What is flowback?

As leading flowback service providers — and the creators of flowback 2.0 and flowback 2.0+ — we frequently get asked about what it all means. On this resource page, you’ll find helpful information on everything you need to know about flowback.

What is flowback?

Flowback is the first stage of a hydrocarbon well’s producing life. Before flowback begins, the well is drilled and then it is fraced. Usually, while those operations are being conducted, all of the production equipment is brought to the site and the production facility is constructed. When all of these operations are complete, the operator is ready for flowback.

Lasting anywhere from 1-3 months, the flowback phase is crucial to optimizing production. The first fluid that is produced from the well is a mix of crude oil, formation water, natural gas, frac sand, as well as frac water and chemicals. It is important to use sand separation technology during flowback to efficiently capture the sand so that it does not reach the production facility.

If a significant amount of sand passes the sand separating equipment in flowback, there will likely be hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, replacement parts, and clean-up fees.

Learn more about how EnerCorp handles flowback.




The stages of a well's life

What are the different stages of a well’s life that flowback operations support?


Flowback operations and equipment support multiple stages of a well’s life, including toe prep, frac, drillout, and flowback, in addition to cleanout operations on older producing wells.

At EnerCorp, we take a highly engineered approach to flowback. Our flowback operations don’t start with an equipment list. Instead, we look at the stages of your well’s life up to this point, and understand the specifications for this particular job. Our engineers look at the expected well flow regimes and any potential challenges anticipated to determine a well site configuration that minimizes AFE and LOE spend.

Configured for the flowback phase, early production phase, and steady state phase, our flowback and sand management solutions minimize equipment footprint and personnel required at your site, reducing environmental hazards, safety concerns, and costs.

Learn more about EnerCorp’s approach to flowback for each stage.

The new flowback

What is the evolution of flowback?

At EnerCorp, we have three levels of flowback technology: traditional flowback, flowback 2.0, and flowback 2.0+. Working with some of the largest oil and gas companies in the world, we have the opportunity to navigate a broad range of flowback applications. Here is how we have evolved the flowback process:



Sand Damage Gauge - Damaged
Sand Damage Level

Traditional flowback

With traditional flowback job rig-ups, you will have a lot of equipment on location if your well is producing a moderate to large amount of sand. Generally, we see two sand traps, a plug valve manifold, a three-phase separator, and a flare. For this much equipment, you will likely need two operators per shift to support well-site operations. Additionally, if your sand levels are high or you have periods of "sand slugging," it is likely you will have sand in your production facility and equipment damage from that sand.

Traditional flowback Setup – Equipment and PERSONNEL

Production Facility

EnerCorp Personnel Single Icon - White
Number 2 EnerCorp Icon
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EnerCorp Sand Separator Illustration Icon - Red
EnerCorp Plug Valve Manifold Illustration Icon - Red Updated
EnerCorp Sand Separator Illustration Icon - Yellow
EnerCorp Test Separator Illustration Icon - Yellow
EnerCorp Trailer mounted flare stack Illustration Icon - White
EnerCorp Production Separator Illustration Icon - Yellow
EnerCorp Tank Battery (4) Illustration Icon - Yellow


Note: The color of the equipment is an indication of expected sand damage



Sand Damage Gauge - Clean
Sand Damage Level

Flowback 2.0

In this evolution of the flowback process, we bring in our patented cyclonic technology, the Mojave Dual Cyclone, with a sand capture rate of up to 90%. It works efficiently in high flow rates and the two-phase cyclonic process has been used on thousands of wellsites across the globe. In some cases, we also use our Scorpion or ScorpionXT sand filtration technology to capture more than 99% of the sand produced. This rigup will reduce the equipment footprint slightly and significantly reduce sand related issues during operations.


Flowback 2.0 Setup – Equipment and PERSONNEL

Production Facility

EnerCorp Personnel Single Icon - White
Number 2 EnerCorp Icon
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EnerCorp Mojave Color Illustration Icon - Full Color
EnerCorp Plug Valve Manifold Illustration Icon - Yellow Updated
EnerCorp Scorpion XT Color Illustration Icon - Full Color

EnerCorp Production Separator Illustration Icon - Green
EnerCorp Tank Battery (4) Illustration Icon - Green


Note: The color of the equipment is an indication of expected sand damage



Sand Damage Gauge - Clean
Sand Damage Level

Flowback 2.0+

Utilizing the Sahara Advanced Cyclone, we can greatly simplify flowback operations. This industry-leading technology provides unparalleled sand-capture rates, working effectively across a broad range of flow regimes.

An entirely modern way of considering flowback, this evolution removes virtually all sand out of your hydrocarbon production stream with a single piece of equipment.  This capability allows us to support our clients with significantly less equipment and personnel needed to meet flowback objectives.


Flowback 2.0+ Setup – Equipment and PERSONNEL

Production Facility

EnerCorp Personnel Single Icon - White
Number 1 EnerCorp Icon
Image
EnerCorp Sahara Color Illustration Icon - Full Color
EnerCorp Plug Valve Manifold Illustration Icon - Green Updated


EnerCorp Production Separator Illustration Icon - Green
EnerCorp Tank Battery (4) Illustration Icon - Green


Note: The color of the equipment is an indication of expected sand damage

Learn more about how we evolve flowback.

More on Flowback 2.0+