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Innovative chemicals for oil production


* BASF presents its portfolio of oilfield chemicals at the Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition of the Society of Petroleum Engineers
* Innovative products for drilling, extraction, stimulation of oil and gas flow, cementing of wells and tertiary oil recovery

BASF is presenting its range of innovative products for oil production at the Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) in Florence, Italy, September 20−22, 2010. At the BASF booth, number 2105 in the ‘Cavaniglia’ exhibition hall, experts will inform visitors about the extensive range of products and services offered by BASF, with a special focus on the products for the formulation of chemicals for oil and gas production. BASF’s portfolio in this field is very wide and comprises products for the construction of an oil well as well as chemicals for continuous and cost-efficient production of valuable oil and gas resources. Another focal area will be tertiary recovery, also known as enhanced oil recovery (EOR).

This will be the first significant appearance at a trade fair for BASF’s newly created business unit Oilfield and Mining Chemicals. By combining the oilfield chemicals business of what was Degussa Construction Chemicals and the former Ciba AG, BASF has grown to become a global player in this market segment. The main sites are Ludwigshafen and Trostberg, Germany, Houston, Texas, in the United States and Bradford in the United Kingdom. The business is part of the Performance Chemicals division and is headed by Steffen Kudis.

Polydrill ® and Alcomer ® for successful drilling

In the field of water-based drilling fluids BASF’s focus is on high-performance, temperature-stable and contamination-tolerant products. Alcomer® products can be used in a wide variety of applications: thus, for example, the flow properties of the drilling fluid can be adjusted specifically or the unwanted swelling of shale during drilling inhibited. With Polydrill®it is possible to minimize the loss of water from the drilling fluid on the way into the geological formation – an important prerequisite for troublefree drilling. The extensive BASF portfolio also offers other essential additives such as biocides, flocculants, corrosion inhibitors, lubricants, defoamers , emulsifiers and scale inhibitors.

Liquiment ® and Polytrol ® for wellbore cementing

Following successful drilling, the steel casing is anchored firmly in the ground with special cement. More and more frequently the cement mixture has to be pumped over long distances. High temperatures in the ever deeper reservoirs represent an additional challenge. BASF’s state-of-the-art Liquiment® dispersants improve the flow characteristics of the cement slurry with low water content, so it can be pumped several kilometers without setting too soon. Polytrol® and Alcomer® additives prevent unwanted loss of water into the formation during pumping of the cement mixture; this is to ensure complete and reliable filling of the space between the casing and the formation rock.

Alcomer ® and Basocorr ® to stimulate the flow of oil and gas

If the flow of oil or gas dries up in an old well or if a new well is to be brought onstream, the permeability of the oil- or gas-bearing rock formation is increased by a procedure known as stimulation. Depending on the technology used, chemicals may be pumped into the ground under high pressure until fractures form in the rock, or tiny channels may be etched in the rock with acids at lower pressure so the valuable oil or gas can later flow through them unimpeded to the production well. In the case of high-pressure fracturing the friction loss of the stimulation fluid can be reduced considerably by adding selected Alcomer ® products. At the same time, Basocorr ® corrosion inhibitors provide effective protection for installation components and pieces of equipment treated with acid, e.g. aggressive hydrochloric acid.

Basorol ® and Basoflux ® in the production process

At the vast majority of extraction sites water is also produced together with the oil and gas. This unwanted water needs to be removed prior to further transportation to or further processing in the refinery. The water problem often increases as the site becomes older and in some cases as much as 90 % water and only 10 % oil are extracted. With the extensive range of Basorol ® products, BASF is able to provide the service industry with a broad spectrum of highly effective formulating raw materials, so efficient oil/water demulsifier formulations can be developed. Paraffin-rich oils have a tendency to block up production and transportation pipelines by leaving deposits of paraffin crystals. This problem can be avoided by adding Basoflux ® paraffin inhibitors. In gas production and pipeline transportation the formation of gas hydrate crystals under unfavorable conditions (low temperature, high pressure) can significantly reduce the flow rate. The formation of such gas hydrates can be suppressed by the addition of tiny quantities of kinetic gas hydrate inhibitors from the Luvicap ® product line.

Tertiary oil recovery – enhanced oil recovery (EOR)

With primary and secondary recovery methods the amount of crude oil that can be extracted from an oilfield is limited to about 20 - 40 %. In order to ensure that energy requirements continue to be met reliably in the future, oil companies around the world are carrying out intensive work on methods to increase the yield in fields that are already being tapped. BASF is developing improved chemicals for these methods. By using tertiary recovery methods, also referred to as enhanced oil recovery (EOR), more of the original oil in place – usually between 30 and 60 % – can be extracted.

Several EOR methods are available, including the injection of chemicals (chemical EOR). Injection of dilute polymer solutions (polymer flooding) in water is a very well-established technology that can be applied to light to medium-gravity oils. The polymer increases the viscosity of the injected water and thereby enables a more homogeneous pressure distribution upon water injection into the formation. The amount of oil recovered generally increases as the breakthrough of water from the injector to the producer well (fingering) is suppressed via adjustment of water viscosity. Often high interfacial tensions (IFT) or capillary pressures hinder oil droplets from moving through the reservoir. Rather like in a washing process, surfactants that are injected into the ground can assist the release and transportation of the hereby mobilized oil through the reservoir. BASF is developing the next generation of surfactants and polymers specifically designed to recover additional oil under demanding field conditions. The new surfactant formulations have been developed for high-viscosity oils (more than 1000 mPas). Next-generation polymers will make polymer flooding possible in reservoirs with high salinity and/or high temperature.

For additional information on BASF Oilfield Chemicals please visit:

About BASF

BASF is the world’s leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics and performance products to agricultural products, fine chemicals as well as oil and gas. As a reliable partner BASF creates chemistry to help its customers in virtually all industries to be more successful. With its high-value products and intelligent solutions, BASF plays an important role in finding answers to global challenges such as climate protection, energy efficiency, nutrition and mobility. BASF posted sales of more than €50 billion in 2009 and had approximately 105,000 employees as of the end of the year. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (AN). Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at .


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