To be effective, proppants have to meet multiple requirements: a layer of proppant must have the porosity to allow oil or gas to flow, but also be mechanically strong enough to resist the pressure of thousands of feet of rock. Both aspects are influenced by the particle size, the particle size distribution and the shape of the particles, as well as by the nature of the material.
A narrow particle size distribution is most effective – keeping the proportion of fine particles to a minimum, the channels between the large particles remain open and transport the oil or gas more effectively.
The mechanical strength of the proppant is also critical, being highly dependent on the raw material and how it is processed. Stronger materials however are also more expensive, and the associated increased density limits the proppants effectiveness in penetrating horizontal boreholes and fractures.
The ideal balance between all these characteristics also depends on the depth of the drilling and the nature of the rock formations. In some applications, mere quartz sand is sufficient, but other situations call for a high-performance proppant made of ceramic materials, that can withstand difficult conditions in great depths.
At IBU-tec, we have vast experience in producing a range of ceramic proppants, for example from kaolin, bauxite, gibbsite and clay.
IBU-tec has developed bauxite-based proppants on par with the specifications of leading manufacturers. Depending on the raw material, it is possible to achieve an almost perfect spherical form (Krumbein roundness and sphericity both 0.9). We develop proppants in any screen cut that is required, such as 20/40 or 40/70 mesh.