Conventional and Eco-Friendly Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Additives: A Review


The purpose of this paper is to create a starting point for research into using friendly and biodegradable waste material as supportive items for hydraulic fracturing fluids and additives. Conventional fluids and additives, although they can be effective, they pose serious threats to work personnel and public health and to the environment. Conventional fluids and additives can also be very costly. These risks and concerns should drive the oil and gas industry to pursue alternative options, safer and cheaper options, from conventional fracturing fluids and additives. Some waste materials provide this opportunity. It is apparent through many forms of research that waste materials are readily available globally making it easy and cheap to obtain. A driving force for this research was research previously done on finding alternative additives for drilling fluids. Researchers have proven that some of the waste materials, such as food waste, grass waste, palm tree waste, among many others, can and should replace or at least boost conventional drilling fluids and additives through a series of experiments and tests. Not only are these materials easier and cheaper to obtain, but they are also efficient and safer for both the environment and people. The same could be said for alternative hydraulic fracturing fluids and additives if proper research is done. The strides made in finding alternatives for drilling fluid additives have pushed the revolutionizing of the oil and gas industry, acting as a catalyst for the research into alternative hydraulic fracturing fluids and additives. In this work, a more thorough investigation into conventional fracturing fluids and their downfalls regarding price and health and environmental concerns are illustrated as well as the function of the main fracturing fluids; water fracs, linear gels, crosslinked gels, oil-based fluids, and foam/poly-emulsions. Throughout this paper, it becomes apparent that the oil and gas industry should attempt replacing or decreasing conventional fracturing fluids additives because of the negative influences they have on profit, people's health and safety, and the environment.

Meeting Name

SPE Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference and Exhibition 2020, HFTC 2020 (2020: Feb. 4-6, The Woodlands, TX)


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for Research in Energy and Environment (CREE)

Keywords and Phrases

Accident prevention; Crosslinking; Drilling fluids; Food additives; Food waste; Gas industry; Gels; Health risks; Hydraulic fracturing; Infill drilling; Oils and fats; Petroleum additives; Petroleum reservoirs; Public health, Biodegradable wastes; Conventional drilling; Cross-linked gels; Drilling fluid additives; Environmental concerns; Health and safety; Oil and Gas Industry; Oil-based fluids, Fracturing fluids

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2020 Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Feb 2020