History Of Cesium Formate: Uses Around The World

The first application of caesium formate in the Sheawater field in the UK marked the beginning of many applications around the world, from Hungary to China, from Argentina to Malaysia. Remarkably, some of the original fields are still active today.

Initially, its use was concentrated in the North Sea, but soon the benefits of this compound were too overwhelming to be ignored. Important points in the history of caesium formate include the first application in a field with sub-sea well heads, the first use in land and a record-breaking 235 degree Celsius reached so far. Although originally sceptical, most oil companies nowadays have recognised that, both from an economical and environmental point of view, using caesium formate is much more efficient as a drilling fluid than its highly hazardous predecessors.

Important Dates

1846: August Breithaupt finds pollucite in Italy; but as caesium is not discovered until 1860, its presence is only identified in this mineral in 1864.

1957: The presence of pollucite is found in lake Bernic, Manitoba, Canada. Over 2,000 tonnes were mined by 1960, but the mine was closed for many years following this initial extraction phase.

1985: Researchers in the UK develop ways to enhance thermal stability of drilling fluids by using formate solutions. This method was patented the following year.

1992: The first system using caesium formate (IDSALT F) is introduced by International Drilling Fluids

1993: For the first time, Shell presents results at a conference in New Orleans, about properties and potential benefits of using a caesium formate solution in high-pressure high-temperature gas and oil wells.

1999: This year marks the first small scale application of caesium formate solution on the Shearwater field in the UK. This was followed by applications in the Dunbar field and the Elgin field, which is considered by many the most extreme field in the North Sea.

2000: This solution is used for the first time in Norway, to drill the reservoir section of a high-pressure high-temperature well in the Huldra field.

2001: After Shell, BP becomes the second major operator to opt for caesium formate drilling fluids.

2004: Denmark uses this solution for the first time in the South Arne field.

2005: This drilling fluid is used for the first time in land, as Hungary uses it to complete the drilling of a high-pressure high-temperature well.

2006: Argentina uses this solution for the first time in the El Campamento field.

2007: The highest temperature using a caesium formate solution stands at 235 degree Celsius. This year also marks the first application in Asia.

2013: Caesium formate maintains its popularity and it’s been used in over 200 wells around the world

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