Tracerco develop biodegradable delivery system for frac tracing


International oil and gas service provider, Tracerco, part of the FTSE 100 company Johnson Matthey has enhanced its patented hydrocarbon frac flow measurement technology through development of a new biodegradable solvent delivery system.

The improvement eliminates the requirement to use any mineral solvent as part of technology application with zero detrimental performance effect. Paul Hewitt, Tracerco’s Business Director for Reservoir Services worldwide said: “Although chemical quantities used in our smart tracer delivery systems are very small, the equivalent of one teaspoon in an Olympic-sized swimming pool, our goal is to eliminate environmentally persistent chemicals from our technology. The Tracerco R&D team focused attention in this area and developed a chemical delivery formula using a plant extract that forms an emulsion and carries our range of smart tracers. The mixture is added during frac operations to each stage, the natural fluid then degrades within the formation leaving the tracer to flow with oil from the wellbore.” The technology has been tested with a variety of frac fluids to ensure that it causes no detrimental effects. No impact on frac fluid property has been observed and results from field deployment have yielded positive results for our customers around the world. Paul Hewitt continued: “Over the past few years we have also heavily invested in aquatic environmental testing of our tracers culminating in EPA approval, an essential legislative requirement before any chemical can be sold under TSCA rules in the USA. Together with the development of a biodegradable delivery system, this assures our customers that application of Tracerco’s smart tracer technology has no adverse environmental impact whilst positively contributing to future well extraction efficiency through provision of critical fluid flow information”. Tracerco was the industry pioneer in developing tracer technology for reservoir characterisation and continue to invest in cutting-edge tracer research and development with its team of over 70 scientists, engineers, and PhDs. The technologies can be deployed without interruption to well production and allow operators to gain a better understanding of reservoir fluid and gas movements throughout their oil and gas reservoirs and near and within the wellbore.

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