Oilfield minerals: Extracting what lies beneath

By Emma Hughes
Published: Friday, 20 December 2013

Oilfield minerals aid the process of extracting natural oil and gas from beneath Earth’s surface. For many years, lubricants such as bentonite and weighting agents like barytes (barite) have been used in conventional drilling while others, such as frac sand and sintered bauxite and kaolin, have seen demand increase as a boom in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) took off in the US and further afield. Ahead of IM’s Oilfield Minerals Outlook: Middle East, Emma Hughes, Deputy Editor, takes a look at some of the key minerals used in this end-market.


Bentonite is an abundant, versatile mineral found in many regions of the world. Its availability and unique properties have led to this mineral becoming the second most-commonly used industrial mineral in drilling fluids - called muds - after barite. Water-based drilling mud also commonly consists of additives such as...

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