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DGMK-Project Production Engineering

Numerical and Model-Physical Investigations on Innovative Frac-Technologies with Alternative Frac-Fluids for Tight Gas Formations and Re-Fracturing Options

Research Center
TU Clausthal, Forschungszentrum Energiespeichertechnologien – Prof. Dr. M.Z. Hou, F. Mehmood, J. Liao
Project Accompaniment
Wintershall Dea, Hamburg - D. Leuchtmann
EMPG, Hanover -M. Zinterl
Neptune Energy Deutschland GmbH, Lingen - M. Berling
Wintershall Dea, Kassel - J. Sommer
Reason and Goal

Due to their physical properties (viscosity, density), the alternative frac fluids mentioned above present some technical challenges, such as high pressures at the wellhead. In this project, different scenarios are to be simulated on a case study in order to verify the feasibility for German tight gas deposits and to optimise the processes.


The use of water-based frac fluids has a long history. Their disadvantages become more and more obvious as the development of tight gas formations progresses. The main problem is the slow flow-back, which allows the support fluid to settle.
The solution to these problems is to replace the water-based frac-fluids with alternative frac-fluids, such as liquid gas (CO2, N2), LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas e.g. propane or butane), foam, energised fluids, methanol or emulsions. Although these alternative frac fluids have different properties, they have in common the use of gas as the main component of the frac fluid. Gas usually has a low viscosity and a high expansion capability, so that the frac closure can be accelerated and the lowering of the supporting fluid can be prevented.


The final report has been completed. The DGMK research report has been published. You can order it from us on the DGMK website under Publications.

Project Status

Project Coordinator

Dr. Susanne Kuchling

Head of the Geo-Energy-Systems and Subsurface Technologies Department


ExxonMobil Production Germany GmbH

Neptune Energy Germany GmbH

Wintershall Dea GmbH

Wintershall Dea Germany AG