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Ceramic Proppants

What is a Proppant?

Simply put, a proppant is the material used to ‘prop’ open an induced hydraulic fracture in order to ensure efficient extraction of fossil fuels from subterranean reservoirs.

To understand what a proppant is and how it works, one first has to develop an understanding about the process of hydraulic fracturing. In oil and/or gas wells, hydraulic fractures are induced in the reservoir rock formation, through high pressured injection of fluid. The induced hydraulic fractures allow for an easier pathway for the oil/gas to flow towards the well, thus ensuring greater output.

However, due to the great depths and the weight of the overlying rock formations, the induced hydraulic fractures do not last long and start closing in as soon as the liquid is removed. To keep them open, a proppant is introduced in the system during and/or after the fracking fluid induces the fractures.

What is Ceramic Proppant?

Grains of sand, ceramic or similar materials can be used as proppant. The type of proppant to be used in a well depends on a number of variables, including the depth and nature of the reservoir rock formation and the nature of the fracking fluid used to induce the fractures.

Ceramic proppants are manmade proppants and are considered more efficient in comparison with resin coated sand and silica sand due to greater permeability, porosity and grain strength.

Choice and Use of Ceramic Proppant

The primary use of ceramic proppant is to increase well production by providing ease of flow to the oil/gas in the reservoir rock formation. The proppant keeps the induced hydraulic fractures from closing, and offers greater permeability to the oil/gas.

The choice of ideal proppant for a rock formation is made by considering multiple variables including:

  • The permeability of the formation

  • Non-Darcy flow

  • Multi-phase flow

  • Fluid damage

  • Achievable concentration

  • Stress on proppant

Initially silica sand was commonly used as proppant by many drilling companies, but in the last few years ceramic proppant has become more popular. The reason behind ceramic proppant’s increased use is its availability in a variety of sizes and types.

According to the general classification, ceramic proppants can be divided into three categories:

  1. Light weight: They are economical and provide limited strength. They can be used in relatively shallow wells.

  2. Intermediate: Intermediate ceramic proppants provide greater strength and are ideal for relatively deep wells.

  3. Sintered bauxite: These are the strongest ceramic proppants and are generally used to extremely deep wells.

The general classification is based on the strength of proppant. Different sizes are available within each category, the available sizes are: 16/20. 16/30, 20/40, 30/50, and 40/70.

Benefits of using Ceramic Proppants

As discussed earlier, proppants increase the production from a well, ensuring that each well has a longer life cycle and maximum amount of oil/gas can be extracted from it.

Ceramic proppants are stronger, allow greater permeability and are cost effective in comparison with silica sand proppants. They are engineered to serve the purposes of the drilling industry and are available in great variety for a variety of fractures.

At Mas Supply Co. Ltd, we have the ceramic proppants ideal for your drilling ventures. Click here to browse our products.