Updated: Is this Schlumberger’s new fracking propant?


Update: If you thought I was kidding and that this post was all in fun, you were wrong. I have the best and smartest readers on the whole Internet who often send interesting items for me to post on my blog. Then I just post the funny part. I’m like the Velveteen Rabbit: My readers make me real.

Always Read the comments; that’s where the patents are.



You might have read last week that Schlumberger has patented a new fiber propant for fracking that will eliminate “allow for improved proppant suspension” and reduce the amount of sand and water needed.

HiWAY Flow-Channel Hydraulic Fracturing Increases Production Using Less Water and Proppant

Reduce Footprint Without Sacrificing Production
HiWAY flow-channel hydraulic fracturing significantly increases fracture conductivity while reducing water and proppant consumption. This means higher short- and long-term production, simpler logistics, and a smaller operational footprint.

Thanks to a loyal reader, I think we know what that new fiber is.

Combined law effort yields 2,036 lbs. of marijuana

In a joint law enforcement effort with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the District Attorney’s Highway Interdiction Officer, and Live Oak County Sheriff’s Office, they were able to confiscate 2,036 pounds of marijuana hidden in two pickups with “Schlumberger” marked on their doors, said Live Oak Sheriff Larry Busby.

Busby said an officer from Jim Wells County called to alert Live Oak County officers that they had stopped a truck marked with Schlumberger on the doors that was carrying hundreds of pounds of marijuana in the bed and truck box. The officers believed another similarly marked truck was heading north and could possibly be on FM 3162.


About Sharon Wilson

Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.


  1. GhostBlogger says

    HA! Either some employees were using the company trucks for illegal purposes, or it’s time to rethink “trade secret” fracking chemicals!

  2. says

    New ideas for cash flow MUST be cropping up every day.

    “As with any property we own in North Texas — or anywhere else, for that matter — we are always willing to entertain an offer!” ~ Julie Wilson, Chespeake VP of Urban Development

    Up and Out

  3. Alma Hasse says

    Well, let’s look at the silver lining here!

    How many lawmakers in various states have been trying to get hemp legalized? I know here in Idaho at least one State Representative has been trying for some time.

    If the industry boyz get behind this, it’ll be legal in all 50 states overnight!!!

    :-) Alma

  4. Anonymous says

    Could it be that the GasHoles have figured out how to have the taxpayers subside their fracking???? by pumping seized weed downhole??? Could it be?

  5. says

    Dude, this fracking weed is so fracking good man!

    I know dude, like it totally fracks me up, man!

    Hey, dude, there’s a pipe here in the ground! Dude, blow down the pipe man! Just imagine it’s an earthen bong, dude!

    Dude, aren’t you supposed to suck on a bong?

    No, man, fracking bongs blow man, they totally blow!

  6. Andy Mechling says

    Kephry you’ve got it backward; and Alma you are dead on the money.

    Kephry, if you blow into a bong, you are just going to create a big mess with the flowback fluids and associated emissions to air, no matter how much you promise that it won’t happen this time.

    Odor complaints are a predictable outcome. Please reconsider this reckless behavior.

    But when that bore gets all clogged up – as will occur with normal use – one obviously needs to come up with a plan of some kind. This is what the fiber-based frack fluids are all about. The oilfield guys need to keep their gas holes open. Think “Metamucil from Heaven”. Guaranteed to work. Mixes easy. Goes down smooth. No gassy side effect. All natural and biodegradable.

    Envision suspended clumps of Nabisco Shredded Hemp being pulsed through a wellbore at high pressure on a continuous basis. Schlumberger’s vision of the future includes putting the world’s oil and gas wells on permanent fiber-therapy. Check it out.

    Plant based fibers are added to a liquid suspension in order to cure constipation and promote regularity in the oilfields. This is daily therapy. A multitude of benefits can be realized if – and only if – one sticks with the therapy religiously.

    The Russians are already in on the deal; and the Canadians are in also. It’s not too clear if the Mexican’s are in; but Alma is right: Farmers in North Dakota, Oregon, Kentucky, . . .all are going to want in on this brave new plant-based future.

    From Russia:

    from the Ukraine:

    As a point of correction, Sharon, I do not believe it is correct to say that hemp fiber represents a new oilfield “proppant”. The new fiber-containing fluids are engineered to allow for improved proppant suspension in low viscosity fluids, and to promote more precise placement of those proppants, some of which may be polymer-based; some of which may be activated and solidified within the formation.

    Schlumberger “commercialized” the HIWAY “channeling” method in 2010, and has utilized this in Russia, Eagle Ford, and now in the Baaken.

    For any of you interested in this subject; I encourage you to read an article published last week by Reuters.

    “Schlumberger’s clever frack takes aim at gas costs”


    Schlumberger is obviously trying to hype their new technology; and I believe that some of the excitement surrounding the HIWAY fiber fracking technique in North Dakota is genuine, and I think the reporter did a great job here. Schlumberger is also being VERY tight lipped as to which fibers they are using exactly. This has not been disclosed.

    This being acknowledged, a quick review of recent patents and patent applications reveals that the use of hemp is disclosed, either directly or indirectly, as a potential source of natural fiber in downhole fluid mixtures in numerous patent applications by Schlumberger: both here and abroad.

    Schlumberger does not specifically claim to use hemp in any of these products. Still, the use of hemp fibers in downhole operations is now patented by Schlumberger in every which way imaginable.

    Schlumberger might use cannabis. That is what the patent claims make clear. They can if they want. Nobody else can; without prior permission from Schlumberger.

    The following patent documents are only a sample of the fairly extensive literature available on this subject:

    United States Patent Application 20110036582
    “Solid incorporated reversible emulsion for a fracturing fluid”

    WIPO Patent Application WO/2011/158139

    US Patent Application 20120208729 –
    “Polymeric Acid Precursor Compositions And Methods”

    Patent number: 8230925 Issue date: Jul 31, 2012
    “Degradable fiber systems for stimulation”

    Patent application number: 20120067581

    Patent application number: 20100230169

    U.S. Patent# 7297662 Date Issued: November 20, 2007
    “Method and composition for inhibiting lost circulation during well operation” (this is not a Schlumberger patent; this invention belongs to Turbo-Chem International, Inc. Lafayette LA)

    US Patent Application US 2009/0305911 A1 Filing date: Nov 30, 2006


    Patent application number:20110315402 Publication date: 2011-12-29

    Inventors: Konstantin Igorevich Popov (Dubna, RU) Vadim Kamilievich Khlestkin (Novosibirsk, RU) Assignees: Schlumberger Technolgoy Corporation

    This last patent application, with the two Russian authors, seems to be the most recent patent which most directly relates to the HIWAY system, as advertised.

    I believe that the primary author Konstantin Igorevich Popov is the same Konstantin I Popov who served on the faculty of Technology and Metallurgy department at the University of Belgrade and who delivered a paper at the 4th International Conference of the Chemical Societies of the South-East European Countries: “Chemical Sciences in Changing Times: Visions, Challenges and Solutions” Belgrade, July 18-21, 2004.


    If this is the same Konstantin I. Popov; then that fellow has extensive knowledge of the possibilities surrounding hemp. I believe this Russian gentleman lives in Texas now.

    Konstantin and Igorovich and Popov are all common Russian names. It is clear that the Schlumberger associate is NOT the well known journalist Konstantin Popov who was brutally killed by police in 2010.

    That Konstantin Popov was apparently beaten badly in public before being shot in the genitals. The officer involved was arrested; but the media was assured that his reporting was in no way connected to his death.

    Which is reassuring.

  7. Tim Ruggiero says

    I’m sure the complaints of noxious gases will all but disappear, and people living in the vicinity will start calling each other ‘dude’ and ‘hey, man’, and the answer to every inquiry will be ‘totally’.

    This is all totally part of a psyop by Industry, man ……reduction in royalty payments, dude, because no one will care, no complaints from nearby homeowners, and local supermarkets will be cleaned out of their stock of Doritos.

  8. Dan says

    Bringing in an extractive industry that has many of it own migrant workforce, often single, male, with disposable income and frequently in new towns, brings with it other industries too: prostitution, drugs, more alcohol sold in certain rural bars, perhaps more business for the police and EMTs cleaning up the messes…

  9. Andy Mechling says

    Do we know if anyone was ever charged with a crime in the case of the cannabis-laden trucks with the Schlumberger decals? Is there any type of paper trail at all?

    Was there a driver of that first truck? Was that individual apprehended? Issued a citation? a trial?

    What about the trucks? Were they Schlumberger trucks? Were they nice? Was this baled-up Mexican weed? Something different? Why would anyone risk it? Something seems wrong.

    It seems like there might have been some type of follow-up by local journalists, even if just for entertainment value.

    FYI: the photo at the head of this page was downloaded from wiki and came with a title something like; “Cannabis Harvest USSR 1956″

    • says

      What we know is the drug pushers use the oilfield roads and they sometimes get drilling company trucks or put the company logos on their own trucks.

      I do not think anybody would frack with marijuana; it’s too valuable. But I do think, if they ARE using hemp as a fiber for fracking, they might try to get it legalized here. That would be a very good thing because hemp is one of the most useful plants there is.

      • says

        This brings up another possible business opportunity for the industry during the slow times. Leasing an oil/gas field worker truck for deliveries? Logo remains intact, of course.

  10. Andy Mechling says

    Sharon, if they are not using hemp fiber in their new formulations, then they are using some other fiber in great quantity.

    These other plant candidates are all plainly disclosed as well. But which of those crops can be produced as inexpensively as cannabis? Please remember that these processes and these patents were not developed in the US.

    Russia was at one time the world’s largest producer of cannabis, and there are indications that large scale cannabis production is once again being encouraged by the government there. China is currently the world’s largest producer of hemp. One report indicated that China aims to increase it’s production of hemp by 6 fold by 2020.

    Schlumberger is using some type of plant fiber. They are bragging about it. They won’t specify as to which plant, but hemp is one of the choices on the published menu. Maybe they don’t use hemp at all. Maybe it is too expensive, as you suggest. Maybe it doesn’t work.

    If there exists another miracle fiber with the demonstrated ability to do even a fraction of what hemp can do – Do you think they would be able to keep this a secret? I remain very skeptical about this part of it.

    Stacks of journal articles from all over the world point in the same direction. Cannabis Sativa is your miracle plant; especially as regards thermoplastics and advanced composite materials manufacturing.

    Take a look at some of what the Canadians are doing.


    If Schlumberger has found some different miracle plant; I am suggesting that this will be big news, and will likely drive much investment in very short order. Schlumberger will need a steady supply – and farmers will need that steady customer under multi-year contracts. – before anybody plants anything.

    Personally, I hope it isn’t hemp. I hope its something even better; but in the end, I believe that this is a secret which will be very hard to keep.

    About those Schlumberger trucks: You are probably right, those probably weren’t even their trucks. This should be an easy thing to check. Either those trucks did or did not belong to Schlumberger. I haven’t heard one way or the other, and this surprises me.

    but let me ask it this way . . Kephry, Anonymous, William, Ghost, Fracking Crazy, Barak, Sharon, Ed, anybody. Straight Up

    Which would YOU rather have: A truck like the Schlumbergers drive – or a half ton of baled-up Mexican weed?

    Yeah me too. but then, open burning is permitted here most of the year.

  11. Andy Mechling says


    As a technical matter, marijuana and hemp are the same thing. This is one species. Cannabis Sativa.

    This plant has been used to make rope, and used for food, and used for oil, and smoked, for countless hundreds of years.

    The industrial “hemp” grown in Canada is Cannabis Sativa. These strains of cannabis have been developed with minimal levels of cannibinoids, including thc; and thc levels are strictly regulated in these crops.

    But this is still cannabis sativa, every bit as much as those strains which have been developed with high levels of thc. Call it Hemp, Marijuana, Ganja, or whatever you want. This is all one herb. And it will grow just about anywhere.

    Especially coming out of Russia, there has been a great deal of recent discussion about the need to develop “non-narcotic” cannabis varieties for widespread cultivation.

    Ganja smokers take heart! however, as the research dollars for this type of endeavor may remain thin. My understanding is that, in terms of relative potential as feedstock for thermoplastics, the low-thc varieties just don’t seem to have what the chemical engineers are looking for. Good old Mexican starts to look better and better. (even if nobody wants to smoke it)

    Forget Alberta or North Dakota. If and when hemp production becomes legal in Mexico, Mexico might be expected to move into a dominant position in the hemp fiber export market, now controlled largely by the Chinese.

    Wouldn’t that be great for Mexico though? Honestly?

    • says

      Well, yeah, I know that hemp and marijuana are the same species. But I think of marijuana has having THC and of hemp as not having THC. That is the distinction that is important here. The hemp that industry may, or may not, be using for fracking would most likely be the THC free hemp and not marijuana.

      Apparently not everyone has your elitist attitude about Mexican marijuana because there seems to be quite a market for it in the US.

      Honestly, legalized hemp would be a wonderful boon to Mexico as it would to the US. Hemp is a wonderful and useful product.

  12. Andy Mechling says

    OK, but I still don’t share your assumption that, if Schlumberger is using it downhole, then somehow this must be thc free cannabis.

    The Russians have talked about the need to develop such strains; but I believe this is mostly talk so far. This technique appears to have been developed in Russia; where hemp is still hemp.

    Hemp is not less expensive to produce than ordinary cannabis; in fact, the opposite is probably true, as normal hemp production does not require genetically modified and patented seeds. Left alone, a field of hemp will seed itself. Once established, this plant can prove hard to eradicate.

    I will have to take your word for it about the continued market for Mexican marijuana. Here in Oregon, I don’t think one could give it away at this point. And it is toxic to horses; so one needs to be careful with disposal no matter what.