Polyetherether ketone is helping unlock gas and oil trapped in shale through growing use of fracturing techniques.
Ensinger Inc. says its PEEK material is being made into “frac balls” that help isolate well sections. Packers and frac sleeves are transported to precise depths followed by frac balls to stick in the packers and sleeves to securely seal that portion of that well. Controlled explosives are set up in the well section to create fractures that release gas or oil. The frac ball/packer seal combination helps the explosive achieve position pressure in the well section.
Frac balls then flow out of the well or are drilled out to provide a clear path for gas or oil extraction.
Various engineering polymers have been used for frac balls, depending on temperature, and chemical and impact resistance. A vital property is the ability to hold up under pressures as high as 10,000 pounds per square inch, according to Ensinger of Washington, Pa.
Ensinger offers a higher temperature, stronger and stiffer PEEK in its new G10 Tecapeek ST for this application. It already has supplied other Tecapeek grades and its Tecator polyamidimide for frac balls.
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