Sabre Frequently Asked Questions
- What is chlorine dioxide and where is it used?
- What is Sabre's historical background in chlorine dioxide?
- How is Sabre’s Chlorine Dioxide technology and applications different from other chlorine dioxide companies in the oil and gas industry?
- What are the advantages of chlorine dioxide as compared to traditional biocides in the oil and gas industry?
- How does the cost of Sabre’s chlorine dioxide treatment compare to conventional treatment technologies in the oil and gas industry?
- Is chlorine dioxide corrosive?
- What are the safety concerns with ClO2 and what personal protection equipment (PPE) is required on site?
- In the oil and gas industry, what is chlorine dioxide's effect on permeability and porosity?
- How does Sabre monitor the quality of chlorine dioxide generated on site?
- In the oil and gas industry, will chlorine dioxide react with any of our oxygen scavengers, scale inhibitors, or other additives?
- In the oil and gas industry, is Sabre’s chlorine dioxide treatment affected by high total dissolved solids (TDS ) levels when treating produced and flow back water for disposal or reuse?
- In the oil and gas industry, how can chlorine dioxide help my injection well that has significant amounts of Iron Sulfide (FeS)?
- In the oil and gas industry, how does chlorine dioxide affect oil carryover?
- How did Sabre become involved in the bio-terrorism response effort?
- What other experience does Sabre have in the bio-terrorism response arena?
- Does Sabre's chlorine dioxide treatment technology have applicability outside the bio-terrorism response arena?
Q. What is chlorine dioxide and where is it used?
A. Chlorine dioxide is a water-soluble gas with a slight yellow-green color and an odor similar to that of chlorine. The chemistry of chlorine dioxide is well established and documented through more than 70 years of safe utilization in a variety of industrial applications including:
- Disinfection of drinking water supplies
- Disinfection of wastewater flows
- Sterilization of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
- Treatment of potentially infectious bio-medical waste
- Sanitization of food processing equipment
- Control of microbial growth in cooling water systems
- Preparation of food products such as flour, spices, shrimp, fruits and vegetables
- Bleaching of pulp to make paper products
- Elimination of odors from industrial processes and sewage systems
Chlorine dioxide was first used in the United States as a drinking water disinfectant in the mid 1940's. It is used around the world, but particularly in North America and Europe where chlorine dioxide experiences ever-increasing use as a substitute for chlorine because it does not form carcinogenic trihalomethanes upon reaction with organic substances. Over four million pounds of chlorine dioxide are produced and used each day in North America.
Q. What is Sabre's historical background in chlorine dioxide?
A. Sabre is a privately held company that specializes in large scale mobile chlorine dioxide generation systems used in oil field applications, environmental remediation projects and similar short term, high volume applications. Sabre builds and maintains the only high capacity portable chlorine dioxide systems available in the world. Sabre personnel have over 25 years experience in the application of chlorine dioxide as a disinfectant and oxidant in a variety of industries. Sabre is an industry leader in chlorine dioxide technology for drinking water plants, with over 100 generation systems installed to date. Sabre is also a leader in the development of chlorine dioxide gas phase applications, such as that used to eliminate Bacillus anthracis (i.e. anthrax) contamination from several large-scale public and private facilities following the October 2001 anthrax attacks.
Q. How is Sabre's Chlorine Dioxide technology and applications different from other chlorine dioxide companies in the oil and gas industry?
A. Other chlorine dioxide companies run their generators via a pump system. Our generators use a vacuum system that ensures safe, high quality chlorine dioxide without the risks incorporated with pump systems (pumps can lead to high ppmv levels that could eventually reach explosive limits). In Sabre's chlorine dioxide generation method, when the water flow stops, then the chemical feed also stops meaning that Sabre has no chemical dump in the system.
Q. What are the advantages of chlorine dioxide as compared to traditional biocides in the oil and gas industry?
- Unlike traditional biocides (glutaraldehyde, quaternary ammonium), chlorine dioxide's biocidal effect is by oxidation. Bacteria cannot acclimate to chlorine dioxide unlike with non oxidizing biocides. This is beneficial because after the bacteria build a resistance to the biocide it is necessary to use an alternate biocide or increase dosage, resulting in additional costs.
- The biocidal activity of chlorine dioxide is independent of pH.
- Chlorine dioxide is able to penetrate biofilm and kill all microorganisms regardless of what stage they are in (dormant, active, reproducing etc) which gives a complete kill and results in a significantly longer recovery time so the system stays cleaner longer.
- Chlorine dioxide doesn't react with water or hydrocarbons so lower dosages are required as all of the chlorine dioxide goes to biocidal effect and is not lost to unwanted reactions.
- Chlorine dioxide doesn't chlorinate organics and doesn't produce unwanted disinfection byproducts that could be harmful to the environment.
- Chlorine dioxide eliminates all bacteria, iron sulfide, and hydrogen sulfide. Conventional treatment methodologies would require three chemicals to achieve the same result.
Q. How does the cost of Sabre's chlorine dioxide treatment compare to conventional treatment technologies in the oil and gas industry?
A. Sabre has low chemical costs and years of experience creating competitive pricing in the energy market. Additionally, because of chlorine dioxide's efficacy and chemical profile it can be used in relatively small dosages and often negates the use of multiple traditional treatments and chemicals, resulting in lower costs for producers. By using chlorine dioxide you can eliminate chemical treatments such as H2S and FeS scavengers, as well as additional biocide treatments. In addition, pH buffers can be extremely expensive for operators and are often necessary with conventional treatment technologies. Sabre's technology allows the operator to monitor pH and hold it constant throughout the hydraulic fracturing procedure, which eliminates the need for additional pH buffer and provides significant cost and time savings to the operator.
Q. Is chlorine dioxide corrosive?
A. Chlorine dioxide is not corrosive. Sabre's patented mobile generators are constructed of unlined mild steel and have generated millions of barrels of high concentration chlorine dioxide during their lifetime with no negative effects on mechanical components or hardware. Sabre generates high purity chlorine dioxide that doesn't have free chlorine, which is corrosive and can result in unwanted side reactions.
Q. What are the safety concerns with chlorine dioxide and what personal protection equipment (PPE) is required on site?
A. Chlorine dioxide is always generated at the point of application using a water driven eductor venturi. As water flows through the venturi, the suction generated pulls the precursor chemicals together to form chlorine dioxide which is then diluted by the water that is flowing through the venturi. Chlorine dioxide cannot be formed if the water stops flowing, which makes Sabre's chlorine dioxide generation method inherently safe. The solubility of chlorine dioxide in water is approximately 6000 ppm, but we typically generate at a maximum of 3000 ppm or less to minimize off gassing. Standard oilfield PPE is required; fire retardant coveralls, hard hat, safety glasses. Self contained breathing apparatuses (SCBA) are not required but are located on the generator unit for emergency response.
Q. In the oil and gas industry, what is chlorine dioxide's effect on permeability and porosity?
A. Sabre has a robust QA/QC program which evaluates the quality and suitability of the precursor chemicals prior to generation. Prior to being introduced downhole or into a surface water application, the generated chlorine dioxide is titrated to determine concentration and chlorite concentration, as well as pH. Sabre’s generation method yields high purity and high concentration chlorine dioxide with less than 5% excess chlorine.
Q. How does Sabre monitor the quality of chlorine dioxide generated on site?
A. Chlorine dioxide increases porosity by oxidizing and thus eliminating the particulates that block existing pores in the well bore. Chlorine dioxide converts oxidizable species to water soluble which opens interconnections that restores permeability. Chlorine dioxide also leaves the formation water wet, thus improving relative permeability.
Q. In the oil and gas industry, will chlorine dioxide react with any of our oxygen scavengers, scale inhibitors, or other additives?
A. No. Chlorine dioxide is a very selective oxidizer that only targets very specific things. Oxygen scavengers work by similar means as chlorine dioxide. Both are redox reactions, however, most oxygen scavengers are used to reduce corrosion through oxidizing Sulfite (SO3-2) and Bisulfite (HSO3-) into a water soluble sulfate, whereas, chlorine dioxide targets the sulfides directly. Operators should consider that oxygen scavengers require a nickel or cobalt catalyst in order to drive the reaction to completion. Chlorine Dioxide will not react with an oxygen scavenger due to the fact that it too is an oxidizer.
Q. In the oil and gas industry, is Sabre's chlorine dioxide treatment affected by high total dissolved solids (TDS) levels when treating produced and flow back water for disposal or reuse?
A. No. Sabre's chlorine dioxide treatment process and efficacy is not affected by high TDS levels, making it an optimal solution for rapidly recycling large quantities of flow back and produced water, with the additional ability to treat water on-the-fly. Chlorine dioxide will actively oxidize all solids that operators are most concerned with (i.e. Fe: ferrous to ferric). After oxidation, these products are considered less damaging to wellbores because they can no longer react with anything else that could cause issues downhole. For instance, sulfides can react with hydrogen or iron, both yielding damaging byproducts. If sulfur is oxidized completely, it becomes water soluble and will not cause any damage because it can be washed from the near well bore area.
Q. In the oil and gas industry, how can chlorine dioxide help my injection well that has significant amounts of Iron Sulfide (FeS)?
A. Iron Sulfide in injection and disposal wells results in a loss of injectivity and increased utility costs due to longer pump cycles with elevated pressures. Chlorine dioxide oxidizes the iron sulfide to a sulfate which is water soluble, allowing it to be flowed away from the near wellbore area. Generally a chelant is added which helps complex the ion and prevent re-precipitation. Chlorine dioxide is also effective at reducing electric submersible pump failures that may be plugged with FeS.
Q. In the oil and gas industry, how does chlorine dioxide affect oil carryover?
A. Oil carryover and salt water disposal skim oil quality is improved because chlorine dioxide removes sulfides from the system. The recovered oil, which can subsequently be processed and sold, can be measured and is an indicator of chlorine dioxide's effectiveness. There may also be a reduction in the amount of demulsifier used, also a measure of chlorine dioxide effectiveness.
Q. How did Sabre become involved in the bio-terrorism response effort?
A. Sabre was first contacted by the USEPA during the Capitol Hill anthrax response in October of 2001. USEPA recognized that chlorine dioxide, because of its strong antimicrobial properties and well-documented toxicological profile, might offer a superior alternative to conventional fumigants as a remedial solution for widespread anthrax spore contamination. USEPA also recognized that Sabre had a long history of technology development success in the area of chlorine dioxide generation and application systems. Sabre was asked shortly thereafter to come to Washington, D.C. to assist in the response effort.
Sabre first conducted a series of treatment chamber tests under the direction of USEPA's Emergency Response Team to verify the efficacy of chlorine dioxide gas against various surrogate spore species. At the conclusion of these tests, and after a critical evaluation of many remedial alternatives, USEPA concluded:
"The disinfectant properties of this gas coupled with its ability to penetrate porous surfaces make it a preferred fumigant for this application (Hart Senate Office Building)". "In general, chlorine dioxide has the most well established complete disinfection capability for spores and microorganisms when compared to many other disinfectants. Human toxicity for this compound is well established in drinking water, food and human contact uses. It is currently in use in the food and agriculture industry in a gas phase preparation. USEPA, NIOSH, and OSHA provide recommended protective limits for this compound."
Concurrent with performance of the surrogate spore strip efficacy tests, Sabre worked to develop a technology for delivering pure gaseous chlorine dioxide to contaminated portions of the building. Shortly after selection of chlorine dioxide as USEPA's remedy of choice, these portions of the building were fumigated successfully through use of this application process.
In addition to successfully fumigating contaminated portions of the Hart Senate Office Building, Sabre also coordinated and supervised the proper use of liquid chlorine dioxide solutions in spot treatment efforts being conducted simultaneously in several other Capitol Hill buildings.
Q. What other experience does Sabre have in the bio-terrorism response arena?
A. Sabre has been involved in the restoration of nearly every major facility contaminated during the October 2001 anthrax attacks. Following completion of the Capitol Hill response, Sabre turned its focus to assisting the United States Postal Service (USPS) with its efforts to rehabilitate two major Processing and Distribution Centers (P&DC) that had been widely contaminated by the same anthrax-laced letters found at Capitol Hill. Specifically, these facilities were the USPS Curseen-Morris P&DC in Washington, DC and the USPS Trenton P&DC in Hamilton Township, New Jersey. These two facilities were approximately 14 million ft3 and 6 million ft3 in size, respectively. Sabre successfully eliminated all traces of anthrax contamination from each of these enormous facilities by "upsizing" the same base chlorine dioxide generation and application technology it developed during the Capitol Hill response.
In addition to the Hart Senate Office Building and USPS P&DC facilities, Sabre also successfully fumigated the former American Media Incorporated (AMI) building in Boca Raton, Florida where the first of the anthrax attacks occurred. Having perfected its chlorine dioxide treatment technology during the Capitol Hill and USPS responses, Sabre eliminated all traces of contamination from the AMI facility in record time and at reasonable cost.
Another use of the Company's chlorine dioxide treatment technology in the bio-terrorism response area was the treatment of several large cargo containers filled with lemons in October of 2004. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) had received a tip that several containers on a ship arriving from South America might be contaminated with a biological weapon. In responding to this alert, the USCG contacted Sabre and requested that each suspect container be fumigated with chlorine dioxide gas. Sabre promptly performed the requested treatment.
Q. Does Sabre's chlorine dioxide treatment technology have applicability outside the bio-terrorism response arena?
A. Adaptation of the large-scale anthrax treatment technology to address widespread mold contamination has proven expedient, cost effective, and successful. Sabre's chlorine dioxide treatment process was used to eradicate mold from a three-story, 5,000 square foot historic building so heavily contaminated with mold, inside and outside its structural walls, that it was thought to be beyond economic rehabilitation.
To prepare the building for treatment, the roof was replaced and obvious sources of external water intrusion were eliminated. Sabre then mobilized a core group of personnel to install treatment system components inside and outside the building and tent the exterior of the structure to prevent release of chlorine dioxide to the ambient environment during the treatment process.
Following completion of the treatment, scientists collected mold samples throughout all four floors of the building, including mold infestations located behind internal walls of the structure, to assess efficacy of the chlorine dioxide treatment process. Test results showed complete kill of mold throughout all areas of the building, including those areas where it would not have been possible to treat mold contamination except for use of a highly penetrating gas like chlorine dioxide. The treatment process also dramatically altered the visual appearance of areas that showed heavy mold contamination before treatment.
Preparation, treatment, environmental testing and demobilization were all accomplished in a period of less than three weeks.
More recently, recognizing that the Sabre process, which has been perfected through the treatment of hundreds of structures for contaminants, could be used as a permanent solution to the problem drywall challenges, Sabre has re-sized and automated its equipment to address individual residences and smaller buildings.