Praxair has announced it is offering oil and gas producers a new DryFrac™ waterless fracturing technology that can replace water use in fracturing wells through the use of liquid carbon dioxide (CO2).

The company’s patent-pending technology enables oil and gas producers to increase yield while reducing environmental impacts associated with hydraulic fracturing, such as water sourcing and water disposal.

“Our DryFrac system is a game-changer for the industry,” said Tony Wallace, vice president, Energy Services at Praxair. “Through our state-of-the-art technology and extensive carbon dioxide supply chain, we provide an alternative to water-intensive fracturing. Praxair’s innovative waterless fracturing technology is yet another example of our commitment to helping our customers be more productive and sustainable.”

Praxair’s DryFrac technology blends liquid CO2 with proppant, or special grades of sand, which is used to prop fractures open. The flexible and scalable technology can deliver large volumes and multiple grades of proppant into a formation. CO2 has long been recognized as a superior fluid for fracturing, particularly in water-sensitive or low-pressure formations. Compared to other waterless fracturing fluids such as propane, CO2 has the added benefit of being non-flammable. Additionally, Praxair can separate CO2 returned from the well, enabling faster natural gas production. Much of the CO2 being used is captured from industrial off-gas and purified. Praxair continues to develop technology to recycle and re-use CO2 for a variety of applications.