Schlumberger has announced the release of the HiWAY flow-channel hydraulic fracturing technique. This new technique maximizes production and hydrocarbon recovery through the creation of open flow channels within the propped fracture.

“HiWAY redefines hydraulic fracturing by removing the link between flow within the fracture and proppant pack conductivity,” says Patrick Schorn, president of Schlumberger Well Services.

Schlumberger has successfully deployed HiWAY in Argentina, Russia, Mexico and the United States. In Argentina, YPF, S.A. employed HiWAY to restimulate and increase gas production from a late-Jurassic Eolian reservoir. HiWAY reduced flowback times and improved effective fracture half-lengths and polymer recovery, resulting in significant increases in hydrocarbon production.

“The average initial production rate for the wells treated with HiWAY was 53 percent higher than that of the offset wells treated using conventional fracturing techniques,” explains Emmanuel d’Huteau, stimulation advisor, YPF, S.A. “Also, the hydrocarbon recovery per well is expected to increase by 15 percent over the next ten years.”

HiWAY fundamentally changes the way fracture conductivity is generated. A combination of placement and completions techniques, fluid engineering and process control creates a complex network of stable channels within the fracture. The productivity of the fracture is decoupled from the actual permeability of the proppant used, so rather than flowing through the proppant pack, hydrocarbons flow through the highly conductive channels. The channels extend from the wellbore to the tip of the fracture, allowing for longer effective fracture half-lengths and better fluid and polymer recovery. These effects allow for maximized production and superior hydrocarbon recovery.

HiWAY is available for hydraulic fracturing applications in competent rock for single- and multi-layer oil or gas wells.