Due to the aggressive reactivity of the EETCT reagents, countless experiments were conducted for safety purposes. Speed of reaction and limits of concentrations were tested and are documented.
Certificates issued under № 25–ИД–19542–2010 by the Russian governmental authority for safety in mining and nuclear industry in Russia – RosTechNadzor – state that our technology is safe enough to be “used by trained persons without limits.” No tests or other certificates are needed. Environmental regulations in your location may vary, but we will help as much as we can with the proper documentation. The automated system will be certified in Russia and Kazakhstan according to new laws and rules, which are very close to rules in EU, early in 2020.
The EETCT treatment is fully controlled and contains built-in safety measures and redundancies.
During any work with acids or certain other chemicals, the operator has to be fully protected against skin contact. In some cases, a gas mask or other protection may be suitable.
The leading methods SAGD and Hydrofracture are an ecological nightmare; both use a lot of water, which gets polluted and needs to be cleaned, which is not always possible. EETCT typically works with just 20m³ of water (groundwater can be used, but also sea water, in combination with our optional water purifying system). Nothing down in the ground gets polluted, and what may escape to the surface is safe. Less CO2 is produced than by SAGD or other thermal method, which burns the oil/gas – it all burns up underground.
During the EETCT treatment, the by-products are nitrogen (N₂), water (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO₂), carbon monoxide (CO), boric acid (H3BO3) and (in some cases, in trace amounts) sulphur dioxide (SO₂) – but only when the oil contains a high concentration of sulphur, or by the use of special materials that contain sulphur.
CO will appear in a limited amount as a gas because it is almost insoluble in water or in crude oil. If necessary, it can be burnt up on the surface and turned into CO2. For safety purposes, the control system monitors any hydrogen that may appear. When the reaction goes as planned, CO converts to CO2 in-situ.
The amount of SO₂ is changeable, because it is dependent on the degree of reactions of our oxidizers with sulphur (S8), which is usually dissolved in the oil; its content varies greatly in different locations. This, however, can be wholly predicted, based on the well’s data. If SO₂ appears in larger volumes, it can be neutralized by a liquid solution of sodium hydroxide on the surface, resulting in the non-toxic salt Na2SO3 (sodium sulfite).
Boric acid H3BO3 has a marginally-allowed concentration of 0.5 mg/liter. It’s water-soluble; however it binds with minerals in the formation to create boric acid. It is impossible to know in advance how much boric acid will come out of the well in the water solution but, as we use only a few kilos of NaBH₄ (which creates the boric acid) and we will get thousands of tons of oil-and-water mixture, we do not perceive any danger of exceeding the allowed concentration.
It should be noted that boron compounds (boric acid and salts) are always present in crude oil and water, sometimes in large amounts. We can control the hazard of boron. According to the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease, very high concentrations of boron can cause skin irritations, with no other serious consequences
For good measure
Furthermore, the entire productive layer gets cleaned in the process.
What if something goes wrong?
If in the rare case that the chemical reaction does not go according to plan, nitrogen oxide (NO) might appear in addition to the chemicals stated above. It cannot be estimated in advance, but it can be monitored and minimized. However, the conditions in the well, along with the chemical reactions, are not conducive to producing significant amounts of NO. This has not occurred for us since the days of testing in the early 2000s.
It is improbable that any NO2 will appear (if it does, it will be a small amount and only at the beginning), as it will react deep down with the other chemicals.
We can control this by monitoring the concentration and eliminating the NO by oxidizing it with the air’s oxygen (2NO + O2 -> 2NO2) and then dissolving it with water and an alkali (e.g. NaOH).
There will always be some original materials that have not reacted, most of those will remain in the well. Any small amount that may be pumped out together with the oil will be negligible and has no influence on oil quality or environment.
Concerning the toxicity of organic saltpeter (if we use this), different saltpeter solutions have different toxicities. Our most common saltpeter is almost completely non-toxic. It decomposes to the same gases like inorganic (ammonium) saltpeter, releasing 2-6 times more energy and is nearly 100% efficient. The hydrogen and oxygen released can further react with the oil, which releases additional energy, and we end up with more energy than what was released from the decomposition of materials (we can say that efficiency is >100%). Nitric acid, caustic soda and some other additives can be used for stabilization of reaction
Additional notes on ecology and the environment
Sodium nitrite (NaNO2) is a white crystal easily soluble in water. If it is pure, it decomposes at 320°C (608°F). Decomposition runs in several directions, while the particular temperature of decomposition and ratio of components strongly depends on the presence of admixtures. The main products of decomposition are Na2O, NO, NO2 and N2 (sodium oxide, nitrogen oxide (II), nitrogen oxide (IV) and nitrogen.
The latter three are gaseous at standard conditions. If heavy metal ions are present, the temperature of decomposition is significantly lowered. For example, calcium nitrite decomposes at 220°C (428°F); iron nitrite decomposes at 160°C (320°F), and there may be iron or calcium ions present in any formation, along with many other metals bound in oxides or salts. Nitrogen oxides are very strong oxidizers. Both oxidize crude oil at increased temperatures, similar to using nitric acid. The final product of oxidizing crude oil is CO2, H2O and N2. The same gases appear during the decomposition of ammonium nitrate (and its reaction with crude oil).
NO and NO2 are radicals (highly reactive particles with one or more free non-paired electrons).
This means that they easily enter into any chemical reaction:
- a) They easily react with any organic materials at high temperature. In our case in particular, they react with crude oil and support cracking. Such a reaction starts by nitration, nitrosating and diazotization mixed together. During this reaction, new substances are created from separate molecules of crude oil. The substances contain nitrogen (and oxygen). Those reactions start the cracking of crude oil, because any of the above-mentioned newly-created substances containing nitrogen are thermally unstable. As a point of interest, the nitration of saturated hydrocarbons was one of the first radical reactions ever researched by scientists.
- b) they easily speed-up decomposition of any nitrates, working as radical catalysts. In our case, they speed up and regulate decomposition of our main saltpeter (either organic or inorganic).
Due to sufficiently high temperatures in the borehole and the formation, all reactions of sodium nitrite with crude oil will lead to the creation of H2O, CO2 and N2 only. Sodium nitrite is widely used in the food industry.
If any water solutions of our materials fall (always in a limited amount) onto the soil, they are nitrogenous fertilizers.
We see no problems in obtaining environmental permits, though, due to the fact that EETCT is new, the process of getting permits may take longer
Also, see toxic liquidation for how we can use EETCT to liquidate waste!