How Valuable is Tunable Technology?

September 18, 2018

Author: Carla Lewis, VP – Commercial & Operations Planning

The two key needs I continually hear from our clients are how can they improve efficiency and reduce their footprint while increasing production. These needs are amplified by current operating conditions such as longer laterals and smaller pad locations coupled with more wells per pad.

Typically, when you think about ways to improve efficiency and reduce footprint during a fracturing operation, you think about the equipment being used. But you should also look at the fluids. Tunable technology is defined as fluids that allow you to adjust the chemical properties in real time, giving added efficiency and operational benefits such as increased treatment rates, lower surface HHP requirements and eliminating the need for a hydration unit on location. BJ’s ThinFrac™ friction reducers (FR) can be fine-tuned to perform in a wide-range of operating conditions. 

Our enhanced FR, ThinFrac MP, is versatile enough to be used in all types of fracturing treatments. It can be used at low concentrations for slickwater applications and at high concentrations as a non-damaging guar alternative to linear and even crosslinked gels. 

Improving Efficiency

The main purpose of tunable technology is to improve the efficiency of slickwater operations. ThinFrac MP can reduce pipe friction by up to 85% and is a one-fluid solution. Utilizing a single fluid on-site is more efficient than a hybrid system because it eliminates the need to switch fluids, perform QA/QC, wait for the guar to hydrate and more. It can also reduce NPT by increasing the concentration on-the-fly if we can’t break into the formation or when a shutdown would have been necessary due to pressure because the proppant was not being successfully carried in those stages.

Reducing Footprint

The tunablilty of our enhanced FR allows us to have less equipment on location due to its unique versatility. More and more frequently, site space is limited and the less equipment and additives on-site, the better. A conventional hybrid system increases operational complexity because it requires a hydration unit, increased HHP (depending on the friction reducer’s performance) and the inconvenience of handling more chemicals on location. Our tunable technology requires less equipment onsite because it is a one-fluid solution, resulting in a decreased fracturing site footprint.

Added Value

BJ’s friction reducers minimize the wear and tear on equipment caused by abrasive proppants and enables superior proppant transport. This means lower repair and maintenance costs and more uptime. Also, where most high viscosity fluids lead to formation damage because they don’t break easily, ThinFrac MP provides precise breakability. It leaves no residue in the proppant pack, which increases production.

BJ developed our family of FRs with a client-focus and builds the portfolio to ensure value is delivered on any job site. This technology has proven to improve efficiency and reduce the footprint under a variety of operating conditions due to its tunability. It is invaluable to know your FR will continue to perform as needed under rapid design change, without increasing your operating or logistical costs.

For more information on tunable technology, download the article by our Director of Technology or visit

Carla Lewis is the vice president of commercial and operations planning at BJ Services, the largest North American-focused, pure-play pressure pumping services provider. She was born in Venezuela and has spent her entire career in oil and gas. Carla’s 14 years of experience includes positions within operations, sales, technology, management and business development. Her wealth of knowledge allows her to assist BJ in being a technology-leader in the industry.