Chemical use

We continue to build on our detailed understanding of the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process.

Chemicals are used for many purposes in hydraulic fracturing. Some chemicals are designed to inhibit bacterial growth while others reduce friction and allow fluids to flow down the casing more easily. Without these additives, the effectiveness of each hydraulic fracture treatment would be limited. The make-up of fracturing fluid varies from one geological basin or formation to another and the difference between the formulations can be as small as a change in concentration of one specific compound. The number of chemical additives used in a typical fracture treatment also varies, depending on the conditions of the well being fractured. Each component serves a specific, engineered purpose.

% of Total Product category Main ingredient Purpose
~99.5% Water H20 Creates fractures and delivers the sand to the zone of interest
Sand (proppant) Silica Props fractures open to allow gas to flow
~0.50% Gel Guar gum Thickens water to suspend the sand
Friction reducer Polyacrylamide Minimize friction between the fluid and the pipe
Crosslinker Borate salts or Zirconium Greatly increases base gel viscosity
Anti-bacterial agents Glutaraldehyde Eliminates any bacteria in the water that may produce corrosive byproducts.
Breaker Ammonium or Sodium persulfate Breaks gel to lower viscosity
Corrosion inhibitor n, n-dimethyl formamide Prevents corrosion of the pipe
Iron control Citric acid Prevents metal oxides precipitation
Clay stabilizer Potassium or Quaternary chloride Creates a brine carrier fluid
pH adjusting agent Sodium hydroxide or Potassium carbonate Maintains desired pH for crosslinker effectiveness
Surfactant Isopropanol Used for water recovery and preventing emulsions

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