Amid rising production costs spurred on by a global decline in oil and gas prices, Phenom Innovations has introduced its high tech Wraith Frac Ball: one of the first fully dissolvable frac balls of its kind. Its patent pending aluminum-based material completely degrades when exposed to any aqueous solution (water-based drilling mud, brine, fresh, effluent or produced water) and temperatures in excess of 100°F. For companies running hydraulic fracturing projects these features represent an evolutionary leap in degradable technologies by virtually eliminating the need to budget for subsequent interventions.
Phenom’s new line-up promises 'something for everyone’ by providing customers a range of sizes, compounds, and specific gravity adjustments (1.8 – 2.7) from which to choose. Add to that the ability to customize dissolve rates to match specific downhole conditions and operators now have an exceptional, and normally unavailable, degree of control over their projects. This opens the door to a variety of new production possibilities such as revisiting mature and previously fracked wells to extend lifecycles and achieve relatively predictable, controllable outcomes.
“Modern extraction techniques have allowed us to tap into formerly unreachable [unconventional] energy resources and created a revolution in the E&P industry,” says Dale Fain, President and CEO. “Our Wraith technology fills an important niche in the market and helps companies plan and execute smarter, leaner, and greener unconventional completions.”
Operators already employing Wraith Frac Balls laud the environmentally friendly and economical option to source water locally and use it as-is to dissolve the balls. Most degradable metallic frac balls require the presence of brine to break down and can result in costly, time-consuming ex post facto scenarios including: treatment, storage, transportation and/or disposal of the fracturing fluid. By removing the need for brine to dissolve its material, Phenom has effectively reduced the spend on water management by at least half and paved the way toward greater utilization of non-critical water sources.
Together these qualities have the potential to shift the entire paradigm of the unconventionals E&P industry. The smart application of such emerging technologies brings producers the relative advantages of boon and buffer during the notorious swings in the energy production market.