Academia and Industry Embrace Nuance in Fracturing

Improving operational efficiencies in hydraulic fracturing by moving to subtle understanding of fissures and proppant.

(Source: Colorado School of Mines)

Oil and gas developers are learning the power of persuasion. Since the initial commercial success of unconventional development, the sophisticated subtlety of seismic data interpretation and fine control of directional drilling have been in sharp contrast to the brute force of breaking rocks: heavy horsepower driving huge volumes of water carrying massive loads of proppant.

Recently, prompted by the needs of profitability, efficiency and stewardship, producers and the drillers they hire are rediscovering that pounding proppant into the pay zone is not a goal in itself, but merely a means to the end of getting hydrocarbons to the surface. Basic and applied research in academia and in the field are establishing that in many cases coaxing the resource out of the rock can be faster, easier and less expensive than crashing it out.

Already have an account? Log In

Sign up for FREE access to view this article now!

Unlock Free Access

Gregory Morris

Gregory DL Morris has covered conventional energy from exploration and production to refining and petrochemicals. He regularly contributes to Oil and Gas Investor and Midstream Business.