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Wide Range of Surfactants Used in Oil Exploration Process

A surfactant exists mainly in two chemical forms; ionic and non-ionic. The difference in existence is basically due to the difference in chemical structure of the two forms. If oilfield chemicals are increased during oil exploration, the level of ROC increases yet minimum time of contact between the chemical treatment and cuttings should be observed to attain the expected reduction in ROC. But washing contaminated cuttings using oil field chemicals is completely independent of the involved operating specifications. Surfactants have a degreasing ability hence massively used in cleaning applications. They encapsulate dirt after loosening it to ensure it does not redeposit on the oil surface again. Detergents have the property to reduce interfacial tension between the washing system and contaminants hence used for desorption of contaminants of trapped ganglia of NALs which are also partitioned into micellar cores. Different types of major surface active agents are discussed below together with their applications in oil exploration.

1. Fatty Acid Ethoxylate

Fatty Acid Ethoxylate is a non-ionic detergent. It’s formed by ethoxylating fatty acid materials extracted from vegetables and animal fats. At low degrees, ethoxylated fatty acids are used as oil soluble as well as lubricants and antistatic solution. At medium degrees they have high surface activity to give high hydrophile balance for use as great dispensing agent for water-in-oil emulsions and solubilizer.

2. Alkylphenol Ethoxylate

Alkylphenol Ethoxylate is a non-ionic detergent that is fairly non toxic. It is widely applied in cleaning products, dispersants and wetting products. This surface active wetter has a balanced hydrophilic values and oestrogenic properties.

3. Polyethylene Glycols

These are nonionic emulsifiers which are also non toxic. Preparation of Polyethylene Glycols is done by the eterification of fatty acids with polyethylene glycols. They have a bi-functionality in one molecule. Other oil field chemicals are Silicon Oil Emulsifier, Paraffin Wax Emulsifier, Castor Oil Ethoxylates, Hydrogenerated Castor Oil and Glycerine Ethoxylates. Silicon Oil Emulsifier; Biodegradable nonionic oilfield chemicals are mixed to produce Silicon Oil Emulsifier. This agent which is environment pollution free is produced for micro-emulsification of silicone fluid. It is made using the right amount of a neutralizer. Paraffin Wax Emulsifier is a great emulsifying agent used both commercially and domestically. It is produced by mixing paraffin oil and amino oils. Castor Oil Ethoxylates is a surfactant derived from natural oils. It is used to modify the processes of emulsification and surface tension. Hydrogenerated Castor Oil is a high performance odorless and colorless reactor used as an interface between two contaminants. This wetting liquid is formed as a result of hydrogenating in the presence of a nickel catalyst, pure castor oil. Glycerine Ethoxylates; produced from natural oils, Glycerine Ethoxylates offer significant surfactants. Basically all oil field chemicals have unique properties as to why they are used in the oil exploration process.

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