SPE Paper: Uintaite is Approved for Use in Drilling Operations in Sensitive Marine Environments
January 26, 2023
Over the last thirty years the oil and gas industry has implemented high environmental standards to reduce its impact on the environment. As drilling and completion fluids services are one of the main components in drilling operations, North Sea environmental regulations require every chemical compound in the drilling fluid formulation to be evaluated before approval for use.
This paper outlines the chemical composition and testing of Gilsonite® uintaite, with the following conclusions:
- Low thermal maturity and nil aromatic content within uintaite matrix is one of the unique features that defines why uintaite is not harmful in environmental tests.
- Uintaite does not interfere with thermal maturity biomarkers.
- Uintaite possesses chemical and geochemical characteristics that make it a non-harmful natural material, due to its very low content of dangerous compounds such as sulfur or aromatics rings.
- Low Pow results for bioaccumulation pointed out that uintaite will not bioaccumulate, because it is not soluble either in water or n-Octanol.
- Molecular weight of uintaite is significantly higher than 7 kDalton and does not penetrate through skin.
- Uintaite is an inert natural material for marine species according to EPA and OSPAR guidelines for environment protection. It can be used in the GoM or in the North Sea as a drilling fluid additive with no negative impacts to the environment.
- Uintaite has negligible or innocuous effect in the reservoir.
- Environmental tests results and rock-fluid interaction determine that uintaite is a safe additive for marine ecosystems.
Ghery Sotomayor of American Gilsonite Company shared the high points of this paper with peers at the ADIPEC 2022 Exhibition and Conference – demonstrating that Gilsonite is safe and effective in sensitive marine environment drilling operations.
Gilsonite® G-Bond provides exceptional slurry for Western U.S. wells
December 1, 2022
Western U.S. operators face circulation loss, wellbore isolation issues
Wells drilled in a Western U.S. state commonly encounter formations that result in lost circulation during primary surface pipe cementing. Resource Cementing company was pumping slurry in a well with 1,025 feet of 9.625˝ casing set in a 12.5˝ open hole with an 11.0 ppg lightweight cement. Controlling lost circulation and providing good compressive strength were primary concerns.
Gilsonite® G-Bond provides circulation-loss control
with greater compressive strength
Resource Cementing selected Gilsonite® G-Bond as an additive. G-Bond rapidly disperses in cement mix water, so high concentrations can be used to obtain a low slurry density without jeopardizing wellsite mixing or pumping. G-Bond lowered both the hydrostatic pressure and the equivalent circulation density (ECD). Cement returned to the surface on three out of three wells.
G-Bond achieves strong seal and isolation
The cement slurry exhibited some thixotropic properties. Wells treated with G-Bond demonstrated a strong seal and wellbore isolation. Only one well showed post-job backside gas, at a trace level well within acceptable limits. The Operations Support Manager of Resource Cementing stated that using Gilsonite® G-Bond helped create “a beautiful slurry – it pumped like butter. The result was a good seal on all three wells. Additional wells are planned for later this year. G-Bond will again be part of the surface pipe cementing formulation.”
American Gilsonite Company strengthens management team, announces new general manager
August 17, 2022
Craig Brown, MBA, P.E. joins AGC to lead all aspects of the company’s operations.
American Gilsonite Company, Inc. (“AGC”), the world’s only supplier of Gilsonite® uintaite, is pleased to announce the addition of Craig Brown as General Manager, effective June 6, 2022. Mr. Brown is responsible for AGC’s operations including reserves management, mining and mine development, processing, and distribution.
Craig will work closely with AGC’s executive team, as well as local management, to develop and execute strategies that will continue to drive the company’s long-term commercial success.
Mr. Brown has more than 10 years of experience in the mining industry, with extensive knowledge in production planning and execution, project and capital management, as well as proven leadership in both his professional and military career. He joins AGC from Genesis Alkali, where he most recently served as production manager.
“We are pleased to have Mr. Brown join AGC’s management team. His skillset, education, practical operational experience, and management style will allow our Utah-based workforce to realize its full potential,” noted Craig Mueller, President and CEO of AGC.
“I am very humbled and excited to be joining a company with a proud history of more than 130 years of industry leadership and innovation. I am committed to a continued focus on quality management systems and product improvement to help drive growth for the company,” said Craig Brown, General Manager of AGC.
Mr. Brown is a veteran of the United States Army. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Utah in Mining Engineering, is a certified Professional Engineer, and went on to earn his Executive MBA from David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah.
Bonanza mine employees golf for a great community cause
May 27, 2022
American Gilsonite Company employees from our Bonanza mining facility were excited to take part in this year’s Uintah County Sheriff’s Office annual charity golf tournament benefiting the local Special Olympics. The event was held on Friday, May 6 at Dinaland Golf Course in Vernal, UT. Two teams of four employees from American Gilsonite Company joined in the fun. The Bonanza team also sponsored a hole with a “closest to the pin game” for a prize.
Founded in 1968, the Special Olympics strives to create a better world by fostering the acceptance and inclusion of all people. Through the power of sports, people with intellectual disabilities discover new strengths and abilities, skills and success. Athletes find joy, confidence and fulfillment ─ on the playing field and in life. They also inspire people in their communities and elsewhere to open their hearts to a wider world of human talents and potential.
The Northeastern Utah Special Olympics are held every year in May. Local law enforcement and emergency response agencies make the torch run a special event by escorting the Olympians down Highway 40 with lights flashing and sirens wailing! It’s always a great time for the whole community. American Gilsonite Company is proud to support this important local cause.
Rigorous ISO 9001 Certification Awarded to American Gilsonite Company for Mining and Processing
December 13, 2021
American Gilsonite Company has been recognized with ISO 9001:2015 Certification for the mining and processing of uintaite ore. ISO 9001 is the most widely recognized quality management standard in the world.
To achieve ISO 9001:2015 certification, American Gilsonite Company underwent an extensive audit of its quality management system, management review, product conformity control and documentation. Verisys Registrars performed the audit, and American Gilsonite Company received certification in September 2021.
“By achieving this level of certification, we continue to demonstrate our ability and desire to incorporate a quality management system effectively and efficiently while continuously improving our products and services as well as our internal processes,” said Craig Mueller, President and CEO of American Gilsonite. “Although AGC has been supplying uintaite for over 100 years, this certification gives our customers added assurance of the quality and consistent supply of our product.”
Mueller added that the international certification reflects American Gilsonite’s commitment to customers emphasized in the Company Quality Policy:
American Gilsonite Company is committed to consistent, high-performing products and reliable service by always understanding and meeting customers’ requirements and expectations. We are also committed to a culture that fosters integrity, a sense of responsibility, and an awareness of and compliance with all other applicable governing requirements.
We strive to continually improve our products and services by regularly measuring, monitoring, and reporting our performance against established quality objectives.
“We would also like to take this opportunity to extend our sincere thanks to our customers and suppliers for their continued commitment and loyalty. American Gilsonite Company will always strive to exceed their high expectations,” concluded Mueller. “With our goals focused on quality assurance and innovative production, we look forward to bringing the business to new heights in the months and years to come.”
Contact us today to learn why American Gilsonite Company should be your trusted supplier and technical partner.
Gilsonite® uintaite provides superior fluid loss control using less product
November 15, 2021
Difficult drilling conditions of highly deviated offshore wells present technical challenges
A global drilling fluids company operating in the Gulf of Mexico typically works on highly deviated wells with an average total depth of 5,000 meters (16,400 feet). Drilling challenges observed in these wells include salt domes and wellbore stability related to coal extrusions. Therefore, achieving tight control in fluid loss properties is of paramount importance in the drilling fluid design.
Alternative fluid loss additive required excessive amounts of product
The company is using diesel-based fluids (OBM). In an attempt to reduce costs, the company switched to an alternative asphaltite product for fluid loss control. To achieve the needed effectiveness, the alternative product required a concentration of 35-40 kg/m3 (~9-11 ppb).
Gilsonite® provides fluid loss control with a significantly lower concentration
The drilling fluids company determined that a formulation with Gilsonite® uintaite consistently achieves the necessary fluid loss control in concentrations as low as 25 kg/m3 (~6 ppb). “Gilsonite® works extremely well with our OBM formulation. We have tried other asphaltites and have seen a 50-70% increase in consumption to achieve the same results,” said the Operations Support Manager of the company. Being able to purchase significantly lower quantities of Gilsonite® adds tremendous value for the client.
In addition, the client’s decision was reinforced by the assurance of American Gilsonite Company’s unmatched supply and ability to provide all the product required at the time needed.
New low-cost Gilsonite LCM improves pumping operations
November 4, 2021
New Gilsonite® LCM yields cost savings at purchase and during operations
For wells drilled in the Midland Basin, West Texas Cementers adopted a new, competitively priced lost-circulation material (LCM) additive from American Gilsonite Company. West Texas Cementers (WTC) observed that the cement jobs with Gilsonite® LCM pumped smoother than jobs using Kol-Seal®, as evidenced by pressure charts.
Smoother pumping means less wear on pumps
Further investigation revealed that using Gilsonite® LCM rather than Kol-Seal® doubled the operating time between pump maintenance resulting in a 50% reduction in pump replacement part costs and in the cost of labor for repairs.
Higher LCM concentration results in better lost circulation control
The erratic pressure behavior with Kol-Seal® in the slurry can be attributed to the material’s hardness and large particle sizes. “We were capped at two pounds per sack of Kol-Seal® previously due to how destructive it was on our valves and seats. We were able to increase the amount of LCM (from 2 lbs Kol-Seal® to 3 lbs Gilsonite®) so in general, more losses were mitigated,” noted Kevin Swikert WTC Engineer and Technical Manager.
Kevin concluded, “We have been pleased with the Gilsonite® LCM product. Our maintenance costs have been reduced and we are able to provide a better slurry to our clients.”
Contact us to learn more about how the world’s only true source of Gilsonite® can benefit your company.
New cost-effective Gilsonite® product provides crucial filtration control, maintains stable rheology
September 10, 2021
Ultra-deep wells and gypsum-salt formations present unique drilling challenges
The Sichuan Basin in southwest China is rich in ultra-deep natural gas and deep shale gas resources. Successful wells must be 7,000 to 8,000 meters (23,000 to 26,000 feet) deep. In addition, thick gypsum-salt rock formations present extreme engineering challenges, notably maintaining a stable rheological profile.
Other SBM additives fail to maintain stable fluid rheology
The client drilled with a synthetic-based mud (SBM) typically used in the region but was looking for a fluid loss control additive that would offer consistent performance while keeping emulsion strength and maintaining a stable rheological profile. Drilling fluid properties typically worsen when contaminated by highly pressurized brine in gypsum-salt formations. Therefore, consistent performance of additives is key.
New Gilsonite® product provides cost-effective filtration control, preserves other important fluid properties
The new Gilsonite® grade was used to replace other asphaltic additives that were less reliable and known to impact rheological values. A formulation with 8 ppb (pounds per barrel) of the new product provided adequate filtration control with no impact on rheology. In addition, it provided a cost-effective solution to improve the performance of the client’s SBM formulation. Gilsonite® uintaite is the only naturally occurring drilling fluid additive that prevents wellbore instability without affecting fluid rheology.
“Overall, we are pleased with the performance of the new Gilsonite® product, which is why we would like to promote it in China,” noted the client’s operations manager.
American Gilsonite Company Mining Operations Celebrate 5-Year Safety Record
August 12, 2021
American Gilsonite Company CEO Craig Mueller and CFO Steve Granda recently traveled to our mining operations facility in Bonanza, Utah to congratulate COO Nick Lott and the Bonanza Operations team for their 5-year safety record.
Breaking 700,000 hours of no lost time accidents is a major achievement in any mining operation, and the company wanted to acknowledge the great work the Bonanza Operations team has done to make that possible.
American Gilsonite Company implemented an HSE safety program in 2015 that empowered employees to take an active role in improving their own safety, the safety of their coworkers and the safety of their environment. This resulted in the establishment of a world-class safety culture that has since been recognized for its accident-free operations, receiving the highest Safety Achievement Award from the Industrial Minerals Association-North America, as well as a Safety Award from the Utah Mining Association for the outstanding safety record.
To honor and celebrate the team’s accomplishments, American Gilsonite Company hosted a company steak picnic. The get-together included the Bonanza administrative office staff, the plant and warehouse team and the mining crew ‒ a rare gathering of all these groups in the same place at the same time! In addition to enjoying lunch together, employees were able to participate in an open forum Q&A session with Craig, Steve and Nick.
“We value our legacy and the people who helped create a first-rate culture of safety, quality and performance,” stated Craig Mueller. “Our focus on safety means that when you buy from American Gilsonite Company, you can be assured you’re supporting a company that values the safety of its workers and protection of the environment – and that you’re getting the quality and performance that comes exclusively from the world’s only true source of Gilsonite® uintaite.”
Contact us today to learn why American Gilsonite Company should be your trusted supplier and technical partner.
Congratulations Bonanza Operations team!
Plant and Warehouse Team
Outstanding safety record earns American Gilsonite Company the Utah Mining Association Safety Award
June 10, 2021
American Gilsonite Company has received the Utah Mining Association Safety Award for its accident-free operations. All recipients of the Safety Award were recognized at the 105th Annual Utah Mining Association Virtual Convention held on Tuesday, November 10, 2020.
The Utah Mining Association (UMA) annual safety awards program promotes mine safety and awareness and rewards the advancements of mine safety in the State of Utah. The program includes all UMA member companies, including service companies working in the industry.
American Gilsonite Company CEO Craig Mueller said, “American Gilsonite Company is very pleased to receive this award, and grateful for the recognition of our employees’ ongoing efforts to maintain a safe and healthy work environment. American Gilsonite Company now has over five years without a lost time injury, which we know is an outstanding achievement in the mining industry.”
American Gilsonite Company is the world’s only supplier of Gilsonite®, a naturally occurring hydrocarbon resin (uintaite). With a number of unique chemical properties and physical characteristics, Gilsonite has been used in a variety of applications and industries including oil and gas, foundries, asphalt, inks and paints. This unique mineral is only found in the Uintah Basin and we have been mining and processing Gilsonite continuously for over 100 years. We value our legacy and the people who have created a first-rate culture of safety, quality, and performance.