Advanced Dry Polymer blender eliminates hydrocarbon-based carrier fluid

HOUSTON -- The ADP™ Advanced Dry Polymer blender enables mixing any of Halliburton’s fracturing fluids using a dry polymer, eliminating the need for hydrocarbon-based concentrates.

The ADP blender is one outcome of Halliburton’s continuing commitment to develop more environmentally focused fracturing fluid systems. With the development of the ADP blender, liquid gel concentrates used to blend fracturing fluids are no longer needed.

Since the ADP blender went into service in 2007, Halliburton has eliminated over 100 million gal of hydrocarbon-based carrier fluid from fracturing treatments. The dry blending process can be used with any of Halliburton’s fracturing fluids.

“The ADP is a product of Halliburton technical teams working together and with our suppliers,” explained Jason McIntyre, Halliburton’s Strategic Business Manager - PE Surface Efficiency. “Our Applied Sciences technology group, which designs fluid systems, came up with the idea of mixing dry polymer powder on the fly without carrier fluid. Our Surface Equipment technology group, which provides mechanical and electrical engineering services, designed a prototype to test this concept, and then ultimately the production version.”

Background. Prior to the mid 80s, the accepted practice of creating a fracturing fluid included adding the powdered gelling agent from 50 lb sacks into the total volume of water planned for the fracturing treatment. This process was long and cumbersome and exposed employees to strenuous physical labor as well as the dust created from opening and emptying each sack. A single treatment often required as much as 10,000 to 20,000 lb of gelling agent to be pre-mixed before actual job execution.

Then, in the mid-1980s, LGC liquid gel concentrate was introduced. This liquid formulation enabled Halliburton (and later other service providers) to add the gelling agent “on demand”, eliminating the long, arduous task to prepare the fracturing fluid. This development reduced costs, HSE exposure and benefitted the oil and gas industry. To avoid premature hydration of the gelling agent, the carrier fluid for the gel concentrate was initially diesel.

Then, in 2003, the EPA called for the voluntary removal of diesel fuel from hydraulic fracturing fluids used to stimulation coalbed methane production near underground sources of drinking water. Halliburton readily agreed and decided to do more. By 2007, Halliburton committed to taking an additional step by removing diesel completely from all LGCs used in the United States and replacing it with a mineral oil-based material. The ADP blender is the next evolutionary step in that it enables completely eliminating the hydrocarbon carrier fluids from the fracturing fluid process.

The advantages of mixing with a dry powder over using LGC slurries include:

- Significant reduction in the potential for transportation and storage incidents involving liquids.
- Conservation of petrochemical materials as the carrier fluid is no longer required.
- Reduction of combustion and greenhouse emissions due to reduced vehicle miles traveled transporting liquid gelled material.

Prior to development of the ADP blender, the LGC liquid gel concentrate contained a large percentage of hydrocarbon-based carrier fluid. The ADP blender has completely eliminated the need for the carrier fluid.

International scope
Halliburton has converted its entire North American fracturing fleet to the use of the ADP blender. It is also used extensively in international regions including Latin America, Eurasia, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East.