Frac Flowback

Definition - What does Frac Flowback mean?

Frac Flowback is a water-based solution which flows back into the earth's surface after the completion of hydraulic fracturing of shale gas reserves. This water-based solution consists of chemical additives, mud, clay, dissolved metal ions and total dissolved solids. The water is murky due to the high amount of suspended particles. It is prepared in the first ten days and the remaining solution can be prepared over a period of four weeks. The recovery volume because of flowback is approximately 20-40 percent after injection into the well for hydraulic fracturing.

Petropedia explains Frac Flowback

When horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing were not much developed, frac flowback testing was performed in order to clean up the wellbore and its nearby reservoir rock areas. It was also used to get an indication of the amount and type (oil, gas, water) of reservoir fluid that would be produced and at what pressure, if any.

At present, frac flowback is very much associated with the production of natural gas or shale gas through shale rocks using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing process. It is recovered from the well at the surface when the fluid is used to hydraulically fracture the shale formations. Frac flowback is considered to be an important step in the drilling operation. After it is recovered from the hydraulic fracturing operation it needs to be properly and safely disposed into the earth's surface along with groundwater. This water-based solution needs to be purified before disposal. Some of the tools used to clean it are:

  • Manual choke manifolds
  • Hydraulic choke manifolds
  • Plug catchers
  • Smug catchers
  • Sand separators
  • Control trailers
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