All Resin Coated Proppants
Are Not the Same

The demand for resin coated proppants has risen dramatically the last few years largely in part due to increased industry knowledge of actual proppant performance downhole versus expected performance. For many years, there has been a general lack of knowledge on proppants and especially resin coated proppants. There are many examples for this knowledge gap, but I will highlight two.

First, proppant testing methods are woefully outdated. The industry has used quality tests such as the API RP-56 to predict performance downhole in the fracture under conditions of fluid, temperature and pressure. The RP-56 test was developed in 1983, before proppants such as curable resin coated were ever commercialized. It gives no prediction of how grain-to-grain bonding can reduce proppant fines and migration in the fracture, reducing flow capacity and well production. That is why Momentive developed the Wet, Hot Crush™ Test to more accurately simulate proppant performance under conditions of temperature, pressure and fluid. We have demonstrated that many proppants, even resin coated, just don’t perform as expected when subjected to temperature, fluid and pressure. Momentive developed several additional tests such as embedment and cyclic stress resistance that predict how different proppants will perform in the softer shales and under repeated stress cycles common in today’s wells.

Second, there are enormous differences in resin coating proppants. Precured resin coated proppants are 100% cured at the plant and have no ability to bond the grains together downhole in the fracture. They will not control proppant flowback or address many other proppant selection factors. Only curable resin coated proppants will bond together in the fracture (not in the wellbore) creating a competent pack that will reduce embedment, control fines generation and migration, prevent proppant flowback, and resist cyclic stress. With the introduction of curable Black Pro 40/70, Momentive is addressing new downhole proppant selection factors such as bond integrity under repeated stress, cyclic stress embedment resistance, and bond strength development time, all of which are issues commonly found in today’s shale plays.

How do we stay abreast of changing technology in proppants? One way is to routinely visit waterfrac.com to learn the latest about proppant selection factors and how resin coated proppants are not all the same.

Until next time, stay in zone, the FracZone…