Use of Guar Gum Powder in Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids

Hydraulic Fracturing is a process of treating underground mineral (natural gas) reservoirs by applying sequential pumping of sufficient amount of water-based fracturing fluids. These fluids are mixed with proppant materials (usually sand gravels), and thickening agents such as guar gum powder. Since fracturing is very important and highly risky process, everything is controlled and monitored at each step. Increase in demand of Guar for fracturing fluids is pulling the focus of Guar Gum Exporters. Why are thickening agents used in Fracturing fluids? Cassia Gum & Derivatives Before answering this particular question let’s know what is the purpose of fracturing fluids in the hydraulic fracturing process. The fluid is pumped into the wellbore with high pressure to create a fracture in the reservoir’s formation. Once the fracture is created, it is widened to allow the proppant materials to reach inside. Thickening agents are used to fracturing fluids to enhance it in the following ways:
  1. Thickening agent increases fluid’s viscosity and helps exhibit controlled-break on low-viscosity fluid.
  2. Maximize friction pressure to improve the injection process.
  3. Increase the fracturing pressure to create better fractures.
  4. Stabilize the fluid by making it non-reactive to small chemical changes.
It is very important for any thickening agent to fulfil the mentioned properties to serve its purpose. Guar gum powder is actively preferred in Oil and Gas Recovery from oceans because of the following properties of Gaur: Solubility: Fracturing fluids consists mostly of water and various other mixtures. When choosing a thickening agent, it needs to be made sure that the material has water solubility. Guar gum powder is more soluble when compared to other gums.
  • High-Viscosity: Guar Gum powder provides exceptionally high-viscosity to the fluids hence improving its ability to transport less viscous fluids, proppant. Thickening power of Guar gum is 8 times of starch making is one of the most suitable additives for increasing viscosity.
  • Tolerance for high temperature: Temperature in this process is highly unstable and a tolerance for high temperature is extremely needed. Guar gum powder as an additive remains exceptionally stable. It needs to be noted that Guar gum degrades at low pH and moderate temperature (pH 3 at 50 °C).
  • Non-ionic nature: Non-iconic nature of Guar Gum makes it unaffected by ionic strength or pH. This makes it even better contender as the condition in such processes is very unpredictable.
  • Better emulsifiers: Guam gum as an additive has proven to be a better stabilizer for dispersion of fluids. Emulsion, dispersion of fluids droplets, can degrade the results and even affect proppant materials.
  • Presence of colloidal solids: Colloidal solids increase the effectiveness of the fluids by decreasing the formation of filter cakes. Since Guar hydrates rapidly in cold water, it provides greater low-shear viscosity.
Enhancement in Guar gum powder Guar molecules have a tendency to aggregate because of intermolecular hydrogen bonding. These aggregates can sometimes, clog the fracture hence blocking the flow of minerals. To prevent these guar polymer chains are cross-linked to form metal complexes. Several other derivatives of Guar gum powder are available which has improved water-solubility and electrolytic compatibilities. These derivatives are enhancing guar gum powder’s applications in various industries.