Xanthan Suspensionsin Drill-Out Applications
Today's modern drilling and hydraulic fracturing processes take advantage of more than a hundred years of experience and rely on cutting edge solutions to solve complex problems. Take, for instance, the challenge of clearing cuttings away from a drill bit that's thousands of feet underground and then transporting those cuttings to the surface. You might be surprised to learn that you can find the substance that makes clearing those cuttings possible in foods like ice cream and salad dressing! That substance is xanthan gum, and its unique chemical structure makes it perfect for the job of moving cuttings from deep below the surface to the top.
Xanthan Gum's Role in Drilling Fluids
Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide created through the fermentation of simple sugars by a bacteria called Xanthomonas campestris. It's a member of a family of polymers called hydrocolloids, which are both water-soluble and hydrophilic, meaning its molecules are attracted to water. Having an attraction to water is an essential characteristic of xantham gum, as water is the base carrier fluid in drilling muds.
Operators use xanthan gum as a thickening agent in drilling muds to increase the mud's viscosity. When mixed into water, xanthan gum swells, and the mixture takes on a gel-like consistency that has proven to be an excellent carrier of drill cuttings. Even when the flow of drilling mud stops, the viscous mixture helps keep cuttings trapped in suspension instead of allowing them to fall down the drilling pipe due to gravity.
Petroleum Distillates Help Make It All Possible
It may seem counterintuitive to pump hydrocarbons, like petroleum distillates, back into the ground, but there's an excellent reason they're used in conjunction with xanthan gum in drilling mud. Xanthan gum is water-soluble, but it's not oil-soluble. That means when it's mixed with a petroleum distillate, like Resolute Oil's MaxPure PD, xanthan gum doesn't dissolve – it disperses. Trucks transport the pre-mixed dispersion to the well site in drums, totes, and pails, and massive pumps pump it to the wellhead, where it mixes with water and other additives before being sent down the wellbore.
Xanthan Suspension Products
MaxPure PD petroleum distillates are used extensively in the oil & gas industry to provide consistent, reliable performance in friction reducers, guar suspensions, and xanthan suspensions. MaxPure PD products are cost-effective, 'BTEX Pass' formulations that can be custom-tailored to meet specific needs and requirements.
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