Enzo Energy Services finds niche in acid fracks, The Red Deer trucking company capitalizes on changing completion programs by Alberta Oil Staff, October 24, 2012
The Red Deer, Alberta-based trucking firm specializes in hauling hydrochloric acid (HCl) for the oil and gas industry. A surge in demand for the hazardous material in 2011 created a shortage in Western Canada and sent the business partners scrambling all over North America to supply their customers. “We travelled to New Brunswick to get HCl, we sent a trailer to New Jersey, South Carolina and Louisiana; we were picking up acid from anywhere,” Johnson says. “There was such an acid shortage that in the fall of 2011 our trucks were sitting.” Diluted acid, typically in a concentration of 15 per cent, makes up less than one per cent of traditional hydraulic fracturing fluid. The small volume is used in a water-based completion to dissolve metals and compounds in the rock close to the wellbore to improve reservoir exposure. In recent years, some producers have implemented completion programs using HCl, typically in a concentration of 28 per cent, as the main component of the fracture treatment in carbonate formations.
One of the big differences between a traditional frack and an acid frack is there is no proppant used in the latter. The HCl in an acid frack etches the face of the carbonate rock when it is fractured opened. When the treatment is complete and the fracture closes, oil or gas can travel to the wellbore through the wormholes created by the acid. Previously, producers would use about 250 cubic meters of HCl per well. As the technology advanced, companies began using volumes between 1,200 and 1,400 cubic meters of HCl per well on multi-stage frack operations. “The whole infrastructure surrounding acid, hauling acid, delivery of acid to Western Canada and the distribution of it, was based on very small volumes. Then in 2010 it just exploded,” Johnson says. “That’s caused a lot of problems; it has been incredibly volatile.” [Emphasis added]