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Development and Evaluation of a Mobile Plant to Prepare Natural Gas for Use in Foam Fracturing Treatments

[+] Author Affiliations
Griffin Beck, Melissa Poerner, Kevin Hoopes

Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX

Sandeep Verma

Schlumberger, Cambridge, MA

Garud Sridhar, Alhad Phatak

Schlumberger, Sugar Land, TX

Paper No. GT2017-64689, pp. V009T27A021; 10 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2017: Turbomachinery Technical Conference and Exposition
  • Volume 9: Oil and Gas Applications; Supercritical CO2 Power Cycles; Wind Energy
  • Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, June 26–30, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5096-1
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


Hydraulic fracturing treatments are used to produce oil and gas reserves that would otherwise not be accessible using traditional production techniques. Fracturing treatments require a significant amount of water, which has an associated environmental impact. In recent work funded by the Department of Energy (DOE), an alternative fracturing process has been investigated that uses natural gas as the primary fracturing fluid. In the investigated method, a high-pressure foam of natural gas and water is used for fracturing, a method than could reduce water usage by as much as 80% (by volume). A significant portion of the work focused on identifying and optimizing a mobile processing facility that can be used to pressurize natural gas sourced from adjacent wells or nearby gas processing plants.

This paper discusses some of the evaluated processes capable of producing a high-pressure (10,000 psia) flow of natural gas from a low-pressure source (500 psia). The processes include five refrigeration cycles producing liquefied natural gas as well as a cycle that directly compresses the gas. The identified processes are compared based on their specific energy as calculated from a thermodynamic analysis. Additionally, the processes are compared based on the estimated equipment footprint and the process safety. Details of the thermodynamic analyses used to compare the cycles are provided. This paper also discusses the current state of the art of foam fracturing methods and reviews the advantages of these techniques.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME



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