NFP Stimulation

Non-Flammable Propane : Key facts

  • Technological innovation developed in 2013 by ecorpStim R&D team in Houston, Texas (United States).
  • Concept: using a fluorinated form of propane (heptafluoropropane) as a stimulation fluid, in order to completely eliminate the risk associated with the flammability of regular propane.
  • Not a single drop of water, not a single chemical additive is used in the non-flammable propane stimulation process.
  • Just like regular propane, this non-flammable form of propane (NFP) would be recovered under a gaseous form for an immediate or future re-use.
  • It is thus a non-flammable alternative to the 100% pure propane stimulation technique.

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1. No risk to human health

ecorpStim-inhaler-kidHeptafluoropropane is

  • Non-toxic for man and animals
  • Non-carcinogenic, non-mutagenic,
  • Non-irritating

It is now widely used:

  • as the propellant in inhalers for children and adults
  • as a fire extinguishing agent for use in human environments such as homes, offices, work places and schools.

2. Limited impact on the environment

Heptafluoropropane is also:

  • Exceedingly thermally stable, inert and non reactive, it will not degrade underground.
  • If released above ground, it is completely benign and will dissipate as a gas.
  • The substance has zero ozone depleting potential (it was developed to replace halogenated chlorofluorocarbons in inhalers)

Heptafluoropropane is a very stable hydrocarbon, and as such presents a global warming potential. Nevertheless, the total global warming contribution of inhalers using this gas as a propellant is less than 0.5 ‰ of the total greenhouse gas emissions (source: Solvay). Using this gas in a non-flammable propane stimulation system should not significantly increase this level of emissions.

3. NFP stimulation completely eliminates flammability risks

Using a non-flammable form of propane enables to suppress at 100% the industrial risks associated with the use of regular propane:

  • Flammability risk
  • Explosion risk

NFP strengthens the security system as it is applied to all stages of the operation chain:

  • On roads, during transport of the stimulation fluid in trucks
  • On the exploration/exploitation platform, for the stimulation operation
  • On site or in a warehouse, for storage of the fluid

Last, the stimulation fluid being non-flammable, the sites will not be submitted to the European SEVESO classification.

4. An excellent stimulation fluid

NFP excels in every defining category of chemical and physical properties that dictate performance as a stimulation fluid in shale reservoirs.

  • Low surface tension (1/10 that of water)
  • High specific gravity (1 and ½ that of water): NFP is very efficient in proppant transport and placement
  • A wide variety of proppants (sand, ceramics…) may be utilized with NFP
  • NFP can be recovered, just like regular propane
  • NFP is easily separable from other components of natural gas coming out of the well (especially propane and butane, NFP’s closest molecular analogs).