Minerals Used in the Petroleum Industry

Created By: Spencer Musgrove

November 28, 2005

http://www.emporia.edu/earthsci/amber/go336/musgrove

Spencermusgrove@hotmail.com


Image taken from: Karachaganak Petroleum Operating B.V.

Introduction
About the Website
What is Petroleum and Where is it Found?
Why is the Petroleum Industry Important?

Minerals used in the Petroleum Industry
Halite (Salt)
Bentonite
Mica
Tungsten
Lead
Diamond

Conclusions
Closing Remarks
References


Introduction


    About the Website

    My name is Spencer Musgrove, and I have created this website as a final project for the Fall 2005 GO 336 Mineralogy class at Emporia State University. I am currently a Junior in the Earth Science Department at ESU. This website is all about Minerals used in the Petroleum Industry. I picked this topic because I plan on working in the petroleum industry after I receive a masters degree in geology. The goal of this website is to enhance and inform you, the reader, about the uses of minerals in the petroleum industry. I hope you enjoy!

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    What is Petroleum and Where is it Found?

    Petroleum is crude oil or as petroleum geologists call it black gold. Crude oil is a thick liquid that is dark brown to black in color and has a distinctive smell. It is made up of many different kinds of hydrocarbons that were deposited millions of years ago. Crude oil is extracted from underground reservoirs that are present in rocks which are commonly located below the surface of the earth. In Kansas these oil reservoirs are present in limestone, sandstone, conglomerate, dolomite, quartzite and granite wash (James C. Musgrove, personal communication, 2005). The first stage in extracting crude oil is drilling a down hole well. In the state of Kansas there are up to 40 pay zones. This means that there can be up to 40 different formations that produce crude oil (Musgrove). The highest formation that pays in Kansas is the Chase Formation and the lowest is granite wash, located just above the basement rock (Musgrove). The depths of these formations differ across the state because they dip to the west. The majority of minerals used in the petroleum industry are used during extraction of the crude oil.

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    Why is the Petroleum Industry Important?

    The petroleum or crude oil industry is very important to our everyday activities. It makes up 90% of vehicular fuel and is responsible for 40% of total energy used in the United States (Wikipedia, 2005). The petroleum industry provides the world's most important commodity and makes the world operate. It provides energy necessary for the transportation of people and goods all around the world. The petroleum industry in the state of Kansas is well off. It is the 8th ranked state for crude oil production with about 2.8 million barrels of crude oil a month in 2004 (Wikipedia, 2005). The number one oil producer in the state of Kansas during 2004 was Berexco, Inc. (KGS, 2004).


    Figure 1. Oil well located near Great Bend, KS.
    Image taken from:
    Photos around Great Bend

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Minerals Used in the Petroleum Industry


    Halite (Salt)

    Halite, shown in Figure 2, is also known as salt. It is used in drilling fluids and is refined out of crude. Salt is used in drilling fluids and is called Saltwater Mud. This type of mud is a kind of drilling fluid that contains high amount of NaCl. Saltwater Mud is rarely used in Kansas because this type of mud is usually used when drilling through salt strata. Other drilling muds cause dissolution of the salt strata when drilling through so this is why Saltwater Mud is used.

    Crude oil is not pure when it is extracted from Earth. For this reason, crude oil needs to be refined. The main mineral that is extracted out of the crude oil is salt. There are high levels of salt present in crude oil because the crude oil is mixed in with salt water. In this case the mineral (salt) is removed and not applied like the majority of minerals used in the petroleum industry.


    Figure 2. Halite.
    Image taken from:
    Jeff Scovil

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    Bentonite

    Bentonite, shown in Figure 3, is one of two minerals most commonly used in drilling fluids or drillers mud (e.g., see Figure 5). Bentonite is a clay mineral that its main purpose in drilling fluids is to increase viscosity and filtration control. This mineral is also ideal in drilling fluids because it expands when exposed to water. This expansion helps down hole formations to be sealed from invading drilling fluids. If it was not for bentonite, down hole formations would be invaded with drilling fluids causing the formation to break down and not be producible (James C. Musgrove, personal communication, 2005.)


    Figure 3. Bentonite
    Image taken from:
    www.bentonite.biz/bentonite.htm

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    Mica

    Mica, shown in Figure 4, is another mineral, along with bentonite, that is most commonly used in drilling fluids (e.g., see Figure 5). Mica is part of the sheet silicates group and is characterized by its platy like appearance. Mica is used in drilling fluids to prevent loss of circulation and as a sealent. Mica is a good sealent because the sheet particles overlap each other sticking to the side of hole and creating a sealed wall. This helps to keep circulation in the hole. Mica and bentonite are commonly used together in drilling fluids. They both help to seal zones, however mica's main purpose is to prevent loss of circulation, while bentonite's main purpose is to increase viscosity.


    Figure 4.
    Image taken from: SA Roberts


    Figure 5.
    Image taken from: U.S. Department of Labor

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    Tungsten

    Tungsten is used in drilling pipes (e.g., see Figure 6). Tungsten is a very hard, heavy, steel-gray to white transition metal (Wikipedia, 2005.) The type of tungsten used in drill pipes is tungsten carbide. Tungsten carbide is mixed with steel during manufacturing of the drill pipes. This makes the drill pipe extremely strong, which is needed to drill through solid formations.


    Figure 6.
    Image taken from:
    Schlumberger, Oilfield Glossary.
    Courtesy of the Petroleum Extension Service, The University of Texas at Austin

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    Lead

    Lead is the main mineral used in pipe dope. Pipe dope is a lubricating grease that is made up of fine particles of lead. Pipe dope is applied to the end of drill pipes during connections (e.g., see Figure 7). The purpose of the pipe dope it to prevent metal to metal damage when connecting the pipe.


    Figure 7. Connecting the pipes.
    Image taken from:
    U.S. Department of Labor

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    Diamond

    Diamonds are needed in the petroleum industry for drill bits (e.g., see Figure 8). These bits are called diamond bits. Diamonds are used on drill bits because diamonds are the hardness mineral, which means it can cut through any other types of minerals or rocks. The diamonds are embedded into a metal structure during manufacturing. These diamond bits do not last forever. If the bit is made up of lots of diamonds, known as heavy-set, it last longer compared to a bit with very little.


    Figure 8. Drill bit
    Image taken from:
    NaturalGas.org
    Courtesy of National Energy Technology Laboratory

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Conclusions


    Closing Remarks

    The petroleum industry keeps the world moving just like minerals do. Petroleum and minerals go hand-in-hand with each other because you can not have one with out the other. For example, in order to mine minerals petroleum materials are used. Likewise, in order to extract petroleum materials minerals are used.

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    References

    Kansas Geological Survey (2004.) Fiscal Year 2004 Kansas Oil and Gas Production by Operator. World Wide Web, URL: http://www.kgs.ku.edu/PRS/publication/2004/ofr2004-61/. Retrieved 11/27/05.

    Karachaganak Petroleum Operating B.V.(2001.) World Wide Web, URL:http://www.kpo.kz/i/gallery/th_Rig.jpg. Retrieved 11/28/05.

    L.R. Mineralco. World Wide Web URL: http://www.bentonite.biz/Bentonite.htm Retrieved 11/28/05.

    Musgrove, James C. Personal Interview. 25 November 2005.

    NaturalGas.org (2004). Diamond Studded Drill Bits. Source: National Energy Technology Laboratory. World Wide Web, URL: http://www.naturalgas.org/naturalgas/extraction_rotary.asp. Retrieved 11/27/05.

    Photos around Great Bend (2002). World Wide Web, URL: http://members.cox.net/gbhsclass63b/GBPhotos/pages/Dcp_3728_OilWell.htm. Retrieved 11/27/05.

    Roberts, S. A. (2004). Outside the Margin's Glass Menagerie. World Wide Web, URL: http://www.outsidethemargins.com/mica.jpg. Retrieved 11/26/05.

    Scovil, Jeff (1999). Study Works! Online, Clues from Rocks. World Wide Web, URL: http://www.studyworksonline.com/cda/content/article/0,,EXP888_NAV2-77_SAR846,00.shtml. Retrieved 11/27/05.

    U.S. Department of Labor. Oil and Gas Well Drilling and Servicing eTool. World Wide Web, URL: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/oilandgas/drilling/drilling_ahead.html. Retrieved 11/25/05.

    Wikipedia (2005). The Free Encyclopedia. World Wide Web, Homepage URL: http://en.wikipedia.org. Retrieved 11/24/05.

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Date of creation, November 28, 2005. © Spencer Musgrove 2005. Questions or Comments? Contact Spencer Musgrove at: Spencermusgrove@hotmail.com