PropTester 2021 Proppant Transport Research Council
Within the past 10 years, the hydraulic fracturing industry has experienced paradigm shifts within the proppant and fracturing fluids market. The utilization of finer mesh proppants (40/70 and 100 Mesh) has created a demand for new technologies centered around proppants and fracturing fluids.
The Proppant Transport Research Council is a dynamic group of hydraulic fracturing experts dedicated to identifying projects and conducting research to successfully prove or disprove current completion theories within the industry. The fracturing industry continues to develop new techniques to optimize well performance while identifying potential cost savings. To assist in this common goal, Council members participate in a one-year project focused on proppant transport through extensive testing and research at a minimal price. The 2021 project will exclusively conduct large-scale proppant transport testing on the 10’x20’ slot flow wall. The advanced equipment was specifically designed to study proppant and fluid behavior in unconventional, far-field fracture environments.
Recruiting is ongoing. Project descriptions and objectives are below. Members of the Council consist of industry leaders with operators, service companies, and product providers. For additional information or to become a member, please email
2021 Project Description:
Thirty (30) proppant transport tests will be conducted on a large scale, 10’x20’, slot flow apparatus. Various proppants and fluids will be tested to study the proppant and fluid behavior(s) relevant to current completion designs. The inlet will be moved to the centerline of the wall to allow proppant and fluid to enter into an environment similar to a horizontal wellbore intersecting with a transverse fracture.
2021 Project Objectives:
1. How does proppant deposit when pumped into various locations of a transverse fracture (top, middle and bottom)?
2. How do various fluids transport proppant into a 10’x20’, tortuous path, slot flow apparatus?
3. Observe how fracture roughness can impact fracture flow by incorporating rough panels into slot flow apparatus.
4. Study the impact of proppant placement and near-wellbore conductivity using mixed proppants such as frac sand and ceramic/premium proppant. (continuation of SPE paper 201641).
5. Study the impacts of higher TDS brines on friction reducers.
6. Compare the conductivity values of proppant packs that incorporate when mixing proppant types and proppant mesh sizes.
7. Examine reverse flow / flow back by injecting fluid into the proppant pack of the 10’x20’ slot flow apparatus.
8. Study limited-entry perforation phasing with a transverse fracture injection.
9. Exposing fluids to “pipe time” and measuring the viscosity variations using 1,500 – 2,000 ft. of continuous pipe prior to entering the 10’x20’ slot flow apparatus.
Project Deliverables:
1. All testing will take place at PropTester. Council Members are invited to witness tests.
2. All data will be delivered electronically throughout the project.
3. Data will belong to the Council. All information will be held internally until the end of the project.
4. At the end of the project, Council Members have full use license to data.
5. Pertinent observations regarding proppant transport using various fracturing fluids will be outlined.
6. Recommendations on how to improve fracture stimulation completions will also be provided.