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.
NFP-stimulation-fluid-0

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).

NFP-stimulation-fluid