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Dissolvable Elastomers for The Oil Industry

One of the main stages of boring wells for the industry is completion, where finishing touches are applied before the wells are fully adapted for the industry.

At this stage, the wells are prepared for production or injection, for example perforating the surface and getting rid of the production fuels/casing (ensuring the well won’t close in on itself). The tools required to carry out this work often require tips and other parts made from elastomers in great Quantities.

These elastomers have a variety of required qualities to be viable for the completion tools, including being able to withstand high pressure and temperature, deal with highly Corrosive chemicals and exposure to completion-related fluids. Because of the large amount of harmful substances they come in contact with, the safest method of handling them is disposing of them immediately after usage instead of re-using them at a later date. As a response, the industry has adopted the custom of dissolving them in the bored wells, where most variants turn into a soft slime or jelly that isn’t harmful to the environment, yet doesn’t lose any of its original weight. Sometimes however, the materials are at a risk of plugging the well when they mix with sand, thus disturbing the remaining process of completion or in worst cases- disturbing the oil production once it has begun.

To address this problem, an Ohio-based company named Terves Inc has come up with the solution of fully dissolvable elastomers. This range of products sheds around 80% of their weight by dissolving within just a few days under standard well conditions, with the remaining 20% disintegrating into fine filler particles. Currently, testing on the elastomers has shown they can withstand a pressure of 10,000 psi or a temperature of 90º C, putting them above the industry standard. Other features of the elastomers include high mobility and the ability to be worked by a machine or handheld tools.

As proponents of innovation and efficiency in the oil industry, Dashboard recognises that while this development is fairly small, it’s incredibly powerful and will have an easing impact on completing the wells before they are worked to extract oil. In this respect, the development is important and will affect many companies.