3M Speeds Up Development of Glass Bubble Product to Meet Oil, Gas Needs

3M accelerated development of one of the new glass bubble products in response to requests by oil and gas customers for a lower cost, more efficient product.

The company sped up development of its glass bubble product, HGS4K28, to respond to the industry’s need for a lower costing more efficient product to cope with lower oil prices. HGS4K28 is a high-strength, low-density additive specially designed to afford greater density reduction capabilities than other lightweight additives under similar downhole conditions, 3M said in a Sept. 28 press statement.

HGS4K28, which will be commercially available later this year, will be available for order in sample and field trial quantities, said Clara Mata, senior product development specialist with 3M’s Glass Bubbles Laboratory. 3M debuted the new product at the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition in Houston last month.

Customers can reduce costs using HGS4K28, as they only need to use one-third of the additive, compared to competitive products under similar downhole conditions, Mata told Rigzone in a statement. Other benefits include stronger, higher-performing set cements that mean less product needs to be purchased. HGS4K28 also has lower shipping, handling and inventory costs.

Like its predecessors, HGS4K28 is a lightweight additive for downhole applications – regardless of reservoir type – and can be used either inland or offshore. With a density of .28 gram/cubic centimeter (g/cc) and a crush strength of 4,000 pound per square inch (psi), HGS4K28 is ideal for operations in low to intermediate pressure wells, 3M said.

HGS19K46, another glass bubble product released worldwide earlier this year, has a density of .46 g/cc and a crush strength of 19,000 psi. Because of its density and strength, this product can be used with higher pressures and is particularly ideal for deep and ultra-deep wells onshore and offshore, Mata said. When combined, HGS4K28 and HGS19K46 demonstrate that less can be more, even under pressure, as the products reduce costs by creating lighter cement slurries and drilling fluids while requiring less additive to achieve target density at pressure, 3M said in a Sept. 28 statement.

The two new products might make some of the company’s older gas bubble products obsolete. With a density of .28 g/cc and crush strength of 4,000 psi, HGS4K28 can replace HGS2000, HGS3000, HGS4000, and possibly even HGS5000, which have densities ranging between .32 g/cc and .38 g/cc. HGS19K46, which has a density of .46 g/cc and crush strength of 19,000 psi, can replace HGS6000, HGS10000 and HGS18000, with densities ranging between .46 g/cc and .60 g/cc.

HGS4K28’s use as a density reducing agent for completion, workover and cement slurries offers the potential for improved well integrity, reduced non-productive time and increased well productivity when drilling in highly depleted zones and weaker formations, Mata said, as it may help minimize or eliminate problems associated with fluid loss, lost circulation and formation damage. The Gulf of Mexico, where oil and gas production has taken place for many years, would qualify as a highly depleted area, as would the Permian Basin. Other areas that have highly depleted zones and weaker formations include Southeast Asia, India and the Middle East.

HGS19K46 can be used with 20,000 psi wells, said Mata. According to 3M’s specs, HGS19K46 has a 19,000 psi crush strength, meaning that at least 80 percent of a finite amount of this glass bubbles product would survive a pressure of 19,000 psi under isostatic conditions.


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