Oil & Gas

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Enhanced Oil Recovery

Polymer flooding is the most widely used Chemical Enhanced Oil Recovery (CEOR) method. It is relatively simple to apply and has a long history of successful field applications. Field implementation requires specialized mixing and injection equipment to avoid polymer degradation and viscosity loss. Most CEOR technologies require the addition of polymer for mobility control.


Polymer flooding

Polymer is added to the injection water to increase viscosity which improves sweep efficiency and provides mobility control between water and oil. Polymer flooding can yield a significant increase in oil recovery compared to conventional waterflooding. Polymer is mixed and injected continuously for an extended period of time until about 30 to 50 percents of the reservoir pore volume in the project area have been injected. The polymer slug is followed by continued long-term waterflooding to drive the polymer slug and the oil bank in front of it toward the production wells.


Chemical Enhanced Recovery

In CEOR, recovery of residual oil is achieved by adding surfactants and alkali to the injection water. Surfactants decrease the interfacial tension between oil and water and alkali agents can be added to generate in-situ surfactants and help to reduce the high level of surfactant adsorption to the reservoir rock. Due to the high pH brought about by the addition of alkali a water softening system is needed to eliminate precipitation of hardness ions.


Selecting the right polymer

SNF produces a wide range of EOR polymers in both powder and emulsion form. These cover the majority of reservoir conditions. All the polymers used for EOR are anionic and the selection of the best one for a field depends on 3 main parameters; temperature, water composition and permeability. SNF has expertise and guidelines to fine-tune the chemistry in order to limit chemical, mechanical and thermal degradation. SNF EOR polymers include:

  • Anionic co-polymers for below 85°C (185°F)
  • Sulfonated co and ter-polymers for below 100°C (212°F) and/or salty brines
  • N-Vinyl Pyrrolidone based ter-polymers for up to 140°C (284°F)
  • Associative polymers
  • Thermo-associative polymers
  • Iron and H2S resistant polymers
  • Salt resistant polymers
  • Protective packages



Conformance treatments are applied to injection wells to reduce the permeability in high permeability zones in order to increase the sweep efficiency of a waterflood or chemical flood. Water shut-off treatments are applied to production wells to reduce or totally shut off water production. Chemicals such as polymer gels can be used for these applications.

SNF offers a wide range of products these techniques:

  • Polymers reactive with organic or inorganic crosslinkers (Chromium, Aluminum, Zirconium, Titanium)
  • Crosslinked microgels
  • Nanogels
  • Micro-particles with delayed uncoiling



SNF has a long history of supplying the Oil & Gas industry with polymers used for well completions and hydraulic fracturing :

  • Friction reducers
  • Guar Alternatives
  • Scale Inhibitors

Polymer drag reduction was discovered in 1948 by Toms who observed drag reduction of 30 to 40% upon adding 10 ppm of methyl-methacrylate to a turbulent flow of mono-chloro-benzene in a pipe. Many applications have been developed since then.  Drag reducing agents (DRA) are used in water injection wells, irrigation networks and municipal sewer systems to increase their capacities as well as in firefighting to extend the range of fire hoses and water spray.

There are thousands of publications and field results showing the benefits of DRA injection to reduce the pressure drop in pipe flow systems.

  • DRA reduces corrosion by up to 30%
  • Increase of injection rates and consequently increased oil production rates
  • Energy savings

DRAs are widely applied for hydraulic fracturing to produce shale oil and gas. Polyacrylamide is used throughout the fracing process to reduce the pressure drop in the surface piping and wellbore tubing to help increase the bottom hole pressure. The polymer is added in the range of 150-300 ppm depending on water and field characteristics and injection rates.


Selecting the right polymer

SNF produces a wide array of polymers in powder and emulsion form that can be applied in the majority of field conditions, including cationic, non-ionic or anionic polymer. Selection of the best polymer for a given field depends on temperature, water composition (salts, contaminants), and rock type.


SNF manufactures a unique polymer dissolution unit called PowderFrac which is a self-contained and automated hydrating and dosing system designed for rapid hydration of polymer powder. It offers enhanced performance and cost-savings and has a greener footprint compared to traditional emulsion systems.




Guar Alternatives

Hydraulic fracturing of shale increases productivity by creating, connecting and propping deep fractures. Design of the fracturing fluid is key to the success. The main functions of the fracturing fluid are to open the fractures and transport the proppant along the length of the fractures.

Guar gum was one of the first polymers used as a viscosifier for fracturing fluids. It is well known for its ability to thicken ice cream however, there are significant price fluctuations and it has become more expensive as supplies have tightened around the world.

SNF produces a new range of synthetic polymers that can be substituted for guar in this application. The SNF concept is that one product can be used for drag reduction in both linear and crosslinked modes which reduces chemical handling and the associated logistics.

The main advantages of these products are the following:

  • Viscosity performance is better or comparable to guar gum in both linear and crosslinked systems
  • Products can be fine-tuned for high temperature applications
  • The viscosity can be broken with conventional oxidizers
  • Can be crosslinked with zirconium over a wide range of salinities and pH
  • Cleaner than guar, as shown by regain conductivity tests
  • Good friction reduction properties
  • Biocide not required to protect from polymer degradation


Scale Inhibitors

SNF produces a wide range of scale inhibitors to mitigate the damage caused by precipitation of minerals during the completion or production phases of oil and gas wells. These products can be tagged or non-tagged and supplied in powder or liquid form.



Oil Sands

SNF, the largest manufacturer of polyacrylamide polymers has been committed to delivering cost effective, high performance products and systems to the Canadian Oil Sands since 2002.

SNF is dedicated to delivering class-leading chemistries for non-conventional crude production in the Canadian Oil Sands.
We understand the critical issues facing today’s tailings management. SNF has provided consultation and servicing throughout the CAPEX and OPEX stages of tailings management including:

  • Development of mechanical, operational, and chemical management strategies to help maximize efficiencies from the ground up
  • Implementation of solutions to enhance productivity and maximize your environmental sustainability


Being the world leader in water soluble polymers SNF experts help operators solve problems unique to oil sands. Our water and process expertise is inherently beneficial, due to the continuous treatment required for the reuse and recycle of water needed for separation.


Tailings Management

Tailings are made up of natural materials including water, fine silts, left-over bitumen, salts and soluble organic compounds. They also include solvents that are added to bitumen during the separation process

  • Bitumen is derived from the oilsands deposits by open-pit mining and water based extraction techniques.
  • Recovered bitumen is upgraded into marketable low-sulphur synthetic crude oil (SCO).


SNF Oil Sands Product Information

SNF understands the distinct challenges Oil Sands operators are bound to face. Primary and secondary extraction require increasingly efficient separations, and SNF’s impressive portfolio of

  • Flocculants
  • Coagulants
  • Dispersants
  • Defoamers
  • De-emulsifiers


Enable operators to increase efficiency while controlling their cost.  

SNF products include :

  • Primary Extraction
    • Flotation improvement
    • Tailings management
  • Secondary Extraction
    • Demulsifiers
    • Polymers and dispersants
    • Defoamers

Look to SNF for effective and efficient solutions :  

  • To provide you with the opportunity to mitigate technical risk by testing process technologies at the pilot scale.
  • To offer a safe, flexible and cost-effective venue to demonstrate and optimize production aspects.
  • To give operators evaluating new technologies a venue for commercial viability prior to capital investment.
  • To offer a safe, flexible and cost-effective venue to demonstrate and optimize production aspects.



Economic drilling of oil wells requires critical properties of the drilling fluids. Many specific requirements are placed on these fluids to achieve multiple purposes, such as:

  • Carrying cuttings from the drill bit to the surface and permit their separation
  • Cool and clean drill bit
  • Reduce the friction between the drill string and the sides of the wellbore
  • Prevent the inflow of formation fluids such as gas, oil or water
  • Maintain stability of the uncased sections of the borehole
  • Form a thin and impermeable filter cake layer which seals formation and prevents fluid loss
  • Assist in data collection and interpretation of well logs


SNF produces a wide range of polymers for water-based drilling fluid systems. Each series of polymer meets one or several requirements such as fluid loss control, viscosity improvement and shale inhibition. These polymers are produced in a variety of forms, molecular weights and compositions for specific applications. For example the same partially hydrolyzed polyacrylamide (PHPA) can be used to provide viscosity or thixotropic behavior, drag reduction or fluid loss properties to the fluid.


SNF drilling fluid polymers encompass these areas:

  • Shale Inhibitors (anti-clay swelling agents)
  • Viscosifiers
  • Bentonite Extenders
  • Fluid loss control agents for mud and cement
  • Scale Inhibitors



Achieving a high enough injection pressure is a major problem in deep wells. Both the bottom hole pressure required to fracture a formation and the pressure loss due to friction increase directly with well depth. This is due to the cumulative effect of the overburden pressure and the length of tubing or casing the fluid has to travel through to reach the bottom hole. If the injection rate is below a critical value, the proppant may fall out of the frac fluid and cover the perforations forcing the treatment to be stopped.

Drag reduction additives such as polyacrylamides are widely used to reduce the frictional pressure loss so that a higher bottom hole pressure and injection rate can be achieved. The drag reduction effect can be as much as 50 to 75% during a fracturing treatment.


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