Using Nano Drug Release Technology for Effective Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Cleanup in Conventional and Unconventional Reservoirs

Recorded On: 10/11/2016

Hydraulic fracturing is widely used by the oil and gas industry to stimulate hydrocarbon production in both conventional and unconventional reservoirs. Multistage-fracturing in horizontal wells are responsible for the recent boom in unconventional oil and gas productions worldwide. The main issue with hydraulic fracturing is the formation damage caused by incomplete cleanup of the water-based fracturing fluids, which is especially critical in unconventional reservoirs with tight formation rocks. Breakers such as oxidizers or enzymes are commonly used to break the viscous fracturing fluids to facilitate better fracture cleanup. However, the current-state-of-the-art suffers from either premature or incomplete breakdown of the fracturing fluids resulting in inefficient fracture creation or incomplete fracture cleanup, respectively.

In this presentation, the speaker will demonstrate how to use a nano drug carrier used by the pharmaceutical industry for delayed drug release to entrap, protect, and delay the release of enzymes for effective fracturing fluid cleanup. The nano drug carrier selected is polyelectrolyte complex (PEC) nanoparticles. It is a simple and flexible platform where a negatively charged polyanion and a positively charged polycation are mixed to form nanoparticles through charge-charge interaction. The enzyme can then be loaded into the PEC nanoparticles. The delayed release of enzyme can be controlled by engineering the compositions of the PEC nanoparticles. Laboratory results will be presented to show that PEC nanoparticles not only can delay the release of enzyme to facilitate effective breakdown of the crosslinked guar but can also protect the enzyme so that it can survive temperature and pH outside its normal performance envelop. The implication for the unconventional reservoirs with tight formation rocks is that we have developed a tool that could potentially allow the industry to use more viscous fracturing fluid for better proppant carrying capability without having to worry about the formation damage due to incomplete fracturing fluid cleanup.

This webinar is categorized under the Production and Operations discipline.

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Jenn-Tai Liang

John E. & Deborah F. Bethancourt Professor, Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering, TAMU

Professor Liang joined TAMU in August 2014. Before joining TAMU, Liang was a professor of Petroleum Engineering and director of Tertiary Oil Recovery Program at The University of Kansas. Prior to that, he served as a program manager in upstream oil and gas and environmental research at the US DOE Idaho National Laboratory. His main research focus is on developing promising uses of nanotechnology for oilfield applications in both conventional and unconventional reservoirs. Based on drug-delivery technologies from the pharmaceutical industry, his research group successfully developed chemical delivery systems that use nano drug carriers to protect oilfield chemicals from the hostile underground environments. This is accomplished by delaying the release of entrapped chemicals so that they can be transported to desired locations in the reservoir. Example applications in improved oil recovery include in-depth conformance control, chemical and microbial EOR, flow assurance and hydraulic fracturing fluid cleanup. Liang has been awarded six U.S. patents with five more pending for his work in nanotechnology. He received 2016 SPE IOR Pioneer Award and was an SPE Distinguished Lecturer for the 2015-2016 lecturer season.

SPE Webinars are FREE to members courtesy of the


10/11/2016 at 9:30 AM (EDT)   |  90 minutes
10/11/2016 at 9:30 AM (EDT)   |  90 minutes Scheduled for 90 minutes.
CEU Credit
0.15 CEU credits  |  Certificate available
0.15 CEU credits  |  Certificate available CEU Credit