Innovation and Experience

TETRA Technologies
Written by Robert Hoshowsky

Just north of Houston is The Woodlands area of Texas, an area known for petrochemical corporations such as Chevron Phillips, Baker Hughes, and ExxonMobil. TETRA Technologies, Inc. is strategically headquartered here to serve oil and gas industries across the United States. Geographically diversified TETRA Technologies is focused on providing products and services for water management, selected offshore works, decommissioning, and more.
TETRA regularly sells hundreds of highly innovative products and provides many other products and services to the industry. The most successful of these have been specifically designed and formulated to meet the needs of customers.

“It is always based on the market,” says Barry Donaldson, vice president of sales and marketing. The company has worked closely with clients for almost four decades. TETRA sources some products, while others are developed internally by scientists working for the business.

TETRA’s services include completion fluids, production well testing, water management, compression services and equipment, offshore rig cooling, as well as offshore well plugging and abandonment, decommissioning, diving, and more.

Since the company was founded in February of 1981, TETRA has been creating and supplying the best available products. A few years later, the TETRA Technology Center—now called the TETRA Innovation Group (TIG) to better reflect its highly innovative nature—was created to conduct its own research into the development of fluids that provide quality, innovative solutions for the oilfield.

TIG is staffed by highly experienced, world-class experts with many years of combined knowledge, making it one of the finest centers of its kind. Its tested, custom-tailored fluids are used by everything from smaller businesses to massive, multi-national corporations.

“We have a staff of scientists looking at new types of fluids for the completion market and the water market, and we also use the center for some of our mechanical-type solutions,” states Donaldson.

TIG’s vast range of completion and drill-in fluid support services includes laboratory and technical services, research and development, frac water testing and frac water treatment, analytical testing and services, specialized fluid testing, completion fluid testing, technical services, and product development.

According to TETRA, through TIG, “we are able to address the industry’s ever-changing challenges.”

TETRA has four service divisions: Fluids, Production Testing, Offshore, and Compression. The company is proud to have the tools, technologies, skill sets, and innovation required to see new products come to life. The fluids division includes water management and completion fluids services. In the oil and gas industry, completion refers to the process of readying a well for production.

TETRA is active in numerous areas, but continues to see demand grow for fracing-related products. Fracing is used to extract oil and gas from deep in the earth. Drilling is followed by the high-pressure injection of liquid that includes chemicals, sand, and water.

This fluid requires massive quantities of water, and the issue for many companies is how to maximize the reuse of water produced with oil and gas. TETRA used proven scientific process and ingenuity to create its Automated Blending Solution and TETRA Orapt™ (Oil Recovery After Production Technology) System.

TETRA was approached by a client that sought produced water reuse solutions. The client’s existing water quality failed to meet its standards needed for fracing liquids, so it wanted to blend two different types of water into a homogeneous mixture.

TETRA developed technology to blend the water, which led to the development of the Automated Blending controller, which measures water quality coming in and going out to ensure consistency.

The water blending controller and a patented manifold makes for error-free water combining every time and helps customers save money and the environment in several ways. The cost of bringing in fresh water is lowered, and there is no need for water disposal and its related costs.

The client had a need to remove residual oil from the produced water, so TETRA stepped in, which soon led to the development of its TETRA Orapt™ (Oil Recovery After Production Technology) System.

“The water has already gone through a typical production facility, and they stripped off most of the oil, but there is still quite a bit of oil that the TETRA Orapt™ system was able to pull off, which they then fed into the automated blender,” says Donaldson of the technology. “The beauty of it is, enough oil comes off it and it is of high-enough quality that the customer sells it, and it pretty much pays for the operation. They maximize their profits, and we make money, so it’s a good deal for both of us.”

TETRA’s technology significantly reduces the amount of fresh water needed for fracing, along with water sourcing and disposal costs, and can save an average of between “$15,000 to $20,000 per frac event by selling the oil extracted from produced water,” according to the company.

In the oil and gas sectors, years of experience counts, as does working proactively with clients. “We listen when our customers are telling us things. We see some gaps and where they need to improve, so we will do development around those types of products to move the technology window,” says Donaldson. The company was one of the first to manufacture clear brine fluids specifically for the oil and gas industry.

While it continually invests in research and technology, TETRA creates customized fluids which are cost-effective and help to optimize efficiency.

“We are always focused on our customers,” says Donaldson. “At TETRA Technologies, we are small and nimble enough to come up with unique solutions quickly that generate value, but we are also big enough to deliver quality products that are safe for both people and the environment.”



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