Date of Award

Summer 2021

Degree Type

Non-Thesis Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Committee Chair

Susan Schrader

First Advisor

Burt Todd

Second Advisor

Paul Conrad


Proppants are a key part of hydraulic fracturing, a technique in oil production that allows the production of hydrocarbons from low permeability reservoirs. The hydraulic fracturing process intends to create new fractures in the rock as well as increase the size, extent, and connectivity of existing fractures. The American Petroleum Institute (API) developed two testing procedures for measuring conductivity of proppants in a laboratory setting, namely; the Short-Term Proppant Conductivity Testing Procedure (API PR 61, 1989) and Long-Term Proppant Conductivity Testing Method (API PR 19D, 2008). However, testing methods produced inconsistent results, with a significant coefficient of variance of ±80% from one person or lab to the next when the same proppants and procedures are used (Barree et al, 2003).

As such, Montana Tech researchers have developed a number of new proppant conductivity testing methods to lower variance. These new testing procedures from Montana Tech have shown more consistent results with a reduced average variance of ±7.6% and ±14.3% in ceramic and sand proppants respectively. But these testing procedures have only been used to compare one proppant to another under laboratory conditions. This project sought to take a step further with the study by using results of laboratory proppant conductivity measurements at Montana Tech to attempt to better model fractures in reservoir simulation using well data from the Bakken unconventional formations of North Dakota.


A project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Science in Petroleum Engineering

Included in

Engineering Commons