A Colorado natural gas driller performs hydraulic fracture drilling, using water and steam mixtures as they drill deep into the earth to extract natural gas. As the “frac” water is pulled back out of the wells for treatment, it travels through a system that includes six 14’ diameter, 20’ tall tanks that separate chemicals and other foulants through an agitation process. The water is then sent to evaporation beds. The problem: preventing the corrosive water from destroying heaters as they worked to keep the process online through the cold Colorado mountain winters. A standard heater design was not working – some lasted only weeks before corrosion caused failure.
Chromalox developed a system using large tank flange heaters (LTF) with replaceable elements. These heaters have met the challenge by staying in operation for two years - a far cry from the replacement schedule previously required. The system is now being specified for several other drilling operations by the customer.