Published in the November, 2011 issue of Industrial Minerals magazine.

Bentonite, Barites, and chemicals group grows to serve oilfield & other markets

The Rasheed family group of companies in Egypt has re-branded its business under the name of RPMinerals), supplying specialty mineral and chemical products to serve a range of markets including oilfield, civil engineering, metal casting, and paper-making.

Among the recent changes is a plant expansion at wholly owned subsidiary IDIC Specialty Drilling Chemicals, at its facility in the Amreia Free Trade Zone, near Alexandria.

IDIC manufactures organophyllic bentonite and organophyllic lignite products used in oil-based drilling fluids under the trade names, BENTOIL and LIGNOIL, respectively.

IDIC also mills and packages Gilsonite, sourced from the USA, “as a contingency supplier” for the oilfield market.

Noteworthy is that after 26 years of oilfield experience, Atef Rasheed was the first to commercially develop Egyptian bentonite, initially for the oilfield market.

Since 1998, US bentonite producer Amcol International Inc. has owned 31%, 31%, and 27% interests in EMIDC, EBDC, and ENT, respectively.

These companies have plants in Borg El Arab, 65km west of Alexandria, and mines 110km south-west of Borg El Arab, which supply bentonite for a range of markets.

Combined bentonite sales in 2010 exceeded 125,000 tonnes of which 55% was exported.

Rasheed commented: “Egyptian bentonite, owing to its natural viscosity, is unique with regard to its applications in civil engineering, such as in tunneling, horizontal directional drilling, and piling projects, while its high activity and large surface area made it also unique in paper-making applications.”

The fourth joint venture company is Alexandria Mining & Petroleum Services Co. (AMCO), which sources barites from mines in southern Egypt, imports barytes, and processes the material at Borg El Arab, supplying the oilfield market.