Oilfield Glossary
Oilfield Glossary
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sequestering agent

1. n. [Drilling Fluids]
A chemical whose molecular structure can envelop and hold a certain type of ion in a stable and soluble complex. Divalent cations, such as hardness ions, form stable and soluble complex structures with several types of sequestering chemicals. When held inside the complex, the ions have a limited ability to react with other ions, clays or polymers. Ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) is a well-known sequestering agent for the hardness ions, such as Ca+2, and is the reagent solution used in the hardness test protocol published by API. Polyphosphates can also sequester hardness ions. The addition of sodium acid pyrophosphate (SAPP) to a cement-contaminated mud renders the calcium ions essentially nonreactive with clays in the mud. As a side benefit, SAPP also lowers mud pH. Sequestering is not the same as precipitation because sequestering does not form a solid.
2. n. [Well Completions, Drilling Fluids, Well Workover and Intervention]
Another term for chelating agent, a chemical used to bind metal ions to form a ring structure. Chelating agents stabilize or prevent the precipitation of damaging compounds. In the oil field, chelating agents are used in stimulation treatments and for cleaning surface facilities. They are also used to treat or remove scale or weighting agents in reservoir drilling fluids. During acid or scale-removal treatments, various compounds may be dissolved in the treatment fluid. As the acid reacts and the pH increases, reaction products may precipitate as a gelatinous, insoluble mass. Should this occur within the formation matrix, it is almost impossible to remove and permanent permeability damage may occur. Chelating agents prevent precipitation by keeping ions in a soluble form until the treatment fluid can be flowed back from the formation during cleanup. Typical oilfield chelating agents include EDTA (ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid), HEDTA (hydroxyethylenediamine triacetic acid), NTA (nitriolotriacetic acid) and citric acid.
Synonyms: chelating agent
3. n. [Enhanced Oil Recovery]
Another term for chelating agent, a chemical added to an acid to stabilize iron. The injected acid dissolves iron from rust, millscale, iron scales or iron-containing minerals in the formation. Iron can exist as ferric iron [Fe+3] or ferrous iron [Fe+2]. If the iron is not controlled, it will precipitate insoluble products such as ferric hydroxide and, in sour environments, ferrous sulfide [FeS], which will damage the formation. Chelating agents associate with iron [Fe+3 or Fe+2] to form soluble complexes. Citric acid, acetic acid and EDTA are effective chelating agents and can be used at temperatures up to 400oF [204oC].
Alternate Form: chelating agent