Ecorp Stimulation Technologies has expanded its waterless, chemical-free shale gas extraction systems with a technology that uses naturally occurring components in conventional and shale hydrocarbon production — a selection of low molecular weight alkanes or light alkanes — that are usually referred to as “baby oil” in common language.
The company says these Light Alkanes Stimulation (LAS) alkanes are non-flammable and completely safe: they are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for human ingestion and exposure. They also have no adverse impacts on the environment: they are non-ozone depleting and have zero global warming potential.
Patents are pending worldwide and ecorpStim is conducting further testing and experimentation of this technology in the US in several basins this year.
Just like propane in pure propane stimulation (PPS) developed by ecorpStim, light alkanes are a component of natural hydrocarbon production from shales and conventional reservoirs. Thus, as they are already present in the reservoir, using them as the stimulation fluid does not damage the reservoir rock, and therefore should allow increased production from the well compared with traditional hydraulic fracturing.
Likewise, light alkanes can also be self-supplied from the reservoir being stimulated. Additionally, they can be recycled through the reservoir and recovered for further use, in the same way as for propane and heptafluoropropane (as in ecorpStim’s NFP stimulation).
A process to make fracking water-neutral, by making treating and recycling contaminated oilfield water more economical, is under development by MIT spinout Gradiant Corporation.