Defense Research Leads to Frac Ball Technology

The company intends to develop proprietary reactive material solutions for three to four leading companies, Sherman said.

“For example, we would make frac balls that react to change in temperature for Company A; frac balls that react to change in pressure for Company B; and frac balls that react to change in pH for Company C.”

The rollout of the Terves subsidiary is part of the company’s overall technology research strategy. Powdermet, the 41 percent-owned Abakan subsidiary, serves as a technology incubator to develop technologies with support from federal agencies, strategic partners and Abakan, Sherman explained. Abakan spins out a technology from Powdermet for commercialization once a technology reaches a stage of technical development where there value propositions have been validated.

“We have a very simple criterion for commercializing technologies that we refer to as our two times value proposition, which means the technology offers either twice the performance or life at the same cost, or the same performance or life at half the cost, when compared to competing technologies,” Sherman said.

The technology base is licensed to Terves and is being made available for application in the energy business. The company, a components supplier, is seeking partners to commercialize the product. TerveAlloy is being targeted at well completion companies, Sherman said. TerveAlloy can generate more revenue while reducing cost and risk for these companies. For operators, the product can enhance oil recovery.

“Unlike the oil and gas industry as a whole, which is fairly mature in terms of technical advancements, the extraction of shale gas is relatively new and open to large-scale innovation,” said Abakan CEO Robert Miller in a statement.

Company officials estimate the current market for well completion tools at over $1 billion dollars; that market value is expected to triple over the next three years as shale gas production grows.


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