A July 29, 2013 news item on Nanowerk features a Flotek Industries-sponsored research initiative at Texas A&M University,
Flotek Industries, Inc. announced today sponsorship of applied research at Texas A&M University to investigate the impact of nanotechnology on oil and natural gas production in emerging, unconventional resource plays.
“With the acceleration of activity in oil and gas producing shales, a better understanding of the impact of various completion chemistries on tight formations with low porosity and permeability will be key to developing optimal completion techniques in the future,” said John Chisholm, Flotek’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “While we know Flotek’s Complex nano-Fluid chemistries have been successful in enhancing production in tight resource formations, we believe a more complete understanding of the interaction between our chemistries and geologic formations as well as a more precise comprehension of the physical properties and impact of our nanofluids in the completion process will significantly enhance the efficacy of the unconventional hydrocarbon completion process. This research continues our relationship with Texas A&M where we also are conducting research into acidizing applications in Enhanced Oil Recovery.”
The words ‘unconventional’ and ‘shale’ in the context of oil and gas production suggest fracking to me. For anyone who’s unfamiliar with the practice, here’s an excerpt from a good description in a June 27, 2013 news item on the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) website,
What is fracking?
Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well.
The process is carried out vertically or, more commonly, by drilling horizontally to the rock layer. The process can create new pathways to release gas or can be used to extend existing channels.
Why is it controversial?
The extensive use of fracking in the US, where it has revolutionised the energy industry, has prompted environmental concerns.
The first is that fracking uses huge amounts of water that must be transported to the fracking site, at significant environmental cost. The second is the worry that potentially carcinogenic chemicals used may escape and contaminate groundwater around the fracking site. The industry suggests pollution incidents are the results of bad practice, rather than an inherently risky technique.
The July 29, 2013 Flotek Industries news release (on PRNewswire’s heraldonline.com website) which originated the news item provides more details about the research initiative,
Specifically, the research will focus its investigation on the oil recovery potential of complex nanofluids and select surfactants under subsurface pressure and temperature conditions of liquids-rich shales.
Dr. I. Yucel Akkutlu, Associate Professor of Petroleum Engineering in the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University will serve as the principal investigator for the project. Dr. Akkutlu received his Masters and PhD in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Southern California. He has over a decade of postgraduate theoretical and experimental research experience in unconventional oil and gas recovery, enhanced oil recovery and reactive flow and transport in heterogeneous porous media. He has recently participated in industry-sponsored research on resource shales including analysis of microscopic data to better understand fluid storage and transport properties of organic-rich shales.
“As unconventional resource opportunities continue to grow in importance to hydrocarbon production, understanding ways to maximize recovery will be key to improving the efficacy of these projects,” said Dr. Akkutlu. “The key to enhancing recovery will be to best understand robust, new technologies and their impact on the completion process. Research into complex nanofluid chemistries to understand the physical properties and formation interactions will play an integral role in the future of completion design to optimize recovery from unconventional hydrocarbon resources.”
There was a little surprise (for me) on the website’s Our Company webpage,
Flotek’s vision is to be the premier energy services company focused on best-in class technology, cutting-edge innovation and exceptional customer service all standing in the support of our never-ending commitment to provide superior returns for our stakeholders. Flotek Industries Inc., is a diversified global supplier of drilling-and production-related products and services to the energy and mining industries. Flotek is headquartered in Houston, Texas and its common shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange market under the stock ticker symbol, “FTK.” FLOTEK was originally incorporated under the laws of the Province of British Columbia on May 17, 1985. [emphasis mine] On October 23, 2001, we approved a change in our corporate domicile to the state of Delaware and a reverse stock split of 120 to 1. On October 31, 2001, we completed a reverse merger with CESI Chemical, Inc. (“CESI”). …
I wasn’t expecting the British Columbia (Canadian province where I live) connection.
Moving on to the nanotechnology connection, there’s this about the nano-fluid technology they use currently on the company’s homepage,
Chemical & Logistics / CESI Chemical
Complex nano-Fluid™ Technology
See how CESI Chemical’s patented CnF® will enhance hydrocarbon production and recovery and improve production economics in almost every completion scenario.
If you should visit the company website, expect to fill out a registration for any product information additional to what you see on the homepage or product index page.