Emerging Hydraulic Fracturing Innovations

Ian Palmer, writing in Forbes, recapped emerging technology potentially impacting hydraulic fracturing in the future.

Seismos-MWF (Measurements While Fracturing)
This system measures and detects fracture systems created by each fracking operation. This is done by sending an acoustic signal down the well to diagnose the complex fracture during a fracture operation, then back to the surface.

If a frac stage is under-stimulated, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) program in real time alerts the operator to tweak the frac parameters like rate or volume or fluid type to correct the issue.

The report claims that the instrument has improved well production by 8 boe (barrels of oil-equivalent) per horizontal foot. For a two-mile long well this amounts to almost 85,000 barrels in a six-month period.

TGT’s Fracture Flow
This process measures the sound sources created by frac fluid movement in the fractures. It can diagnose fracture density, and even determine fluid movement to or from the fracture network.

One result, in the form of a well log, revealed 22 fractures at the wellbore but only five were opposite flow ports. The other 17 were misaligned with the flow ports, which is a bit surprising. On average, there were three active fractures per stage.

Well Data Labs AI-Powered Platform.
During drilling and fracking, when wellbore pressures are monitored, an operator can make decisions based on AI, such as multivariate analysis. Machine learning can in real time provide proactive corrections such as when pressure rises fast due to an impending screen-out.

Zeeospheres Ceramics LLC’s Deeprop 1000
This product is a hard, strong, perfectly round micro-proppant that is 10 times smaller than the smallest proppant-sand, 100-mesh, that is regularly used along with 40-70 proppant-sand in shale oil or shale gas fracking operations.

This new micro-proppant can pass into and prop open fractures much smaller than previously possible, and thereby increase their contribution to gas or oil flowrate. Operators have demonstrated the upside in basins such as the Delaware in the Permian.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Many oil and gas companies have an ESG or sustainability department, and what some term the social contract. One growing concern is about greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and global warming. Some upstream companies are trying to decrease their carbon footprint by reducing the amount of diesel fuel during drilling or fracking operations.

Siemens Energy, Electric and Mechanical Solutions
These solutions have gas turbine generators mounted in an over-long semi-trailer that are used to power electrical fracking pumps. They can reduce pumping fuel costs up to 80%. The units also reduce GHG emissions because natural gas exhaust is cleaner than diesel.

Rolls-Royce’s MTU Hybrid E-Frac Power System
This system uses natural gas, possibly produced nearby, to generate electricity that is stored in batteries then used to pump the frac operations in a hybrid system. Gas burns cleaner than diesel so the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are up to 80% lower. Also, pumping power costs are reduced by up to 58%.

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