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New electromagnetic technology directly images hydraulic fracturing

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Energy Global,

GroundMetrics Inc. has partnered with Carbo Ceramics, ConocoPhillips, Sandia National Laboratories and Weatherford to run a successful test in a West Texas oil well that was able to observe where proppant propagated through the subsurface during a hydraulic frac.

The standard technology for imaging unconventional fields is microseismic monitoring but this only maps where rocks are breaking and producing characteristic "popping" noises. Microseismic images do not show where proppant is going or where it is propping open fracture systems.

Carbo Ceramics' and GroundMetrics' recent joint test proved that their technology is able to do so. GroundMetrics used its proprietary electromagnetic source and sensor system to stimulate and detect 230 000 lbs. of Carbo Ceramics' electrically conductive proppant after it was pumped into an 8000 ft. deep well. The resulting data was processed into an earth model that imaged exactly where the proppant had gone underground.

"There are several E&P companies that are very interested in that because finally we will be able to tell, 'Are we effectively stimulating these rocks and should we have our well spacing at X, Y, or Z, or in between?'" said Gary Kolstad, president and CEO of Carbo Ceramics to JPT Magazine. "Now you can take a look and say, 'Am I really spending my capital how I should?'"

"We're very excited about the results from this survey," said George Eiskamp, CEO at GroundMetrics. "Given the current crisis in the industry, we must leverage innovative technologies to find new ways to optimise production. Electromagnetic imaging of conductive proppant is a perfect example. It gives operators actionable insights that can dramatically shift the economics of a given field."

Edited from press release by

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