A fracturing fluid must be designed to efficiently transport and place proppant through the wellbore to the hydraulic fracture face. Low-viscosity slickwater systems are increasingly becoming the norm in the development of unconventional reservoirs due to reduced cost and environmental footprint, but they lack the carrying capacity to efficiently suspend and transport proppant through the wellbore into the fracture. CARBO therefore developed a new proppant technology with enhanced transport capabilities that will increase proppant transport and placement success utilizing slickwater fluids.

CARBOAIR technology offers exceptional proppant transport and leads to increased reservoir contact area while enhancing proppant pack conductivity. Designed to increase production and estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) from slickwater fracturing operations, CARBOAIR is a high-transport, ultra low-density ceramic proppant technology with chemically engineered internal porosity. CARBOAIR has an apparent specific gravity of 2.0, which is approximately 25% lower than sand and settling velocities 30 – 40% slower than sand.

An operator in the Permian Basin pumped 40/70 CARBOAIR with impressive results. Rock properties from well logs indicated the presence of hydrocarbons in the targeted zone, but the thinness of the zone presented a challenge to effective stimulation and achieving an economic rate of return. The fracture stimulation was, therefore, designed for increased propped fracture length, using a FRACPRO (3D fracture) model. The fracture model results prior to the completions predicted a significant uplift in fracture length and height with CARBOAIR versus conventional proppant. The production results have so far supported the fracture model prediction. Previous well completions in thicker gross intervals were achieved with 100 mesh and 40/70 sand. In this case, the well was completed with a comparable design but the 40/70 sand was substituted with 40/70 CARBOAIR. Production results from the well have exceeded the operators’ expectations for such a thin payzone and continue to show an average monthly production rate in the most recent 130 days. This enhanced well performance results from improved propped fracture geometry due to the application of CARBOAIR.

CARBOAIR is proven to increase production in multiple basins by delivering improved proppant transport, propped fracture geometry (length and height), fracture conductivity and reservoir contact, in comparison with conventional sand.