penneco.com) is an oil and natural gas development and exploration company that operates more than 1,000 wells in 11 counties in Western Pennsylvania. Incorporated in 1979, the company also has participating interest in various prospects across the country. It is the goal of PENNECO and its more than 50 employees to explore and produce natural gas and oil from the vast Appalachian Region in an environmentally responsible and safe way.