Proppant Transport Research Council: 2018 Project Overview

In 2017, PropTester established the Proppant Transport Research Council, a group of established leaders within the field of hydraulic fracturing from Operating Companies, Service Companies and Proppant and Chemical Manufacturers. The goal of the Council is to identify one-year projects and conduct research to successfully test proppant transport behavior for various completion methods utilizing PropTester’s facility and the new Proppant Transport Laboratory.

The 2017 project studied how proppant distributes in a complex network at higher rates and lower viscosity utilizing 45 Proppant Transport Tests on 15 different types of proppants in water on a single test design.

As the 2017 project ends, the PropTester team is preparing for the next study. The vision for the 2018 project will focus on how proppants behave at low-shear in single runs for various viscosified fluids and limited proppants using three separate test designs. Research Council members will participate in two data meetings, are invited to observe tests conducted at the PropTester facility and will have access to all test data throughout the year. The scope of work for the 2018 project is outlined below.

2018 Test Designs:

Long Linear Flow
Low velocity to simulate low-shear settling and distribution.

Long Linear Flow with Leak-Off
Moderate-to-low viscosity with ports to simulate leakoff in the fracture system due to matrix or micro-fractures. The setup will include flow-through screens to simulate lateral width screen-out and a closed end to simulate fracture tip screen-out.

Slot Flow: Open System and with Geometrical Variances
Study slot flow performance of various rates for a range of fluids and limited proppants with effects of injection/discharge location, as well as unspecified geometrical inclusions meant to simulate fracture direction variation.

Technical Findings for the Project:

1. Study how proppant moves, settles and banks through an open slot at low-to-zero shear with differing viscous and elastic fluids.
2. Identify proppant transport characteristics through an open channel as fluid leaks off and shear decreases, with dead-end and open ended set up.
3. Determine how changes in geometry (incline, decline, dead-end, drop-off, climb-over) affect proppant placement in slot flow.

Testing will begin in the first quarter of 2018. New candidates for membership on the Proppant Transport Research Council are now being considered. For questions or further information, please contact PropTester.

PropTester and KELRIK Release 2017 Proppant Market Report; Recovers to Largest Year in History

HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--PropTester, Inc. and KELRIK LLC are pleased to announce the release of the 2017 Proppant Market Report. The Proppant Market Report is an annual review of the global proppant market in relation to prior years. Proppant demand improved significantly following the two-year decline experienced in 2015-2016. “The significant rebound is a trend we have seen previously, whereby industry downturns are followed by intense demand recovery that often establish new historical highs”, explains Lead Author, Brian Olmen of KELRIK LLC. “The amount of proppant supplied grew by 79 percent in 2017 and surpassed 80 million tons (160 billion pounds), a new historical high.”

“With a vast increase in proppant demand, new technologies are focused on specialty proppants and chemicals”

The frac sand segment was the primary beneficiary of the upturn as demand improved 82 percent. The sand industry consists of over 70 producing companies operating 140 production facilities with multiple new operations under active development. A majority of the new capacity consists of greenfield projects located in close proximity to active shale plays including the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale, but sand capacity expansions are occurring throughout the supply base such as in Canada and Wisconsin.

In addition to the customary sand, ceramic and resin-coated supplier summaries on over 120 producers, this year’s report provides a summary of work being continued by PropTester’s Proppant Transport Research Council (PTRC) and the relevance that work has in relation to completion trends involving the use of smaller mesh proppants in unconventional resource development. Companies throughout the industry (operators, service companies, proppant and chemical providers) have dedicated resources to further study proppant behavior inside a fractured formation. Research is ongoing and will continue with the 2018 PTRC, by expanding into chemical technologies centered around proppant carrying capabilities. “With a vast increase in proppant demand, new technologies are focused on specialty proppants and chemicals”, adds Don Anschutz, President and CEO of PropTester, Inc. “Our goal is to provide third party research on new and existing technologies to assist the industry with a better understanding of how proppant and chemicals are behaving in today’s oil and gas wells. It’s important to be actively involved in research and development projects to allow for accurate reporting purposes and future outlooks in the overall proppant industry.”

The Proppant Market Report is produced by PropTester, Inc. and KELRIK, LLC. The contributing authors have over 100 years of direct experience in the production, testing, sale and use of all types of proppants. Proppant Market Report subscribers have access to an electronic copy of the confidential report, as well as access to the report on For further information, please contact Michelle Stribling or Amanda Chavey at (888)-756-2112 or visit

PropTester, Inc.
Michelle Stribling, 713-826-5971
Director of Sales and Marketing