Quantitative ranking system links fracturing fluid performance with environmental stewardship

Posted on 15 December 2010

A laboratory demonstration and discussion of fracturing fluid additives was held at the Baker Hughes’ Tomball facility on 8 December.

A laboratory demonstration and discussion of fracturing fluid additives was held at the Baker Hughes’ Tomball facility on 8 December.

By qualifying fracturing systems and additives through a recognized third-party chemical evaluation process, Baker Hughes has developed a family of environmentally preferred fracturing fluids known as the BJ SmartCare system. Each fluid and additive in the system has been vetted for safety, performance, compatibility and value by an independent environmental consulting group. A total of 140 products have been evaluated over a one-year period

The ranking process identifies products and systems that meet or exceed existing regulatory requirements and provides a scientific protocol for evaluating and selecting products for use in areas where regulations are limited or absent. Based on the United Nations Global Harmonized System (GHS) for classification and labeling of chemicals, the Baker Hughes evaluation ranks the hazards of chemical components in three major risk categories and 14 subcategories. Two of the categories are managed by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

“Environmental compliance is nothing new to the pumping industry,” Dan Daulton, Baker Hughes’ technical marketing manager for pressure pumping services, remarked during the product launch on 8 December. “Integral to our product development process and critical to our corporate value to investors is a continuous process of improvement that results in reduced product and service risk to plant and animal ecosystems and human health. Our SmartCare product evaluation process, systems and products offer further refinement of our environmental stewardship efforts.”

The scope of current regulations includes the transport, handling and disposal of fracturing fluids, aquifer protection, international requirements, new US state requirements and registration in a national registry for hydraulic fracturing chemicals.

In addition to providing a transparent, quantifiable and standardized method of measuring environmental, human health and physical risks associated with oilfield operations, according to Lindsay Link, president of Baker Hughes’ pressure pumping business segment, “to optimize productivity, you have to match the fracturing technology to the reservoir. The formal evaluation and ranking process gives us the flexibility to combine environmentally preferred fluids, additives and specialty chemicals and create a fit-for-purpose, optimized solution for each well.”

The BJ SmartCare systems qualification process is used to compare all products’ technical and economic value, compatibility and HSE performance. The process allows the company to rank product chemistry scientifically to compare products and provides support for marketing claims.

The top-performing products are packaged together in engineered combinations, such as the BJ HydroCare family of slickwater systems, which include environmentally preferred surfactants and bacteria, clay-control, and friction-reduction additives made with environmentally preferred components. To date, products have been qualified in four fracturing systems: slickwater, linear gel, crosslinked and viscoelastic.

BJ SmartCare is a trademark of Baker Hughes.

Click below to see a video of Baker Hughes US manager of pressure pumping Andy Jordan describing how viscosity and proppant carrying characteristics of fracturing fluids can be altered downhole. Mr Jordan gave a laboratory demonstration during the product launch of the SmartCare system at the Baker Hughes Tomball facility on 8 December.

http://www.drillingcontractor.org/wp-content/uploads/video/BakerHughesFluidDemo.flv

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