Thoughts and ideas from Force Chem Technologies
Changes in the Oil and Gas Industry Mean Changes for Industrial Degreaser Production and Use
July 8, 2019 at 12:00 AM
by Force Chem Technologies

The oil and gas industry dominates the headlines today. The United States, on the back of expanded oil and gas production, has reclaimed the industry titan status that it held until just after World War II. As other major production nation-states such as Venezuela, Russia, and Iran have fallen into chaos or disrepute, American-based production has kept global prices stable and affordable. 

Impact of Hydrofracturing and Increased Scrutiny

What made the sudden re-emergence of American energy production possible has been the advanced hydrofracturing technology that made it possible to cost-effectively access Marcellus Shale and other deep sources. The Appalachian states, Texas, the Dakotas, and other areas boast massive reserves at the Marcellus depth and even deeper at the Utica level.

Changes in production techniques, however, brought increased scrutiny from government agencies and, occasionally, less than well-informed pressure groups. In response, oil and gas companies have accepted a greater obligation to ensure that their chemical footprint, including industrial degreaser formulation, adheres to strict guidelines designed to protect the environment.

The Importance of Using Proper Degreasers

Degreasers do not merely clean equipment to make it look pretty and shiny. They serve the important purpose of removing old oil and grease, which almost always has picked up dust, dirt, grime, and other substances that affect viscosity and lubricant performance. Allowing heavy equipment and other items to go too long without a thorough degreasing can affect performance and even result in damaged goods

Traditional Makeup and Use of Degreasers

Historically, industrial degreaser formulation prioritized effective cleaning solutions and did not take environmental risks into account. When properly used, stored, and disposed of, they constituted a relatively small threat. A handful of irresponsible actors, however, had the potential to cause great harm locally and even distances away.

Some of the problematic substances used included acid and alkali degreasers and toxic surfactants and solvents, but emulsifiers created some of the worst problems. These degreasers use water in the cleaning process, which results in large amounts of wastewater saturated with toxic hydrocarbons. An accidental spill of such substances can create serious environmental devastation.

Better and Safer Ways to Degrease

New substances and processes, particularly those produced specifically for hydrofracturing, have made the industry’s impact much safer than before.

With equal concern expressed by industrial customers over both effectiveness and environmental impact, industrial degreaser formulation has changed considerably. Products now come from plant-based sources, with a wide range of products now being biodegradable. Surfactant products today come without most of, or in some cases, all of the chemicals considered to be extremely problematic, especially if they could end up in water sources. 

Overall, the industry has reduced its total use of chemicals to less than one percent of all substances used in the hydrofracturing process. Also, research is continually conducted to lower chemical usage even further.

What to Expect Going Forward

The future of the American petrochemical industry lies in hydrofracturing. It opens new sources for energy production, as well as for materials used to create common household goods. The industry provides countless good-paying jobs across the country while serving as a key part of our foreign policy goals.

The American petrochemical industry, especially in regards to industrial degreaser formulation, has succeeded in substantially reducing its environmental impact and strives for even better results going forward. Even in states that embrace the industry, those within it work to address concerns and environmental issues. Success in finding ways to further reduce environmental impact with a sustainably low-cost burden can help boost the industry and its fortunes even further.