Several chemicals are used in the oil industry, in particular in oil production operations. These chemicals are called Oilfield Chemicals (OFC) (1). In general, they include substances used as additives (e.g. cementing additives) and formulated chemicals, defined as drilling fluids, well stimulation and enhanced oil recovery (EOR) chemicals.

 OFC could be classified in three general groups, depending on the oilfield operation sort (well construction, oil production or EOR). The OFC used in well construction represent the biggest sector, which includes more commodities, and the most volatiles in their demand. Those that are utilized in production operations in general are chemical specialties and this sector of the OFC market is less volatile in comparison with the previous one. OFC used in EOR depend on the price of oil barrel. Three polymers are included basically in the last application: polyacrylamides, xanthan gum and hydroxyethyl celluloses in formulations with surfactants (1).

US demand for OFC is forecasted to increase to $10.3 billion in 2019, with healthy growth overcoming declines expected in 2015 and 2016 (2). In a previous study, Freedonia has reported that world demand for OFC is forecasted to increase to $33 billion in 2019. North America will remain by far the dominant market (3). Probably the most significant change in the OFC market over the last years, has been the rapid exploitation of shale gas and oil reserves in North America (4).

In general, the OFC are known in the oil industry for their applications more that for their chemistry. For example, chemicals additives for cementing operations include retarders, accelerators, extenders, dispersants, fluid-loss control agents and so on. A review of chemicals used in the oil industry as OFC has been published (4). The SPE International Conference on Oilfield Chemistry is celebrated every two years in spring, which offers the opportunity to know the last advances in this matter (5).

  1. R.A.Bolívar C., P.Contreras, R.Mendez and J.G.Tovar, Visión Tecnológica, Vol.7, n.2, 167-174, 2000.

  2. Freedonia, Oilfield Chemicals, Industry Study3352, from Nov-2015, https://www.freedoniagroup.com/industry-study/oilfield-chemicals-3352.htm#

  3. Freedonia, World Oilfield Chemicals - Demand and Sales Forecasts, Market Share, Market Size, Market Leaders, Study #: 3249, March 2015.https://www.freedoniagroup.com/World-Oilfield-Chemicals.html

  4. Peter Allison, Ray K. Will and Vivien Yang, Oil Field Chemicals, 2012 HIS, SRI Co,

  5. J.K.Fink, Oil Field Chemicals, Elsevier Science, New York 2003.

  6. SPE International Conference on Oilfield Chemistry, 3 - 5 Apr 2017 Conference Center at La Torretta Montgomery, Texas, USA. http://www.spe.org/events/en/2017/conference/17occ/homepage.html


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