Glycolic Acid Monomer for Oil and Gas Polymers

Glycolic Acid Facilitates Oil and Gas Drilling

The oil and gas industry depends on heavy-duty equipment to drill horizontal, vertical, and deviated wells. Plug-and-perforation operations need hydraulic fracturing plugs and balls for isolating zones in different well types.

Glycolic acid is the monomer base in Polyglycolic Acid (PGA) fracturing (frac) plugs and balls. Dissolvable frac plugs (DFPs) rely on PGA, because it can withstand high-temperature wells better than polylactic acid (PLA), which degrades too quickly when temperatures climb.

How Glycolic Acid Improves Hydraulic Fracturing in Oil and Gas Drilling Operations

Polyglycolic acid polymers can supply ultra-strong and biodegradable material. This material can also work as a delayed-release acid through degradation, which enables the decomposition or activation of various types of finishing fluids.

DFPs that use PGA work in fresh water and high-salinity water fracturing processes. Because PGA DFPs aren't affected by salinity or chemicals, they degrade more easily than DFPs that use dissolvable magnesium (Mg) alloys. PGA-based tools do not leave debris in the well boar, which reduces concern about environmental harm or well damage when PGA tools break or are lost down hole.

DFPs benefit the environment and the companies that use them because they can:

  • Eliminate milling out
  • Enable longer lateral well bores
  • Reduce operational risks