Low-Toxicity Organic Crosslinking Technology

Our patented Conformance Control Technology, featuring low-toxicity organic crosslinkers, is moving from the laboratory into the field. This new technology utilizes phenyl acetate and hexamethylenetetraamine (HMTA) to gel HE® Polymers 100 and 300 polymers in water control applications. These crosslinkers offer environmental and handling advantages; plus they are useful over a broad range of temperatures, beginning at 175ºF.

Developed by Chevron Phillips Chemical in the late 1970s, HE® Polymers have proven to be particularly beneficial in hostile environments, high temperatures, high salinity and high hardness conditions. When crosslinked with phenyl acetate and HMTA, HE® Polymers 100 (<250ºF or <121ºC) and 300 (>200ºF or >149ºC) produce rigid, stable gels. Moreover, phenyl acetate and HMTA are cost-competitive to chromium and other organic crosslinkers used in the industry.

Historically, the classic organic crosslinkers of phenol and formaldehyde provided considerable versatility in crosslinking HE® Polymers. However, the toxicity of these chemicals limits their utility.

HMTA promises to be a viable alternative to formaldehyde in many applications. Phenyl acetate is a relatively low-toxicity alternative to phenol. In combination, phenyl acetate and HMTA provide delayed gelation of HE® Polymers, even at high temperatures.

Objectives for Water Control

Water control objectives vary, depending upon whether the treatment is for near-wellbore or profile modification. In producing wells, gelled polymers are used to reduce operating costs from water lifting and disposal. On the other hand, applications for gelled polymers used in injection wells are designed to improve sweep efficiency and thus increase incremental oil production.

According to the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology:

More than 20 billion barrels of salt water are produced each year in the United States during oil field operations. A tremendous economic incentive exists to reduce water production. For each one percent of reduction in water production, the cost-saving to the oil industry is estimated to be between $50,000,000 and $100,000,000 per year. Reduced water production would result directly in improved oil recovery efficiency in addition to reduced oil-production costs. A substantial positive environmental impact could also be realized if significant reductions are achieved in the amount of water produced during oil field operations.