A Potential Game Changer Technology for Acid Fracking Demonstrated

College of Petroleum Engineering & Geosciences scientists used a Zinc solution to cause mineral alteration and convert calcite into smithsonite, a hard mineral. Such a conversion serves the purpose of consolidating and hardening acid fractured formations to keep them open for production for a longer time and thereby solve a central contemporary problem in tight carbonate reservoirs.

Research Associate Professor Dr. Kion Norrman of the Oilfield Chemistry program at the CIPR collaborated with the Physics Department at King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals – KFUPM to employ their X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) and fundamentally understand this alteration process. XPS with high-energy resolution can tell the tale about the electronic environment associated with atoms in molecules. In mixed minerals, it is, therefore, possible to shed light on how metal ions are positioned in a lattice to make it stronger. The study is part of an ongoing industry funded project lead by Dr. Murtada Al Jawad, Assistant Professor of Petroleum Engineering.