Performance comparisons of different tier friction reducers (FRs) using field water samples from the Delaware and Midland basins within the Permian Basin are discussed. The objective is to correlate them with their respective water mineralogy to identify the primary components affecting FR effectiveness, allowing a proper FR selection based on individual elements and not just by total dissolved solids (TDS). Identifying critical minerals that affect the proper FR selection enables making an educated FR selection not based on TDS count alone, which could potentially reduce the amount of testing and unsuccessful field trials.

To zero in on the primary elements within the water that affect friction reduction behavior, extensive testing was performed. Traditional and inductive couple plasma (ICP) water analyses were performed to determine mineralogy, and flow loop testing was performed to determine FR performance. Additionally, specific parameters (i.e., hydration time, maximum FR percentage, and stability) were measured and compared to the multiple tests to determine trends between FR performance and water mineralogy.

Understanding how a flow loop apparatus works is discussed, which helps when interpreting friction reduction performance. This is a fundamental component for understanding the behavior of the FR during testing and how it affects performance in the field. Additionally, this paper can be used as a basic guide for flow loop interpretation, and it attempts to identify possible causes of varying FR behavior in the field versus laboratory testing.

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