Praxair Inc. (NYSE:PX) is offering oil and gas producers its new DryFrac waterless fracturing technology that can replace water use in fracturing wells through the use of liquid carbon dioxide. The company’s patent-pending technology enables oil and gas producers to increase yield while reducing environmental impacts associated with hydraulic fracturing, such as water sourcing and water disposal.
Praxair’s DryFrac technology blends liquid carbon dioxide with proppant, or special grades of sand, which is used to prop fractures open. The flexible and scalable technology can deliver large volumes and multiple grades of proppant into a formation.
Carbon dioxide has long been recognized as a superior fluid for fracturing, particularly in water-sensitive or low-pressure formations. Compared to other waterless fracturing fluids such as propane, carbon dioxide has the added benefit of being non-flammable. Praxair can also separate carbon dioxide returned from the well, enabling faster natural gas production. Much of the carbon dioxide being used is captured from industrial off-gas and purified. Praxair continues to develop technology to recycle and re-use carbon dioxide for a variety of applications.