Proppant with ultra-high strength, sphericity and smoothness for fracing deepwater tight sands ///

Operators seeking to exploit the prolific Lower Tertiary tight sands in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico are facing the same dilemma that George Mitchell encountered, while trying to produce gas from the Barnett shale—low-permeability formations are not able to produce without fracing. While fracing the Barnett shale was tough enough, fracing at Lower Tertiary depth (>40,000 ft) in the Gulf of Mexico under deepwater conditions is fraught with a great number of technical challenges, including HPHT conditions. Among these is the challenge that the operators issued for creating a proppant that has at least twice the conductivity, at 20,000-psi closure stress, compared to conventional high-strength ceramic proppant.

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