Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

North Dakota clay could play role in oilpatch, initial results of study show

Date:
October 22, 2012
Source:
North Dakota State University
Summary:
Initial results of clay samples from western North Dakota show varying percentages of alumina content, a finding of interest to the North Dakota Geological Survey that commissioned the study. Scientists are completing analysis of the clay, often referred to as kaolin, which could eventually play a role in proppants used for hydraulic fracturing in North Dakota oil exploration.

Initial results of clay samples from western North Dakota show varying percentages of alumina content, a finding of interest to the North Dakota Geological Survey that commissioned the study. Scientists in a lab at North Dakota State University’s Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), Fargo, are completing analysis of the clay, often referred to as kaolin, which could eventually play a role in proppants used for hydraulic fracturing in North Dakota oil exploration.

As part of a research agreement with the North Dakota Geological Survey (NDGS) in Bismarck, N.D., the Materials Characterization and Analysis Laboratory at NDSU CNSE is completing initial analysis of more than 200 clay samples from Stark and Dunn counties in North Dakota to determine their composition and suitability for use as a component in hydraulic fracturing. “The alumina was above 20 percent for 66 percent of the Bear Den claystone samples and 38 percent of the Rhame Bed samples,” said Ed Murphy, North Dakota state geologist. “Roughly one third of the sites sampled averaged above 20 percent alumina for the entire exposed bed thickness.”

A final report of the study conducted at NDSU CNSE is expected in late 2012 or early 2013. “We generated an alumina map of western North Dakota that companies can use to guide clay exploration if they determine that the alumina content is sufficiently high for their needs,” explained Murphy. “We will publish a final report with the clay mineralogy when that information is available.” https://www.dmr.nd.gov/ndgs/Clay map/GI_158.pdf

Murphy said it was extremely useful to have specialized scientific expertise available in North Dakota to conduct the study. “CNSE utilizes excellent analytical equipment and employs knowledgeable people with valuable experience. We have had a very good working relationship with the NDSU CNSE. We found them to be very dedicated to their work and generating a product that we could have confidence in.”

The clays show early promise for potential use as a key material known as ceramic proppant, used in the fracking process to help keep fractures open, particularly in the Bakken formation in North Dakota. “It could potentially lead to the establishment of a ceramic proppant manufacturing plant if these claystones are determined to be suitable for this process. The chemistry and bed thickness that we are providing will answer a number of the initial questions from industry,” explained Murphy. “If companies deem these results to be promising, they could potentially do additional exploration on their own which might ultimately lead to test manufacturing of ceramic proppant using these clays.”

Currently, proppants used in western North Dakota oil development typically come from other states or other countries. Murphy notes that companies will use approximately five million tons of proppants in North Dakota oil development in 2012. In a recent report, the North Dakota Geological Survey estimates about 1.7 billion tons of economically mineable kaolin in western North Dakota.

Researchers at NDSU CNSE use x-ray fluorescence to determine which elements and how much of those elements the samples contain. CNSE scientists also conduct analysis of clay samples using x-ray diffraction to determine the amount of kaolinite, illite, chlorite and other substances in the samples.

“We frequently partner with agencies and industry on projects,” said Philip Boudjouk, vice president for research at NDSU. “CNSE provides specialized instrumentation and scientific expertise to a variety of research partners across a spectrum of industries.”

About NDSU CNSE
NDSU’s Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering, Fargo, North Dakota, USA, conducts multidisciplinary research with partners in government, industry, private and university sectors. CNSE’s scientific capabilities include materials characterization and analysis, flexible electronics and materials, electronics miniaturization, wireless sensors, RFID, bioactive materials, combinatorial science, and coatings technologies. www.ndsu.edu/cnse

About North Dakota State University
NDSU, Fargo, North Dakota, USA, is notably listed among the top 108 U.S. public and private universities in the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education’s category of “Research Universities/Very High Research Activity.” As a student-focused, land grant, research institution, NDSU is listed in the Top 100 research universities in the U.S. for R&D in computer science, chemistry, and physical sciences, social sciences, and agricultural sciences, based on research expenditures reported to the National Science Foundation. www.ndsu.edu/research


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Dakota State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

North Dakota State University. "North Dakota clay could play role in oilpatch, initial results of study show." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022192245.htm>.
North Dakota State University. (2012, October 22). North Dakota clay could play role in oilpatch, initial results of study show. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022192245.htm
North Dakota State University. "North Dakota clay could play role in oilpatch, initial results of study show." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022192245.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

AFP (Sep. 20, 2014) Some 125 world leaders are expected to commit to action on climate change at a UN summit Tuesday called to inject momentum in struggling efforts to tackle global warming. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins