Performance Chemicals

Product Stewardship in Action

Baker Hughes is committed to the protection of human health and the environment. We directly focus on our chemical development, manufacturing process, and supply chain operations within multiple service lines. These include drilling, completion, pressure pumping, and production chemicals.

The legislation governing the manufacture and use of chemical products is continually evolving. Baker Hughes has been actively engaged as a responsible member of the oil and gas industry.

Offshore chemicals legislation

The OSPAR Harmonized Mandatory Control Scheme regulates the use and discharge of oilfield chemicals in the Northeast Atlantic. This control scheme has been applied in multiple oil production areas around the world. One key requirement restricts the discharge of muds adhered to drilled cuttings. Operators are challenged with finding a balance between achieving drilling objectives and minimizing potential environmental impact of the drilling fluid.

To address this problem, we developed high-performance, water-based mud systems, including the PERFORMAX™ high-performance water-based system and the TERRA-MAX™ fluid system. These achieve the perfect balance between superior drilling performance and environmental compliance.


Europe’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation controls which chemicals may be manufactured and imported into the European Union. It also controls where and how they may be used.

Baker Hughes began preparatory work in 2004 for the eventual finalization of the legislation, which took place in December 2007. A dedicated team of representatives from HSE, technology, supply chain, and business development functions ensures we maintain full compliance with REACH.

Preregistration of our chemical substances was completed in 2008.  Our preregistration process is described in industry technical papers.

  • SPE 141019 A Chemical Manufacturer's Experience of REACH First Phase Registration

In-house environmental testing laboratories

In early 1970, an environmental studies group with laboratory capabilities was established in St. Louis, Missouri, US. Our environmental services group has more than 80 years of cumulative experience. This encompasses environmental research and development of specialty oil and gas chemicals. The group also has extensive knowledge of global regulatory processes. Its mission has remained unchanged since its inception:

  • assist our customers to achieve compliance with environmental legislation
  • support the registration of our products worldwide
  • facilitate the development of “green” production chemicals.

During the intervening years, over 2,000 products have been tested and more than $20 million invested in environmental testing.

In December 2010, the eco-toxicological testing capabilities of the environmental services group were substantially expanded. Baker Hughes acquired the environmental test laboratory formerly operated by Eurofins Norsk Miljøanalyse AS in Stavanger, Norway. This laboratory has an international reputation for the quality of its environmental testing. It complements the services at our existing Baker Hughes facility in St. Louis.

Greener chemistry

Increasingly, legislation is driving the development of chemical products that reduce environmental impact. Baker Hughes applied fluids research and development encompasses all fundamental fluids product development. We will continue to invest in the development of environmentally responsible materials. Our environmental testing facilities will play a leadership role in the future of the company’s chemical environmental excellence program.

Products and systems

Baker Hughes has taken a leadership role in pressure pumping services addressing environmental concerns or regulatory requirements throughout the world.

  • More than 18 years ago, we developed a nondiesel-based liquid fracturing concentrate. It allows mixing of fracturing gel on-the-fly. This improves fracturing efficiency and reduces environmental risk associated with frac tank bottoms fluid disposal.
  • Within the past 10 years, Baker Hughes pressure pumping has used environmentally responsible fracturing systems compatible with produced waters. These reduce the need for freshwater in drought-stressed areas, such as Canada and the western US.
  • We offer more than 100 stimulation, coiled tubing, and cementing products that meet or exceed OSPAR’s chemical regulatory requirements. These address environmental and chemical fate and toxicity for the North Sea. Many of those products are being used worldwide in marine-related markets.
  • We have a chemical evaluation process that offers qualified hydraulic fracturing products and systems with a focus upon reducing environmental risk. The process involves assesing the potential environmental, health, and physical hazards, based on the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals.
    • SPE 135517 Quantitative Ranking Measures Oil Field Chemical Environmental Impact
    • SPE 147534 Progression Toward Implementation of Responsible Environmental Fracturing Processes

Baker Hughes continuously improves and expands our environmental excellence in chemical product research and development. This is part of our corporate environmental sustainability initiative.

Additional Resources

Case Histories