Potassium Hydroxide in the Oil and Gas Industry

Potassium hydroxide, commonly called caustic potash, has many industrial uses and is found in many chemicals that contain potassium. The oil and gas industry uses potassium hydroxide to improve drilling and well efficiency as well as in the refining process.

In drilling hard, brittle, water-sensitive shales such as clay, potassium hydroxide is often used in injection fluids and drilling muds because it improves the stability of the shale as the well is drilled. The potassium ions attach to the clay’s surface and minimize dispersion of the cuttings into finer particles which could impede drilling. It increases mud pH and helps to make lignite soluble and easy to remove.

Once oil and gas are recovered, they must be refined into useable forms. Potassium hydroxide is a chemical that is widely used in the petroleum refining process to remove contaminants. Potassium hydroxide is a strong base that is reactive toward acids. The oil and gas industry takes advantage of this reactivity to acids and uses potassium hydroxide to remove unwanted organic acids and sulfur compounds from raw petroleum.

Removing impurities improves the end-product and is necessary to meet regulated specifications. Known as sweetening, this major refinery treatment improves odor, color, oxidation stability, and reduces concentrations of carbon dioxide. A caustic solution treatment of potassium hydroxide removes organic acids such as naphthenic acids and phenols, and sulfur compounds such as mercaptans and H2S, improving the odor and color of the refined products.

Continental Chemical USA  has years of expertise in working closely with leading oil and gas professionals. Contact us here or at 877.959.5530 to learn more.

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