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health, safety and environment (hse)

h
s
e
section 1
your health & safety is primarily your
own responsibility
your actions will directly impact the
health & safety of others
we all have a duty to support and
promote the health and safety of
others
Introduction 2
drilling fuid engineer - roles and responsibilities 2
hazard and risk assessment 2
hazardous materials 3
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) 4
material safety data sheet msds 5
chemical wallcharts 5
mixing guidelines 5
hydrogen sulphide 6
non aqueous fuids 9
potential hazards and risks 9
miscellaneous rig hazards 11
trips and falls 11
falling objects 11
hand injuries 12
fre 12
stepback 5 x 5 12

section 1
Scomi Oiltools
2
Section
1health, safety and environment
introduction
The purpose of this section is to provide general guidelines for prudent work practices and procedures
for the use of chemicals, and to protect Drilling Fluids Engineers and Rig Personnel from the potential
health hazards of the chemicals they encounter in the workplace.
All personnel must be made aware of the guidelines. New employees should receive safety training
before beginning work with hazardous chemicals.
drilling fuid engineer - roles and responsibilities
Attend Operators/Contractors safety meetings and advise on all HSE matters pertaining to Scomi
Oiltools products. The requirement for Drilling Fluids Engineers is to not only attend, but to contribute,
to safety meetings onsite, including giving presentations about the fuids and chemicals being used.
Give toolbox / pre-tour talks on chemical safety.
Take part in risk assessments relevant to fuids, in particular for the frst use of new systems e.g. SBM /
OBM etc.,
Follow all procedures related to HSE and follow all wellsite directives issued by the operator and / or
drilling contractor.
Ensure correct and updated safety posters are in place in the mud and sack rooms or mixing areas for
land rigs.
Ensure MSDS are up to date and easy to locate.
Use engineering controls and personal protective equipment, as appropriate.
Use rig specifc HSE Observation system e.g. STOP.
hazard and risk assessment
The use of chemicals in the workplace presents hazards and risks to personnel involved in their handling
and application. In order to minimise these hazards risk assessments are performed and HSE control
measures and management systems are established to achieve the following:-
Identify hazards
Safely manage those hazards.
Identify risks
Where possible, eliminate those risks through control / engineering measures e.g. ventilation and
collection of dust.
Where not possible, manage those risks through processes including the use of PPE.
Provide training and awareness systems designed to achieve the above and promote continuous
improvement.
A health Hazard is defned as:
The potential of a chemical or substance to cause harm to the health of personnel or the environment.
A health Risk is defned as:
The likelihood that a chemical or substance will cause harm to personnel or the environment in the
actual circumstances of exposure.
RISK = Hazard x Exposure
health, safety and environment
3
hazardous materials
The efect on a person of a hazardous material depends on:
The nature of the hazardous material.
The site of the action.
The amount of the hazardous material involved (dose).
The reaction of the individual (susceptibility).
Hazardous Material Efects
Local efects:
Skin and eye irritation & burns.
Skin defatting leading to dermatitis.
Systemic efects:
Central nervous system (headaches, nausea, dizziness).
Cardiovascular system (CO poisoning).
Sensitisation (allergy) and asthma.
Teratogenic and carcinogenic.

Chemical hazardous efects may be:
Acute - efects lasting minutes, hours or days e.g. irritation i.e. generally short term recoverable efects.
Chronic - efects lasting weeks, months or years e.g. occupational asthma generally long and possibly
permanent efects.
Efects may be reversible or irreversible.
Routes of Entry to the Body
EYES
INGESTION
SKIN ADSORPTION
INHALATION
Injection
Inhalation
Ingestion
(swallowing)
Skin and eye contact
Chemical Injuries to the Skin
One of the bodys biggest organs
one major function is protection.
Composed of the outer
(epidermal) and inner (dermal)
layer.
Major protection provided by the
outer layer.
Irritant contact dermatitis -
a common skin disease which
results from direct contact with
a chemical.
Efects occur only where contact
occurs and can range from
a redness to blistering and
formation of pustules.

Layer & Structures of the Skin
(Epidermis raised
to show papillae)
E
P
I
D
E
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M
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D
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M
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S
U
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C
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T
A
N
E
O
U
S
F
A
T
T
Y

T
I
S
S
U
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Hair shaft
Cornifed layer (dead cells)
Pigment layer
Spiny (Prickle cell layer)
Germinating layer
Dermal papilla
Capillary tuft
Oil (sebum)
Sebacecous (oil) glands
Sensory nerve endings for touch
(Rufnis corpuscles)
Erector muscle for hair follicle
Hair follicle
Sweat gland
Papilla of hair follicle
Sensory nerve endings for pressure
(Pacinis corpuscles)
Fat
Blood vessels
Beck
SKIN-PROTECTION AND TOUCH
4
Section
1health, safety and environment
Burn 1
A caustic burn at the back of the ankle.
Burn 2
The same caustic burn one week later.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Hard Hat

Gloves, long rubber gloves
for handling hazardous
materials.

Eye Protection, glasses,
goggles or full face mask (as
appropriate).

Coveralls, i.e. long sleeved,
fre resistant, to cover as
much body skin as possible,
rubber apron when handling
hazardous material.

Boots recommended
rubber or treated leather.
Dust mask, particulate
flter mask, respirator (as
appropriate).
PPE should be checked before use each time and examined on a regular basis if not in regular use.
Remember PPE requires care and maintenance.
Ensure PPE being worn is in good condition and provides the desired protection !!
5
material safety data sheet msds
An assessment is made of the physical and health hazards of each chemical supplied by Scomi Oiltools.
This information is included in a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and, in part, on container labels.
Material Safety Data Sheets contain the following information:
1 Product Identifcation
2 Composition, information on ingredients
3 Hazard identifcation
4 First aid measures
5 Fire fghting measures
6 Accidental release measures
7 Handling and storage measures
8 Exposure controls, personal protection
9 Physical and chemical properties
10 Stability and reactivity
Ensure that the following practices are followed regarding MSDS information at the workplace:
Provide active up-to-date MSDS fles covering all drilling fuid chemicals on location either on CD or
paper copies. This must also include the laboratory testing chemicals.
Distribute the MSDS fles to the Wellsite Manager / OIM, Medic (or designate) and sack storage /
mixing areas.
Update the MSDS fle list whenever a new item is received.
chemical wallcharts
Display wallchart with basic safety information in key areas, laboratory, sack
room and mixing areas.
The wallchart should include short information covering immediate actions
in case of exposure of personnel or spill.

mixing guidelines
pre-job
Select the chemicals to be mixed.
Review MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets).
Review the wall charts.
Obtain appropriate tools, e.g. barrel pump.
Inspect the condition of the chemicals to be mixed.
Obtain appropriate PPE and WEAR IT.
Ensure mixing personnel have clear written instructions.
Perform a Job Hazard Analysis for any new chemicals or personnel.
mixing
Check that hopper is running and that the correct lines valves and pits have been selected.
Ensure sufcient extraction and ventilation in hopper area.
Ensure that sacks and drums are conveniently positioned and use correct lifting procedures.
Be aware of any forklift operations.
Clean up spills as soon as possible.
Close the hopper any time chemicals are not being mixed.
Promotions
Committee
Kwok Kian Hai
(Chairman)
Tan Sri Datuk Dr
Yusof Basiron
Dato Haji Sabri
Ahmad
Haji Nasrullah Khan
Er Kok Leong
Carl Bek-Nielsen
Zubir Abdul Aziz
Kwok Kian Hai
Chairman, Asia
Pacific
Chairman, Sub-
Continent
Dato Haji Sabri
Ahmad
Chairman, Africa
Zubir Abdul Aziz
Chairman, Middle
East
Haji Nasrullah Khan
Financial and
General
Affairs Committee
Mohd Zain Omar
Dato Mamat Salleh
Er Kok Leong
Tan Sri Datuk Dr
Yusof Basiron
Er Kok Leong
Carl Bek-Nielsen
Promotions
Committee
Kwok Kian Hai
(Chairman)
Tan Sri Datuk Dr
Yusof Basiron
Dato Haji Sabri
Ahmad
Haji Nasrullah Khan
Er Kok Leong
Carl Bek-Nielsen
Zubir Abdul Aziz
Kwok Kian Hai
Chairman, Asia
Pacific
Chairman, Sub-
Continent
Dato Haji Sabri
Ahmad
Chairman, Africa
Zubir Abdul Aziz
Chairman, Middle
East
Haji Nasrullah Khan
Financial and
General
Affairs Committee
Mohd Zain Omar
Dato Mamat Salleh
Er Kok Leong
Tan Sri Datuk Dr
Yusof Basiron
Er Kok Leong
Carl Bek-Nielsen
Promotions Committee
Kwok Kian Hai (Chairman)
Tan Sri Datuk Dr Yusof Basiron
Dato Haji Sabri Ahmad
Haji Nasrullah Khan
Er Kok Leong
Carl Bek-Nielsen
Zubir Abdul Aziz
Regiona l Market Committee
Kwok Kian Hai
Chairman, Asia Pacific
Chairman, Sub-Continent
Dato Haji Sabri Ahmad
Chairman, Africa
Zubir Abdul Aziz
Chairman, Middle East
Carl Bek-Nielsen
Chairman, Europe
Haji Nasrullah Khan
Financial and General
Affairs Committee
Dato Low Mong Hua
Mohd Zain Omar
Dato Mamat Salleh
Er Kok Leong
Tan Sri Datuk Dr Yusof Basiron
Dato Haji Sabri Ahmad
Haji Nasrullah Khan Neazullah
Er Kok Leong
Carl Bek-Nielsen
Promotions Committee
Kwok Kian Hai (Chairman)
Tan Sri Datuk Dr Yusof Basiron
Dato Haji Sabri Ahmad
Haji Nasrullah Khan
Er Kok Leong
Carl Bek-Nielsen
Zubir Abdul Aziz
Regiona l Market Committee
Kwok Kian Hai
Chairman, Asia Pacific
Chairman, Sub-Continent
Dato Haji Sabri Ahmad
Chairman, Africa
Zubir Abdul Aziz
Chairman, Middle East
Carl Bek-Nielsen
Chairman, Europe
Haji Nasrullah Khan
Financial and General
Affairs Committee
Dato Low Mong Hua
Mohd Zain Omar
Dato Mamat Salleh
Er Kok Leong
Tan Sri Datuk Dr Yusof Basiron
Dato Haji Sabri Ahmad
Haji Nasrullah Khan Neazullah
Er Kok Leong
Carl Bek-Nielsen
6
Section
1health, safety and environment
cleaning up
Inform derrickman, pump man or supervisor that job is complete.
Clean up mixing area.
Dispose correctly of empty sacks, drums and pallet waste, e.g. banding, wood & plastic wrapping in
the correct manner.
Ensure forklift is parked in designated area with forks lowered.
housekeeping rules for drilling fuids
Immediately clean-up all chemical spills, dry or liquid.
Immediately clean-up all drilling fuid spills.
Have a dedicated storage area for hazardous chemicals this may require a bunded area to prevent
leakage of any liquid spillage.
Ensure that pallets are labelled on all four sides and the top to allow easy and correct identifcation
of chemicals.
Maintain fume and dust extraction equipment over mixing hoppers, shale shakers and mud pit area.
Ensure adequate supply of masks for dust protection.
Provide particulate flters and respirators as necessary.
Rotate personnel working in high risk areas to minimise exposure.
hydrogen sulphide
Hydrogen Sulphide (H
2
S) hydrogen sulphide
is highly poisonous as well as corrosive. Small
concentrations in air may be fatal in minutes.
Hydrogen sulphide (H
2
S) is a colourless poisonous gas that smells like rotten eggs. Often referred
to as sewer gas it occurs naturally in the earth in crude petroleum, natural gas reservoirs, volcanic
gases and hot springs. As well as being found downhole in sour gas reservoirs hydrogen sulphide can
be produced by the action of sulphur reducing bacteria and the break down of a number of products
anerobically, particularly in fuids left behind casing.
It can be detected by smell at concentrations ranging from as low as 0.01 - 0.3 parts per million
(ppm). However, relying solely on its odour is dangerous because at concentrations above 100 ppm it
deadens a persons sense of smell within a few minutes. The pure gas is heavier than air and can collect
in low areas on rigs such as pits, storage areas and accommodation units.
The presence of hydrogen sulphide in a drilling fuid, [if not treated with caution], can be lethal to
personnel, apart from the corrosive impact of even low concentrations on the drilling fuid and rig
equipment.
Shortterm (acute) exposure to hydrogen sulphide can cause irritation to the nose, throat, eyes and
lungs and exposure to higher concentrations can cause very serious health efects, and even death as
detailed in Table 1.
7
proactive actions for the mud engineer
On wells where there is a high likelihood of encountering hydrogen sulphide it is recommended that
beards are shaved. This is to ensure that breathing sets are sealed tightly against the face.
It is imperative that all personnel be aware of the hydrogen sulphide alarm, as well as the designated
safe area to evacuate to. It must be stressed that the safe area, unless in a positive pressure environment,
must be upwind at a higher elevation than the gas source.
Even on wells that are unlikely to have hydrogen sulphide it is recommended that a contingency stock of
sulphide scavengers is kept at the rig site.
When the presence of H
2
S is suspected the mud engineer is asked to confrm the presence and
concentration of the gas. Never ever enter an area where any acid gas is suspected unless specifcally
trained and wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment.
During displacements if the mud engineer has to be at the fow line ensure that there are at least two
means of gas detection and available PPE as well as being aware of the nearest escape route.
frst aid
Immediately remove the victim from further exposure. Designated rescuers must wear properly
ftting, positive pressure self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and other required safety
equipment appropriate to the work site.
If the worker is not breathing, apply cardio-pulmonary resuscitation in the nearest safe area.
Remove contaminated clothing, but keep the individual warm. Keep conscious individuals at rest.
Be aware of possible accompanying injuries (e.g. the victim may have fallen when they were overcome)
and treat them accordingly.
If the victims eyes are red and painful, fush with large amounts of clean water for at least 15 minutes.
Ensure the worker receives medical care as soon as possible. The worker must not be allowed to return
to work or other activities.
h
2
s tests
On rigs where H
2
S is expected, there are fxed hydrogen sulphide detectors placed in strategic locations,
shale shakers, pit room, rig foor and fow-line. In addition portable detectors should be available and are
to be used when entering enclosed spaces or as personal monitors when contamination is suspected.

There are 2 common tests for H
2
S in drilling fuids, a qualitative test and a quantitative test. The
qualitative test should only be used as a quick method to confrm the presence of H
2
S in the mud. In
order to efectively treat and remove sulphides it is essential to perform the qualitative test, Garret Gas
Train, and determine the concentration in the system.
Concentration Health effect
(ppm)
0.01 - 0.3 Odour threshold
1 - 20 Offensive odour, possible nausea, tearing of the eyes or headaches with prolonged
exposure
20 - 50 Nose, throat and lung irritation; digestive upset and loss of appetite; sense of smell starts
to become fatigued; acute conjunctivitis may occur (pain, tearing and light sensitivity)
100 - 200 Severe nose, throat and lung irritation; ability to smell odour completely disappears.
250 - 500 Pulmonary oedema (build up of uid in the lungs)
500 Severe lung irritation, excitement, headache, dizziness, staggering, sudden collapse
(knockdown), unconsciousness and death within a few hours, loss of memory for the
period of exposure
500 -1000 Respiratory paralysis, irregular heart beat collapse and death without rescue.
>1000 Rapid collapse and death
Table 1. Hydrogen sulphide toxicity to man
8
Section
1health, safety and environment
qualitative test
Lead acetate (Hach test): An alka-seltzer tablet drives hydrogen sulphide gas from solution and the
hydrogen sulphide reacts with lead acetate soaked in a flter paper. The degree of colour change is a
measure of hydrogen sulphide concentration in the mud.
quantitative test
The Garrett Gas train is an instrument used for quantitative analyses of sulphides and carbonates.
Specifc test methods have been published by API. The oil-mud procedure analyzes active sulphides
and uses whole mud samples, whereas the water-base mud procedure tests fltrate.
The Garrett Gas Train method for sulphides is detailed in Section 3, mud testing procedures for both
WBM and NAF.
drilling fuid treatment
A common feld approach is to neutralise H
2
S by the addition of caustic soda and or lime. At pH 12 and
above the sulphides are soluble and the H
2
S is dissociated.
H
2
S + H
2
0H
+
+ HS
-
2H
+
+ S
=
This reaction is reversible and as the pH drops the hydrogen and the sulphide re-associate and H
2
S
may be released from mud.
Ionic Distribution of H
2
S with pH
0.0001
0.001
0.01
0.1
1
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
pH
HS
-
H
2
S S
-
F
r
a
c
t
i
o
n
This treatment is only recommended to treat very minor amounts of H
2
S such as that associated with
pore space gas. It does not remove the H
2
S from the drilling fuid. This treatment will only sequester
the H
2
S. Continued exposure of the liquid to H
2
S will reduce the pH of the system and will eventually
begin to release the gaseous H
2
S once the pH has fallen below pH 7.
In order to efectively deal with an infux of H
2
S it is essential to use a sulphide scavenger which is
an additive that reacts with sulphides to convert them to an inert form e.g. zinc sulphide and is an
irreversible reaction.
Zinc or iron compounds are the products of choice e.g. Zinc Carbonate and Zinc Oxide.
It is estimated that 0.002 lb/bbl (0.0057 kg/m
3
) of Zinc Carbonate will precipitate 1 mg/ l of sulphide.
Zinc carbonate is used primarily in water based muds but caution must be taken as continuous
treatments may produce undesirable zinc or carbonate concentrations which can adversely efect
drilling fuid rheology and fuid loss.
Zinc oxide is primarily used in NAF (Non Aqueous Fluids) but may also be used in water based systems.
9
zinc carbonate
2ZnCO
3
+ 3Zn(OH)
2
+ 5H
2
S = 5ZnS + 2CO
2
+ 8H
2
0
zinc oxide (contains more zinc than zinc carbonate)
H
2
S + ZnO ZnS + H
2
O.
It should be noted that there may be environmental restrictions preventing the use of zinc based
H
2
S scavengers. If this is the case alternative iron based treatments should be used.
pre-treatment
To ensure a high level of protection against H
2
S infuxes, zinc oxide should be added to the active
mud system before drilling out the last casing shoe above a potentially H
2
S bearing zone. Add slowly
and evenly through the hopper to achieve good distribution and any new volume mixed or added
should be similarly treated.
Note that pre-treatment might mask small infuxes as they react with the zinc oxide in the system and
detection may not occur until all the zinc has reacted.
Hydrogen sulphide treatment of drilling fuids, along with proper pH control, should be used to reduce
the amount of hydrogen sulphide that is recirculated. Caution is needed when handling drilling fuid
that has been exposed to hydrogen sulphide because hydrogen sulphide can move from the liquid into
the vapour space of the storage tank and will be released when the tank is opened.
non aqueous fuids
Invert emulsion muds (Non Aqueous Fluids) are generally a brine water phase emulsifed in a hydrocarbon
base fuid along with other chemicals to provide a stable drilling fuid with the required drilling
properties.
The components and properties of these fuids are detailed in section 8, NAF Fundamentals.
From an HSE perspective these fuids present signifcantly more challenges in their use as the impacts
of personnel exposure and environmental discharge are greater than with the majority of water base
systems.
potential hazards and risks
Personnel may come into direct or indirect contact these fuids in the following areas on the rig:
The drill foor.
The mud pit area and the mud pump room.
The sack room and mixing area.
The shale shaker and solids process area.
The laundry.
It is imperative that any exposure is dealt with immediately and personnel do not continue to
work with wet clothing as this can lead to long term health issues.
The following exposure efects may occur.
eye / skin contact
Due to the higher salinity and oil content of invert systems, irritation to both the skin and eyes can
occur if they come into contact with the fuids.
Calcium chloride accentuates the tendency to irritate by removing the natural oils in the skin and
weakening the skins tolerance to other components in the NAF such as the base fuids. Untreated
exposure may lead to dermatitis and or eczema.
10
Section
1health, safety and environment
Use barrier creams to reduce this efect and if skin becomes dry use a good lanolin based moisturising
cream to replenish removed natural oils.
dust, mist & vapour inhalation
Rig personnel may inhale dust, vapours or mists which are at their highest concentration in the shaker
house, pit room and mixing area. Vapours are generally generated by higher temperatures driving of
water vapour which will contain some of the organic components in the system. Mists are normally
generated when using pressure wash down equipment.
Dust is generated when powders become released into air. During the mixing of sacked and bulk
powders, dust will be generated. Ensure that there is adequate ventilation and extraction available at
the mixing hopper.
All fowlines / mud ditches should be fully enclosed. Shale Shakers and solids control equipment should
be enclosed in extraction hoods to contain and remove mists and vapours.
Areas where vapours or mists are generated must be well ventilated and personnel should minimise
their exposure time in these areas, and be rotated if there is a need to spend extensive periods working
on equipment such as shale shakers whilst drilling.
slippery foors
OBM / SBM fuids are usually lubricious and any spillage will produce a very slippery surface creating a
signifcant safety hazard to personnel. All spills must be cleaned up immediately.
Minor spills should be squeegeed or mopped up or covered with an absorbent material such as
sawdust, barite or dedicated spill absorbency materials which should be disposed of correctly. NB.
Barite used to adsorb spills can be recycled into the mud system.
Larger spills should be vacuumed with a diaphragm pump or dedicated vacuum system.
noise
Loud and continuous noises will gradually degrade hearing. When in high noise environments such as
the Shakers, Pump Room and Rig foor ensure that hearing protection is used.
laundry
One of the main sources of skin problems is incorrect laundering. OBM and SBM are difcult to clean
from clothing.
It is recommended that a dedicated washing machine is used to wash coveralls, slicker suits, gloves
etc. separately from personal clothing, Detergent specifcally manufactured for cleaning oily clothing
should be used. If possible a pre-wash then wash cycle should be introduced in the washing
programme to ensure maximum cleanliness of all clothing worn close to the skin. Incorrectly washed
clothes may cause skin irritation.
ppe
It is recommend that PPE as specifed elsewhere in this section is used at all times and in particular
the following points are noted:-
Coveralls should cover as much skin as possible with full length sleeves which can be sealed at the
wrist. Coveralls should be made from fame resistant materials.
All buttons or zips should remain closed when exposed to chemicals.
Gloves and footwear should overlap where the coveralls end.
Use barrier creams in those areas that cannot be covered by some form of PPE. These areas include
portions of the face, neck and arms where one piece of PPE may not meet another. A barrier cream
for protection against Organic / Water emulsions is recommended.
11
immediate frst aid
In the event of personnel becoming exposed to any chemical and the chemical is known then refer to
the MSDS or Wallchart for the appropriate action to be taken. If the chemical is not known then the
following general frst aid measures apply.
EYE Immediately food the eye with water for at least 15 minutes while holding the eye
open. Then obtain medical attention.
INHALED Remove from exposure, keep warm and at rest. If breathing difculty develops,
ensure airways are clear and give Oxygen through a face mask. If breathing has stopped
apply artifcial respiration immediately. Seek urgent medical assistance.
SKIN Remove contaminated clothing. Remove any mud with medicated degreaser, then
wash with soap and water. Obtain medical attention if irritation develops.
SWALLOWED Wash out the mouth. Give water to drink, DO NOT INDUCE VOMMITING unless
specifcally recommended in the MSDS. Obtain medical attention.
If any medical condition, however minor, occurs seek medical attention immediately.
All incidents and unsafe conditions must be reported to the rig medic and / or rig
safety representative.
miscellaneous rig hazards
Most engineers work at the rig site of the clients, it is imperative that they follow the clients HSE
requirements and systems. The engineers should be aware of the rig safety systems including the alarms
and emergency responses.
The engineer must actively participate in any and all preventative systems. All accidents and or near
miss incidents should be reported through the STOP card or equivalent systems.
Engineers work for a number of diferent clients and are a crucial element in the transfer of HSE
experience between operators.
A number of rig specifc risks exist some are detailed below:
trips and falls
There are numerous trip hazards on a rig site. In order to prevent tripping good house keeping is
essential. The following actions are suggested
Ensure that waste material is tidied away as soon as possible.
When rigging up temporary hoses ensure that they are clearly sign posted.
The most common tripping occurrence is while climbing stairs. Ensure that while climbing stairs at
least one hand is on the rails.
Ensure that guard rails around tanks are in place and in good condition.
Ensure that tops of pits are covered an if opened they are barriered of with clear signs.
Obey all rig-site signs and barriers.
Never work at heights without appropriate training and equipment.
falling objects
Mud Engineers rarely work at heights but on occasion due the rig layout it may prove necessary e.g.
during displacements the fow line may be at height. However if working at heights do not work
without an approved platform and wear inertia protection.
While at a rig site be aware that other personnel may be working atheights and using hand held tools
which can fall and cause severe injuries. Always be conscious of the need to identify and avoid such
potential hazards. Also note that cranes may be shifting loads overhead; never stand or walk under a
load.
12
Section
1health, safety and environment
hand injuries
Hand injuries are the most common injuries on rigs. Always be aware of potential squeeze points and
assess all activities carefully before commencing the work.
fre
The mud engineer should be aware of the specifc fre fghting systems of the rig, location of the muster
points and evacuation procedures.
Ensure that all heating and electrical equipment in the mud lab is in good condition and can be
operated in a safe manner. Ensure that the lab has two exits and is equipped with an appropriate fre
extinguisher.
Ensure that materials are stored as per MSDS instructions to minimise the danger of fre and that the
required fre fghting equipment available and operational. Not only is fre lethal, but it may generate
toxic smoke from drilling fuid products.
If a fre is found raise the alarm, and only attempt to fght the fre with the available fre fghting equip-
ment, if you have been trained in its use and as long as this will not result in personal injury.
stepback 5 x 5
Before you start any job take 5 steps back from the work area and invest a few minutes to step through
the work in your mind.
Before the Job:
Stop and think.
Observe the work area and surroundings.
Think through the steps of what you will be doing.
Identify what is happening today in your area.
Identify any hazards.
Develop methods for eliminating and controlling these hazards.
Satisfy yourself that the hazards are controlled before starting the job.
During the Job:
Do you feel safe doing the job?
Are others around you working safely?
Repeat the steps above if you encounter an unexpected problem.
After the job:
Observe the work area.
Take action to control any hazards that may have been created because of the job.
Refect on the job performed.
Can any improvements be made?
Discuss these improvements at tour and safety meetings.
STOP AND THINK BEFORE YOU ACT
drilling fuid functions
f
u
n
c
t
i
o
n
s
section 2
Introduction 2
primary functions 2
control formation pressure 2
transport cuttings 3
maintain stable wellbore 4
secondary functions 10
support weight of tubulars 10
cool and lubricate bit and drill string 10
transmit hydraulic horsepower to bit 10
provide medium for wireline logging 10
assist in formation evaluation 10
section 2
Scomi Oiltools
2
Section
2drilling fuid functions
introduction
The objective of a drilling operation is to drill, evaluate and complete a well that will produce oil and/or
gas efciently. Drilling uids perform numerous essential functions that help make this possible.
A properly designed drilling uid will enable an operator to reach the desired geological objective
at the lowest overall cost. A uid should enhance penetration rates, reduce hole problems and
minimise formation damage.
Removing cuttings from the well, maintaining wellbore stability and controlling formation pressures
are of primary importance on every well. Though the order of importance is determined by well design,
conditions and current operations, the most common drilling uid functions are:
1 Transport cuttings from the well
2 Control formation pressures
3 Maintain stable wellbore
4 Seal permeable formations
5 Suspend cuttings downhole and release them on surface
6 Minimise reservoir damage
7 Cool, lubricate, and support the bit and drilling assembly
8 Transmit hydraulic energy to tools and bit
9 Ensure good data recovery
10 Control corrosion
11 Facilitate cementing and completion
12 Minimise HSE risk
primary functions
Drilling uids are designed and formulated to perform three prime functions:
Control Formation Pressure
Transport Cuttings
Maintain Stable Wellbore
control formation pressure
A drilling uid controls the subsurface pressure by its hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure is
the force exerted by a uid column and depends on the mud density and true vertical depth (TVD).
Borehole instability is a natural result of the unequal mechanical stresses and physico-chemical
interactions and pressures created when surfaces are exposed in the process of drilling a well. The
drilling uid must overcome both the tendency for the hole to collapse from mechanical failure
and/or from chemical interaction of the formation with the drilling uid.
Normal formation pressures vary from a pressure gradient of 0.433 psi/ft (9.79 kPa/m) (equivalent
to 8.33 lb/gal or SG 0.99 freshwater) in inland areas to 0.465 psi/ft (10.51 kPa/m) (equivalent to
8.95 lb/gal or SG 1.07) in marine basins. Elevation, location, and various geological processes and
histories create conditions where formation pressures depart considerably from these normal values.
The density of drilling uid may range from that of air (essentially 0 psi/ft or 0 kPa/m), to in excess
of 20.0 lb/gal (1.04 psi/ft) or SG 2.40 (23.51 kPa/m).
drilling fuid functions
3
In most drilling areas, a fresh water uid which includes the solids incorporated into the water from
drilling subsurface formations is sufcient to balance formation pressures. However, abnormally
pressured formations may be encountered requiring higher density drilling uids to control the
formation pressures. Failure to control downhole pressures may result in an inux of formation uids,
resulting in a kick, or blowout.
Hydrostatic pressure also controls stresses adjacent to the wellbore other than those exerted by
formation uids. In geologically active regions, tectonic forces impose stresses in formations and may
make wellbores unstable even when formation uid pressure is balanced. Wellbores in tectonically
stressed formations can be stabilised by balancing these stresses with hydrostatic pressure. Similarly,
the orientation of the wellbore in high-angle and horizontal intervals can cause decreased wellbore
stability, which can also be controlled with hydrostatic pressure.
transport cuttings
As drilled cuttings are generated by the bit, they must be removed from the wellbore. To do so,
drilling uid is circulated down the drillstring and through the bit, transporting the cuttings up the
annulus to the surface. Cuttings removal is a function of cuttings size, shape and density combined
with Rate of Penetration (ROP), drillstring rotation, plus the viscosity, density and annular velocity of
the drilling uid.
Cleaning the hole is an essential function of the mud. This function is also the most abused and
misinterpreted. The drill solids generally have a specic gravity of 2.3 - 3.0 SG; an average of 2.5 will
normally be assumed. When these solids are heavier than the mud being used to drill the hole, they
slip downward through the mud.
The rate at which a cutting settles in a uid is called the slip velocity. The slip velocity of a cutting
is a function of its density, size and shape, plus the viscosity, density and velocity of the drilling uid.
If the annular velocity of the drilling uid is greater than the slip velocity of the cutting, the cutting will
be transported to the surface
While the uid is in laminar ow, the slip velocity of cuttings is affected directly by the viscosity or
shear characteristics of the mud. Thus, when the annular mud velocity is limited by pump volume or
enlarged hole sections, it often is necessary to viscosify the mud to reduce the slip velocity of the
formation cuttings to keep the hole clean.
Sometimes the decision to increase the lifting capacity of the mud is complicated by the fact
that any viscosifying of the mud may adversely affect other drilling conditions. For example, if the
mud is viscosied, circulating pressure losses increase and the danger of lost circulation increases.
Small batches of viscous mud can be used to lift cuttings and to minimise the requirement for
viscosifying all of the mud.
Fluid owing from the bit nozzles exerts a jetting action to clear cuttings from the bottom of the hole
and the bit, and carries these cuttings to the surface. Several factors inuence cuttings transport.
If the cuttings generated at the bit face are not immediately removed and carried towards the surface,
they will be ground very ne, stick to the bit and retard effective penetration.
Velocity - Increasing annular velocity generally improves cuttings transport. Variables include pump
output, borehole size and drill string size.
Density - Increasing mud density increases the carrying capacity through the buoyant effect on
cuttings.
4
Section
2drilling fuid functions
Viscosity - Increasing viscosity often improves cuttings removal.
Pipe Rotation - Rotation tends to throw cuttings into areas of high uid velocity from low velocity
areas next to the borehole wall and drill string.
Hole Angle - Increasing hole angle generally makes cuttings transportation more difcult.
Drilling uids must have the capacity to suspend weight materials and drilled solids during
connections, bit trips, and logging runs. Otherwise they will settle to the low side or bottom of the
hole. Failure to suspend weight materials can result in a reduction in the drilling uid density, which
in turn can lead to kicks and a potential blowout.
The drilling uid must also be capable of transporting cuttings out of the hole at a reasonable
velocity that minimises their disintegration and incorporation as a ne solid into the drilling uid
system. At the surface, the drilling uid must release the cuttings for efcient removal. Failure to
adequately clean the hole or suspend drilled solids are contributing factors to hole problems such as
ll on bottom after a trip, hole pack-off, lost returns, differentially stuck pipe, and inability to reach
bottom with logging tools.
maintain stable wellbore
Wellbore instability during drilling causes
Packoffs
Excessive trip and reaming time
Mud losses
Stuck pipe & BHAs
Loss of equipment Sidetracks
Inability to land casing
Poor logging and cementing conditions
There are 3 stresses acting on the formation
s
v
Vertical Stress Weight of rock and water above
s
H
Maximum Horizontal Stress Regional Stress
s
h
Minimum Horizontal Stress Regional Stress

Overburden
stress
Maximum
horizontal
stress
Manimum
horizontal
stress
5
The following diagram illustrates how the earth stresses adapt to the borehole as mud pressure
substitutes for the load bearing capacity of the drilled rock
Earth stresses Borehole stresses
S
V
S
H
Sh
S
r
S
o
S
o
Wellbore failure problems can be categorised in two groups;
Tensile failure: where the well pressure is too high for the wellbore at a given trajectory, losses occur
through opening pre-existing natural fractures and initiation of new (induced) fractures occurs if the
well pressure exceeds the fracture gradient e.g. when mud weight overcomes borehole stresses and
rock strength.
Compressive failure: when the well pressure is too low for a particular well trajectory, wellbore
stress builds up and the wellbore wall tries to contract and close. This can occur at high or low mud
weights. The mode of failure depends on mechanical properties of the rock, varying from creep
closure in weak and soft ductile formations like salt to while in competent and brittle rocks, this leads to
cavings and overgauge holes, when the cavings fall into the wellbore.
These generalised failure types are illustrated below and overleaf

Tensile failure
Circulation lost
through
induced fractures
Mud pressure
6
Section
2drilling fuid functions
Compressional failure
Elastic formations such as
sandstones and shales
Hole enlargement
through
breakouts
Hole reduction
Ductile formations
such as salt
OVERGAUGE HOLE
Breakout
OVERGAUGE HOLE
Washout
S
h
a
le
(B
rittle
)
HOLE CLOSURE
Creep
LOST CIRCULATION
Induced fractures
L
im
e
s
t
o
n
e
S
a
n
d
s
t
o
n
e
S
a
lt
F
r
ia
b
le
s
a
n
d
s
to
n
e
/ s
a
n
d
S
h
a
le
/ m
u
d
sto
n
e
7
The following diagram illustrates the safe mud weight window for trouble-free drilling in a conventionally
stressed earth in which
V
>
H

h
. The blue curves show the compressional failure limits while the
red curve shows the tensile fracture limit. The window narrows as well deviation increases
2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
80
60
40
20
0
B
o
r
e
h
o
l
e

d
e
v
i
a
t
i
o
n
,
d
e
g
r
e
e
Safe window
Tensile failure
Compressional
failure
Mud weight, lbm/gal (SG)
(0.24) (0.48) (0.72) (0.96) (1.20) (1.45) (1.69) (1.93) (2.17) (2.4)
When we drill the wellbore we replace a cylinder of rock with a cylinder of mud. The rst critical
step towards designing a drilling uid is to establish the mud weight required to provide the correct
level of bore hole pressure support.
Borehole Pressure Support
Pore pressure prediction involves the full cooperation of several different engineering disciplines,
i.e. Petrophysical, Geology, Reservoir & Geomechanics.
It is crucial that rigorous seismic and / or geological well data interpretation is done to determine the
anticipated pore pressure regimes in order to identify any pressure reversals and therefore facilitate
appropriate casing design.
Mud weight planning is based on the predicted pore pressure gradient plus, typically, 200 to 500 psi
(1379 3449 kPa).
It is crucial that the drilling engineers thoroughly review all available offset well data with a special
emphasis on procuring offset leak off and / or F.I.T. test data.
One of the key elements to successfully drilling a stable, near gauge wellbore depends upon planning
the correct mud weight.
Maintaining Borehole Support
Wellbore stability is a complex balance of mechanical (pressure and stress) and chemical factors.
The chemical composition and mud properties must combine to provide a stable wellbore until
casing can be run and cemented. Regardless of the chemical composition of the uid and other
factors, the weight of the mud must be within the necessary range to balance the mechanical forces
acting on the wellbore (formation pressure, wellbore stresses related to orientation and tectonics).
Wellbore instability is most often identied by a sloughing formation, which causes tight hole
conditions, bridges and ll on trips.
Fluid hydrostatic pressure acts as a conning force on the wellbore. This conning force acting across
a lter cake will assist in physically stabilising a formation.
8
Section
2drilling fuid functions
STABLE WINDOW
+/- 200 psi (1379 kPa)
to 500 psi (3449 kPa)
overbalance
Fracture gradient Pore pressure gradient
Wellbore stability is greatest when the hole maintains its original size and cylindrical shape. Once
the hole is eroded or enlarged in any way, it becomes weaker and more difcult to stabilise. Hole
enlargement leads to a number of problems, including low annular velocity, poor hole cleaning,
increased solids loading, ll, increased treating costs, poor formation evaluation, higher cementing
costs and inadequate cementing.
Borehole stability is also maintained or enhanced by controlling the loss of ltrate to permeable
formations and by careful control of the chemical composition of the drilling uid. Most permeable
formations have pore space openings too small to allow the passage of whole mud into the formation;
however, ltrate from the drilling uid can enter the pore spaces. The rate at which the ltrate enters
the formation is dependent on the pressure differential between the formation and the column of
drilling uid, and the quality of the lter cake deposited on the formation face.
Large volumes of drilling uid ltrate, and ltrates that are incompatible with the formation or
formation uids, may de-stabilise the formation through hydration of shale and/or chemical interactions
between components of the drilling uid and the wellbore. Drilling uids, which produce low quality
or thick lter cakes, may also cause tight hole conditions including stuck pipe, difculty in running
casing and poor cement jobs.
Chemical wellbore instability is due to chemical interaction between the formation being drilled
and the drilling uid. This occurs primarily in shales and salt formations. In both cases, it is an
interaction with water that causes instability. Thus, chemical instability is always minimised by using
oil-base muds.
In shales, if the mud weight is sufcient to balance formation stresses, wells are usually stable - at rst.
With water-base muds, chemical differences cause interactions between the drilling uid and shale,
and these can lead (over time) to swelling or softening. This causes other problems, such as sloughing
and tight hole conditions. Highly fractured, dry, brittle shales, with high dip angles, can be extremely
unstable when drilled. The failure of these dry, brittle formations is mostly mechanical and not normally
related to water or chemical forces.
When shales react with water, they can soften, disperse, swell, and crack. These effects can cause a wide
range of operational problems, as shown in the table below.
Stable Mud Weight Window
9
Shale Type
Soft
(shallow)
Firm
(deeper)
Hard
(deep)
Brittle
(very deep)
Typical Hole Problems
Tight hole due to swelling
Hole enlargement due to washout
Ledges if interbedded with sandstones
Bit balling, mud rings, blocked owlines
Tight hole due to swelling
Possible washout
Prone to bit balling
Occasional cavings
Cavings
Cuttings beds causing packing off
Tight hole in stressed formations
Possible stuck pipe
Cavings
Hole collapse
Table 1
MBT*
(meq/100g)
20-40
10-20
3-10
0-3
Clay Types
smectite
+ illite
illite + mixed
layer
illite + poss.
smectite
illite kaolinite
chlorite
* MBT = methylene blue test - a measure of cation exchange capacity; high MBT equates to smectite
rich shale.
Various chemical inhibitors or additives can be added to help control mud/shale interactions.
Systems with high levels of calcium, potassium or other chemical inhibitors are best for drilling into
water-sensitive formations. Salts, polymers, asphaltic materials, glycols, oils, surfactants and other shale
inhibitors can be used in water-base drilling uids to inhibit shale swelling and prevent sloughing.
Shale exhibits such a wide range of composition and sensitivity that no single additive is universally
applicable.
Oil or synthetic-base drilling uids are often used to drill the most water sensitive shales in areas
with difcult drilling conditions. These uids provide better shale inhibition than water-base drilling
uids. Clays and shales do not hydrate or swell in the continuous oil phase, and additional inhibition
is provided by the emulsied brine phase (usually calcium chloride) of these uids. The emulsied
brine reduces the water activity and creates osmotic forces that prevent adsorption of water by the
shales.
In salt formations, chemical instability occurs if the formation is soluble in water. Using an incorrectly
formulated uid will lead to uncontrollable washouts in these formations. Formation types which
exhibit this behaviour are:
Halite (NaCl)
Carnallite (KMgCl
3
.6H
2
O)
Bischote (MgCl
2
.6H
2
O)
Sylvite (KCl)
Polyhalite (K
2
Ca
2
Mg(SO
4
)
4
.2H
2
O)
Salt beds are usually drilled using salt saturated water phase uids, the salt selected is usually the same
as the salt being drilled.
10
Section
2drilling fuid functions
secondary functions
Secondary functions of a drilling uid include:
Support weight of tubulars
Cool and lubricate the bit and drill string
Transmit hydraulic horsepower to bit
Provide medium for wireline logging
Assist in the gathering of subsurface geological data and formation evaluation
support weight of tubulars
Drilling uid buoyancy supports part of the weight of the drill string or casing. The buoyancy factor
is used to relate the density of the mud displaced to the density of the material in the tubulars;
therefore, any increase in mud density results in an increase in buoyancy.
cool and lubricate bit and drill string
Considerable heat and friction is generated at the bit and between the drill string and wellbore
during drilling operations. Contact between the drill string and wellbore can also create considerable
torque during rotation, and drag during trips. Circulating drilling uid transports heat away from these
frictional sites, reducing the chance of pre-mature bit failure and pipe damage.
The drilling uid also lubricates the bit tooth penetration through rock and serves as a lubricant between
the wellbore and drill string thus reducing torque and drag.
An additional source of heat is derived from the increasing thermal energy stored in formations with
depth, geothermal gradient. The circulating uid not only serves as a lubricant helping to reduce the
friction between the drilling components in contact with the formation, but also helps conduct heat
away from the friction points and formation.
transmit hydraulic horsepower to bit
Hydraulic horsepower generated at the bit is the result of ow volume and pressure drop through the
bit nozzles. This energy is converted into mechanical energy which removes cuttings from the bottom
of the hole and improves the rate of penetration.
provide medium for wireline logging
Air/gas-based, water-based, and oil-based uids have differing physical characteristics which inuence
log suite selection. Log response may be enhanced through selection of specic uids and conversely,
use of a given uid may eliminate a log from use. Drilling uids must be evaluated to assure compatibility
with the logging program.
assist in formation evaluation
The gathering and interpretation of sub-surface geological data from drilled cuttings, cores and
electrical logs is used to determine the commercial value of the zones penetrated. Invasion of these
zones by the uid or its ltrate, whether it is oil or water, may mask or interfere with the interpretation
of the data retrieved and/or prevent full commercial recovery of hydrocarbon.
mud testing procedures
t
e
s
t
i
n
g
section 3
section 3a - wbm testing procedures
section
section 3b - naf testing procedures
health, safety and environment
Mud Engineers will be responsible for ensuring that all mud testing activities are carried out in a safe
and responsible manner, especially those involving high pressures, high temperatures and dangerous
chemicals. Be aware of the hazards and ensure that all risks are well managed.
Mud Engineers will be responsible for ensuring that all hazardous testing chemicals are correctly
labelled, and safely stored and handled. They will also ensure that testing chemicals sent of the rig are
correctly packaged and labelled.
MSDS sheets for all the mud testing chemicals should be available in the mud lab. Copies should also be
distributed to the Medic, client representative and the contractor representative.
Empty bottles of testing chemicals should be thoroughly fushed out with water and then returned to
the Mud Company for re-cycling or disposal.
A Hazchem poster should be posted in the lab, detailing all the mud testing chemicals:
Product Name
Colour Code
UN Code
First Aid Treatment
Fire Fighting Media
Action for Spillage
Personal Protection Recommended
It is recommended to have a pair of oven gloves available for handling hot testing equipment, eg. retort
and HTHP.
Safety glasses are mandatory when conducting any mud test. This will help protect the eyes from
broken glass, or being splashed with chemicals, mud or mud fltrate.
Pipette flling devices are recommended for titrating, as they will prevent any dangerous chemicals
being swallowed.
Mud engineers should ensure that the mud lab has an adequate method of extracting fumes from
chemicals or retorts. Either a strong extractor or a fume cupboard is recommended. If fume extraction is not
adequate then recommendations for its improvement should be submitted to the client representative.
If the mud lab is sited in a designated hazardous area the mud engineers should ensure that the mud
lab is suitably pressurised. If pressurisation is inadequate then recommendations for its improvement
should be submitted to the client representative.
An adequate number of power points of the correct voltage should be available in the mud lab.
Power points that have too many appliances running of them are a common source of fre. If there are
not enough power points often a request to the rig electrician can resolve the matter. If that is not
successful then the client representative should be consulted.
Any base oil, or synthetic or ester based mud samples that are used for testing should be kept and
disposed of in the active mud system. It should not be fushed down the sink.
If practical, the surfactant mixtures that have already been used for testing non water base muds should
be kept in a suitable container and later sent to shore for appropriate disposal.
Surgical gloves should be available for handling dangerous testing chemicals or non water base fuids.
mud testing procedures
Section
3
Section
3mud testing procedures
good laboratory practices
Regularly calibrate mud balances, pH, electrical stability and K+ meters.
Ensure that all testing equipment is kept clean, working properly and that spare parts are available.
This is particularly important in reference to O rings, batteries, gaskets, pressure regulators, HTHP
valves, and meter probes.
For critical instruments like the 6 speed Viscometer, it is necessary to have a back up 6 speed Viscometer,
or handcrank available.
All bottles of titrating chemicals must have a manufactured date on them. The date will indicate
whether the chemical is still fresh enough to return accurate results. Ensure that a good supply of
fresh testing chemicals is available. If there is any uncertainty about the accuracy and/or age of a
particular chemical compare results obtained using a fresh sample of the same chemical. Ensure, where
applicable, that all testing chemicals, including Drger tubes and stick chemical testers, eg. nitrates and
sulphites are within their use by date.
Always use a dedicated, labelled pipette for each testing chemical. This prevents cross contamination
of testing chemicals and erroneous test results.
After use the WBM fltrate sample pipette should be fushed with distilled water and allowed to dry
before re-use. This prevents salt crystals forming on the tip of the pipette.
Use 50 ml glass beakers stirred with a small magnetic bead on a hot plate/stirrer in preference to the
traditional ceramic or plastic titration dish and a glass rod stirrer. This method is far simpler and will
lead to more consistent results.
Wash all glassware with distilled water after use and drain dry or dry of with a clean paper towel.
Keep the mud lab clean and tidy.
section 3a
wbm testing procedures
mud density 2
funnel viscosity 3
rheology 4
retort analysis 7
api fltrate 10
hthp fltration 11
sand content 13
pH 14
fltrate alkalinity Pf and Mf 16
fltrate hardness Ca
++
and Mg
++
18
fltrate chlorides 20
phpa content 22
potassium ion direct reading potassium ion meter 25
potassium ion sodium perchlorate method
(steiger method) 26
mbt test 27
glycol cloud point and % by vol concentration 29
garrett gas train - sulphides 30
garrett gas train - carbonates 34
silicate testing 37

section 3a
Scomi Oiltools
2
Section
3awbm testing procedures
mud density
discussion
The Mud Balance is used for mud weight determinations and is the
recommended equipment in the API 13B standard procedures for testing
drilling fuids. The mud balance is accurate to within +/- 0,1 lb/gal (or 0.5
lb/cu.ft, 0.01 g/ml, 10 g/l). It is designed such that the mud cup, at one end
of the beam, is balanced by a fxed counterweight at the other end, with a
sliding weight rider free to move along the graduated scale. A level bubble is
mounted on the beam to allow accurate balancing.
This, most basic, of mud properties is often reported incorrectly due to the
use of an inaccurately calibrated mud balance. The time to check the balance
is not when a well control situation develops but on a routine daily basis.
The mud test kit will contain both standard mud balances and a pressurised
Halliburton mud balance. Both types are calibrated by weighing distilled
water at 70 F (21.1 C) and obtaining a reading of 1.00 SG / 8.345 lb/gal. If
this is not the case adjust the balance by adding or removing lead shot as
required.
Experience has shown that, under normal drilling conditions, the standard
balance gives the same reading as the pressurised balance. For ease of use,
therefore, the standard balance may be routinely used to measure mud
density.
At the frst indication of gas or air entrapment in the mud only the pressurised
balance should be used.
On a per tour basis the pressurised balance will be used to confrm it is reading
the same as the standard balance
equipment
Standard Mud Balance
Pressurised Mud Balance
procedure standard balance
1) Instrument base must be set on a fat level surface.
2) Measure and record the mud temperature.
3) Fill the mud cup with the mud to be tested. Gently tap the cup to encourage
any entrapped gas to break out.
4) Replace cap and rotate until it is frmly seated, ensuring some of the mud
is expelled through the hole on top, to free any trapped gas.
5) Holding cap frmly (with cap hole covered
with thumb) wipe the outside of the cup
until it is clean and dry.
6) Place the beam on the base support and
balance it by using the rider along the
graduated scale. Balance is achieved
when the bubble is directly under the
centre line.
wbm testing procedures
Have you
checked the
mud balance
lately?
Example of standard mud balance
3
procedure pressurised balance
A problem with many drilling fuids is that they contain considerable amounts
of entrained gas, leading to inaccurate mud weight measurements on the
standard mud balance. By pressurising the mud cup the entrained air volume
can be decreased to a minimum. The balance operates in much the same way
as standard mud balance except the lid of the mud cup has a check valve.
1) Follow steps 1 - 5 as for the standard mud balance procedure.
2) Place the lid on the cup, with the valve in the open position, wipe the
outside of the cup clean and dry.
3) The pressurising plunger is similar to operating a syringe. The plunger is
flled by submersing the nose of the plunger in the drilling fuid with the
piston rod in the completely inward position. The piston rod is then drawn
up, thereby flling the plunger with fuid.
4) The nose of the plunger is then placed into the female O ring on top of
the cap. The sample is pressurised by maintaining a downward force on
the cylinder housing in order to hold the check valve open, whilst at the
same time forcing the piston rod inwards. Approximately 50 pounds of
force or greater should be maintained on the piston rod.
5) The check valve in the lid is pressure actuated, i.e. closing as pressure is
applied. The valve is therefore closed by gradually easing up on the cylinder
housing while maintaining pressure on the piston rod.
6) Having applied pressure to the sample with the pump there should be no
indication of fuid leaking back through the nipple. It should not be possible
to depress the nipple by hand if the nipple can be easily depressed it
is a sign that pressure is not being held and a true weight is not being
obtained. Change the O ring and repeat the test.
7) Once the check valve is closed, disconnect the plunger and weigh the fuid
as in step 6 of the standard mud balance procedure.
interpretation
The density of WBM does not vary greatly with temperature. However, it is still
a requirement to report the density at fowline and ambient temperatures.
Water based muds can be prone to air entrapment and foaming. It is important
to ensure that the density reported is as accurate as possible. The reason for
this is that under downhole conditions the mud is compressed and thus the
efective mud weight at the bottom can be much higher than indicated by a
gas cut surface sample.
Do not weigh up mud to compensate for an aerated or gas cut surface sample
Ensure you have a true mud weight before doing anything.
For density control purposes the mud weight will always relate to what is
being measured at fowline temperatures as this is the best indicator of what is
actually in the hole at any particular time.
funnel viscosity
discussion
The Marsh Funnel Viscometer is used for routine viscosity measurements. The
results obtained are greatly inuenced by rate of gelation and density. The
latter varies the hydrostatic head of the column of mud in the funnel. Because
of these variations, the viscosities obtained cannot be correlated directly with
those obtained using the rotational viscometers, and therefore can ONLY be
used as an indicator of mud stability, or relative changes to mud properties.
4
Section
3awbm testing procedures
The funnel viscosity will be measured in seconds per quart.
The funnel must be calibrated on a regular basis. The viscosity of fresh water
at 70 F (21.1 C) is 26 secs/qt (27.6 sec/l) and any reading above this would
indicate that the spout of the funnel required cleaning. The diameter of the
spout is 3/16 and a hand held drill bit of this diameter should be used to clear
any deposits/cake.
equipment
Thermometer: 32 220 F (0 105 C)
Stopwatch
Graduated cup: one quart / litre
Marsh funnel
procedures
1) Cover the orice with a nger and pour a freshly agitated uid sample
through the screen into the clean, dry and upright funnel until the liquid
level reaches the bottom of the screen.
2) Quickly remove the nger and measure the time required for the uid to
ll the receiving vessel to the one quart (946 ml).
3) Report the result to the nearest second as Marsh Funnel viscosity and the
temperature to the nearest degree.
interpretation
The funnel viscosity is a good quick guide to whether a water based mud
is thickening or thinning. However further analysis of rheology and solids
content will be required before embarking on any treatment program.
The result is temperature dependent but not to the same degree as SBM.
The funnel viscosity is, therefore, a more relevant indicator of trends in a
WBM.
rheology
discussion
The rheology will be determined using a Motor Driven Fann 6 speed
Viscometer. Ensure that the Viscometer motor runs at the same electrical
cycles (either 50 hertz or 60 hertz) as the rig power, otherwise erroneous
readings will be obtained. Offshore rigs usually operate on 60 hertz.
All Viscometers sent to the rig site must have been recently calibrated and
carry a label noting the date of the last calibration.
Drilling uid is contained in the annular space between two concentric
cylinders. The outer cylinder or rotor sleeve is driven at a constant rotational
velocity. The rotation of the rotor sleeve in the uid produces a torque on
the inner cylinder or bob, and the dial attached to the bob indicates
displacement of the bob. This is the standard procedure recommended by
API 13B for eld testing water based drilling uids.
Instrument constants have been adjusted so that the Bingham plastic
viscosity and yield point can be obtained by using the readings at 300 rpm
and 600 rpm.
When checking oil
base mud systems it is
recommended to insert
the thermometer in the
actual uid to ensure
the correct testing
temperature has been
reached
5
The six readings will be taken at 120 F (48.9 C). A heated cup will be
used for this purpose. Water Based Muds exhibit thinning tendencies with
temperature and so it is still necessary to standardise this test by taking the
readings at the same temperature on each occasion.
The thermometer used must be calibrated against a mercury or alcohol
type thermometer to conrm its accuracy. To adjust the thermometer
simply use a small spanner to turn the nut on the back of the dial so that
the thermometer reads the same temperature as the mercury or alcohol
thermometer.
The rheometer readings may be taken at a higher temperature, to reect ow
line temperatures, if required. However, to avoid confusion and to allow
comparisons between wells, usually only the 120 F (48.9 C) readings will be
entered in the mud check columns on the mud report. If necessary, readings
taken at higher temperatures can be noted in the comment section.
Note: Maximum operating temperature is
200 F (93 C). If uids above 200 F
(93 C) are to be tested, a solid metal
bob or a hollow metal bob, with
completely dry interior, should be
used. Liquid trapped inside a hollow
bob may vaporise when immersed in
high temperature uid and cause the
bob to explode.
The gelling characteristics of the uid can
be determined from taking a 10 second
and a 10 minute gel reading. Consequently
there is no requirement to take a 30 minute
gel under normal circumstances. However
if increasing rheology is becoming a
problem a 30 min gel should also be taken
in order to determine the effectiveness of
the treatment programme.
equipment
Fann 35, 110 volt or 120 volt, powered by a two speed synchronous motor
to obtain speeds of 3, 6, 100, 200, 300 and 600.
Mud cup
Stopwatch
Thermometer 32 220 F (0 104 C)
procedures
1) Stir the sample at 600 rpm while the sample is heating, or cooling, to 120 F
(48.9 C). Ensure the dial reading has stabilized at this speed before noting
the result and proceeding to the 300, 200, 100, 6 and 3 RPM speeds.
2) Having taken the 3-RPM reading stir the sample at 600 RPM for 30 secs
before taking the 10-second gel at 3 rpm.
3) Restir the sample at 600 rpm for 30 seconds and leave undisturbed for
10 minutes, ensuring the temperature stays at 120 F (48.9 C). Take the
10 minute gel reading at 3 rpm.
Example of 6 Speed
Rheometer
6
Section
3awbm testing procedures
calculations
Apparent Viscosity (AV) in = 600 reading 2
Centipoise (cps)
Yield Stress = 2 x 3 reading 6 reading
Plastic Viscosity (PV) in = 600 reading - 300 reading
Centipoise (cps)
Yield Point (YP)
Yield Point (YP) in Ib/100 ft
2
= 300 reading PV
Yield Point (YP) in Pa = (300 reading PV) x 0.48

Power Law Index (n) = 3.32 log (600 reading / 300 reading)
Consistency Index (K):
Consistency Index (K) in Ib/100 ft
2
= 600 reading / 1022
n
Consistency Index (K) in Pa = (600 reading / 1022
n
) x 0.48
Gels:
Gels in Ib/100 ft
2
= As per 10 sec & 10 min reading
Gels in Pa = (As per 10 sec & 10 min reading) x 0.48
Note: If the 600 rpm reading is off scale then the PV and YP can be calculated
as follows;
YP in Ib/100 ft
2
= (2 X 100 rpm reading) 200 rpm reading
YP in Pa = [(2 X 100 rpm reading) 200 rpm reading] x 0.48
PV = 300 rpm YP
PV (S.I units) =
interpretation
The main focus of attention, with regards to mud rheology, is the 6 rpm reading.
Mud programs will specify a range for the 6 rpm reading and so the other
indicators of rheological properties, i.e. yield point, apparent viscosity, plastic
viscosity and initial gel strengths, become a function of what is required to meet
this low end specication.
Experience has shown that the initial gel strength will be more or less the same
as the 6-rpm reading.
10 minute gels that show an increasing trend and a widening divergence from
the initial gel are a good indicator of a colloidal solids build up that may not be
detected by solids analysis. This is due to the fact that while the solids percent
may remain the same the actual size of the particles, and hence the surface area
they present to the liquid phase, will decrease as degradation occurs.
If the colloidal solids increase is not due to reactive claystones then the MBT
test may not reveal the true nature of what is happening. The 10 minute gel
in a WBM will always react to increasing nes and can often be the best indicator
of solids related changes to mud properties.
Increasing PV values are also generally a good indicator of a solids build up.
300 rpm reading YP
0.48
7
It is important to identify increasing trends at an early stage so that timely
measures may be taken before they reach problem levels.
retort analysis
discussion
The accurate determination of the high gravity solids and low gravity solids
in a WBM mud relies on the correct usage of the 50 ml retort and the correct
interpretation of the results.
A retort is used to determine the quantity of liquids and solids in a drilling uid.
A carefully measured sample of mud is placed in a steel cell and then heated
until it vaporises. The vapours are then passed through a condenser and
collected in a calibrated cylinder. The volume of liquid, water and oil can then be
calculated in percent. The percent solids value, both suspended and dissolved,
is determined by subtraction of the total liquid from 100%.
Small errors in the measurement of the solids percentage can result in seriously
erroneous reporting of the drilled solids content. It is apparent that inaccurate
retort results can lead to unnecessary mud treatments aimed at reducing an
apparently out of spec LGS concentration.
It is essential that the retort be run at a high enough temperature to burn off
the heavier fractions of any liquid additives such as glycol or lubricants.
It is absolutely critical that the correct mud weight is used in the calculation
to determine the relative concentrations of HGS and LGS. Using the owline
mud weight when the sample to be retorted has in fact cooled considerably,
and hence increased in density, will give a much higher LGS content than
is actually the case. The retort mud weight, i.e. the actual density of the mud
in the retort as opposed to the ow line mud weight, will, therefore, be utilised
in all calculations.
The volume of the retort will be conrmed by lling the cell with distilled
water (at ambient temperature) and checking that 50 ccs is in fact received in
the test tube. If 50 ccs is not consistently obtained with distilled water (it might
be necessary to repeat the check with distilled water to ensure the error is
genuine) then, either the 50 cc retort cell must be replaced with an accurate
one, or, a correction factor must be applied to the volume of distillate actually
obtained, as per the following formula:
50
Volume of distilled water obtained ccs
x Volume of distillate ccs
Any smoke emerging from the heating jacket is an indication that vapour is
escaping through the threads connecting the upper and lower parts of the
retort cell. If this is noted it is an indication that the tube to the condenser is, or
has been, blocked. A blocked tube will result in the bottom of the upper part
of the retort cell aring to allow an escape route for increasing pressure. Even
if the tube is subsequently cleaned the aring will remain and is still an
escape route for a proportion of the vapour. This will obviously result in an
inaccurate solids measurement. Any hint of smoke from the heating jacket
is an indication that the top part of the retort cell is damaged and should be
discarded.
8
Section
3awbm testing procedures
It can be appreciated that a combination of all, or some of the factors
mentioned above, i.e. insufcient retort temperature, incorrect mud weight
used in calculations, volume being retorted not in fact 50 ccs, partial escape
of vapour through ared threaded area, can result in wildly inaccurate
determinations of the drilled solids content.
equipment
Three retort sizes are available to the industry, 10 ml, 20 ml and 50 ml. The
latter is recommended for drilling operations, due to its greater precision and
accuracy. Each unit consists of;
Sample cup
Thermostatically controlled heating element
Liquid condenser
Pyrex measuring cylinder (50 ml)
Fine steel wool
Pipe cleaner
High temperature silicone grease
Defoaming agent
Spatula
procedures
1) Ensure retort assembly to be used is clean
and dry. It is vital that all traces of previously
retorted solids are removed from the retort
cup to guarantee 50 ml of uid is actually
retorted. Remove all traces of previously
used steel wool. Water can be retained in
steel wool when the upper retort body
is washed / cleaned. Failure to change
the steel wool can result in inaccurate
measurements, as this extraneous water
will become included in the total water content.
2) Weigh the clean and dry retort cup and lid on the triple beam balance.
3) Add the mud, which has been allowed to cool to ambient temperature,
to the retort cup, gently tap the cup to remove any air bubbles and place
the lid with a rotational movement to obtain a proper t. Be sure an excess
of uid ows out of the hole in the lid.
4) Carefully clean the cup and lid of excess uid and reweigh on the triple
beam balance. The retort mud weight SG is determined as the difference
between the empty and full weights, in grams, divided by 50 (the volume of
mud).
5) Pack the retort body with new steel wool, apply NeverSeez, to the threads
and assemble top and bottom parts. Ensure that the two parts are fully
screwed together. If it is not possible to fully screw together the two parts it
will be necessary to clean the threads and repeat the above steps. Failure to
get a good seal could result in leakage that will lead to an inaccurate result.
6) Attach the condenser and place the retort assembly in the heating jacket
and close the insulating lid.
7) Place clean, dry liquid receiver below condenser outlet and turn on heating
jacket.
8) The temperature control should be adjusted so that the retort cell glows
dull red at the end of the distillation. Ultimately smoke will emerge from
the retort and the distillation is only complete when the smoke stops.
Example of Retort
9
calculations
SG of drilled solids (LGS) = 2.60
SG of Barite (HGS) = 4.25
SG of oil additive = SGo
Input Data
SG of mud in retort = SGm
Retort % oil = Of
Retort % water = Wf
Retort % solids = Sf
Salinity mg/l =

SG of Brine = SGb (Look up Salinity in
specic brine table)
Correction factor = CF (From brine table)
Brine fraction = Bf (Correction factor x Wf)
Corrected Solids = CS [Sf - Salt content (Bf - Wf)]
Then
Average SG of Solids =
(AVSG)
% LGS =

=

% HGS = CS - % LGS
lb/bbl LGS = %LGS x 3.5 x 2.6
= %LGS x 9.1
lb/bbl LGS = %HGS x 3.5 x 4.25
= %HGS x 14.87
kg/m
3
LGS = %LGS x (9.1 x 6.2897) 2.205
= %LGS x 25.96
kg/m
3
HGS = %HGS x (14.87 x 6.2897) 2.205
= %HGS x 42.42
interpretation
The control of the low gravity solids content of a WBM system will trigger
the use of centrifuges or dilutions. If mud costs were broken down and assigned
to a particular reason then the control of LGS would probably account for the
bulk of expenditure on most wells. For this reason very careful attention must
be paid to the points outlined in the Discussion section above.
This test is a reliable indication of the condition of a drilling uid on a one
off basis. The results of other tests may change, for example, with shear and
temperature i.e. the rheology may increase, the API lter loss may decrease
without any additions being made to the mud. The LGS content, however, is
something that can be assessed, and tackled if required, without waiting for
trends to be established from further tests.
The calculations are extremely sensitive and a 0.5% difference in total solids
content will have a large affect on the LGS fraction. For this reason it is
important to be meticulous when taking the volumes of oil, water and solids.

mls of 0.282NAgNO
3
x 10,000
% Water 100
SGm x 100 -
[(
Of x SGo
)
+
(
Bf x SGb
)]
CS
CS x
(
4.25 - AVSG
)
4.25 - 2.6
CS x
(
4.25 - AVSG
)
1.65
10
Section
3awbm testing procedures
api fltrate
discussion
Filtration control is one of the primary characteristics of a drilling uid and
fulls a variety of functions from the prevention of differential sticking to
minimisation of formation damage.
Filtrate control can be established at just about any level but the cost increases
almost exponentially as tighter and tighter properties are required. A t for
purpose attitude must be adopted when programming uid loss levels to
avoid non-justiable expense. No benet may be gained, for example, from
having a uid loss of 3 ml as opposed to 5 ml but mud costs will have doubled.
Further, over treatment with uid loss polymers, especially PAC polymers,
can have a detrimental effect on the rheology by reducing the muds shear
thinning characteristics.

The API test for WBM is carried out at ambient temperature and with only
100 psi (690 kPa) of differential pressure. This quite patently does not mirror
downhole conditions. However experience has shown that this test is a reliable
way of measuring the performance of a drilling uid at any given moment.
The results must be viewed in conjunction with the thickness of the lter
cake that has been formed by the end of the test. A low solids polymer mud
may have a relatively high uid loss but the lter cake is almost non existent
whereas a high solids mud may have a lower uid loss but a much thicker
lter cake.
equipment
Filtration Cell
OFI specially Hardened Filter paper - Filtration Area 7.07 sq.in (Alternatively
- Whatman No 50 paper)
Low Pressure CO
2
supply 100 psi (690 kPa) (Soda stream cartridges)
Stop Clock
10 and 25 ml measuring cylinders
procedure
1) Assemble the clean and dry components that form the cell of this piece of
equipment.
2) Ensure the lter paper is Whatman no 50 (or equivalent) and make sure
the screen is not damaged. A creased screen can result in weaknesses in
the lter cake that seem to result in higher results than would normally be
expected.
3) Pour the mud sample into the cell to 0.5 from the top, put the top in place
and position it in the support frame.
4) Place a dry graduated cylinder of suitable size (usually 10 ccs) under the
drain tube and apply 100 psi of pressure over 15 seconds.
5) Maintain a constant 100 psi (690 kPa) throughout the test period.
6) After 7.5 mins measure and record the amount of ltrate collected to the
nearest 0.1 ml.
7) After 30 mins measure and report the amount of ltrate collected to the
nearest 0.1 ml.
8) Having bled off the pressure, dismantle the equipment and examine the
lter cake. Report the thickness in 32nds of an inch (mm). Comments about
the quality of the cake should be noted in the comments section of the
mud report i.e. texture, colour, hardness, compressibility, exibility etc.
11
calculations
API Fluid Loss = 30 min Reading
* Relative API Fluid Loss = (30 min Reading - 7.5 min reading) x 2
Spurt Loss = API Fluid Loss - Relative API Fluid Loss
* Relative API Fluid Loss is corrected for spurt loss prior to cake formation.
interpretation
The API uid loss may not give an accurate representation of what is
happening under dynamic conditions at downhole temperatures and
pressures. Dynamic lab testing has shown solids content to be the key
inuencing factor. Thus it could follow that a mud that has lower API uid
loss than another may have a much higher dynamic loss.
However any change in uid loss properties is a good indicator of general
mud health. Having established the required control any increasing trend must
be identied and treated as required.
Fluid loss can also decrease without any chemical additives as solids content
and particle size distribution optimises under drilling conditions.
Generally speaking, therefore, an increasing trend is bad and a decreasing trend
is good.
The results must be viewed in conjunction with the thickness of the lter cake
that has been formed by the end of the test. A low solids polymer mud may have
a relatively high uid loss but the lter cake is almost non existent whereas a
high solids mud may have a lower uid loss but a much thicker lter cake.
hthp fltration
discussion
The high pressure / high temperature lter press is a static ltration procedure
recommended by the API 13B standard procedures for testing drilling uids
at elevated temperatures and pressures.
This test tends to be run at temperatures that reect expected bottom hole
temperatures and thus there is no standardised temperature. However ensure
the test temperature is noted on the mud report.
These procedures are for temperatures up to 300 F (148.9 C). If higher test
temperatures are required a porous stainless steel disc will need to be utilized
instead of the normally used lter paper and higher top and bottom pressures
applied. When heating, apply 100 psi (690 kPa) to top and bottom, increase top
pressure to 600 psi (4138 kPa) for the test.
The thermometer used must be calibrated against a mercury or alcohol type
thermometer to conrm its accuracy. To adjust the thermometer, simply use a
small spanner to turn the nut on the back of the dial so that the thermometer
reads the same temperature as the mercury or alcohol thermometer.
Remember the screen and bomb are a matched pair. The use of unmatched
pieces of equipment may result in it being impossible to get a result as whole
mud breaches the seals at some point during the test. This is indicated when
the pressure gauge on the bottom pressure vessel suddenly goes off scale.
12
Section
3awbm testing procedures
Remember the screen and bomb are a matched pair. The use of unmatched
pieces of equipment may result in it being impossible to get a result as whole
mud breaches the seals at some point during the test. This is indicated when
the pressure gauge on the bottom pressure vessel suddenly goes off scale.
Continuing bypass problems could be the result of incorrect O rings. Ensure
they are of a rounded, rather than at, prole
equipment
HTHP Filtration Cell
OFI specially Hardened Filter paper
High Pressure CO
2
supply 600 psi (4138 kPa)
Stop Clock
10 and 25 ml measuring cylinders
procedure
1) Turn on heated jacket at the mains and insert
a thermometer into the jacket and leave to
preheat to the desired temperature.
2) Check out all the O rings on the HPHT bomb
and lid. Change out any damaged rings. The
rings to be checked are the four small stem O
rings, which tend to pick up cuts and grooves
with time, and the two large O rings, one in
the lid and one in the cell. The large O rings
should have a rounded prole and be free from
dirt.
3) With stem valve closed on bottom of cell, ll up cell with mud to within
0.5 of the O ring groove, to allow for thermal expansion.
4) Insert lter paper into the cell followed by the bottom cell plate assembly
over the lter paper and twist to align with the safety locking lugs. Ensure
the lid stem is open while doing this to avoid damaging the lter paper.
5) Tighten the 6 grub screws evenly using the Allan key provided.
6) Ensure all stem valves are tightly closed.
7) Invert cell and place in ltration mounted heated jacket assembly.
Rotate the bomb until it seats on the locking pin. Insert a thermometer
into the HPHT cell.
8) Place a CO
2
or N
2
cartridge in each regulator and tighten up the retainers.
9) Place the pressure unit on top valve and lock into place using a locking
pin. Lock the bottom pressure unit to the bottom valve into place, again
ensuring that locking pin is inserted.
10) Apply 100 psi to both ends of the HPHT cell with the valves still closed.
11) Open the top valve by turning
1
/
4
to
1
/
2
anticlockwise to apply 100 psi to
the mud while heating to prevent the mud from boiling prior to reaching
the target temperature. The time for heating the mud sample to the
target temperature should not exceed 60 minutes!
12) When the cell reaches the required test temperature open the bottom
stem (1/2 turn) and then increase the pressure on the top regulator to
600 psi over +/- 20 seconds.
13) Commence the test. The test should be carried out as soon as the bomb
reaches the test temperature.
14) If the pressure on the bottom regulator increases signicantly above 100
psi bleed off some of the ltrate into the graduated cylinder.
Do not use nitrous oxide
(N
2
O) as a pressure
source for this test. N
2
O
can detonate when
under temperature
and pressure in the
presence of oil, grease, or
carbonaceous materials.
Use only carbon dioxide
(CO
2
) or nitrogen (N
2
).
Example of HTHP
Filter Press
If the bottom pressure
rises 20 psi above the
specied pressure during
the test, carefully bleed
off pressure by draining a
small volume of ltrate.
13
15) Collect the ltrate for 30 minutes maintaining the temperature to within
+/- 5 F (2.7 C).
16) Once the test has nished close the top and bottom valves and shut off the
pressure supply from the regulators. Bleed the lines using the relief valves
provided.
17) Allow ltrate to cool for 30 minutes and then draw off into a graduated
20 ml measuring cylinder and read volume. SAVE the ltrate for ionic
analysis.
18) CAUTION - the cell still contains 500 psi (3449 kPa) pressure, so cool cell
to room temperature ideally in a water bath or alternative safe place and
then bleed off the pressure slowly by opening the valves.
19) Disassemble the cell and discard mud into mud waste container only. Save
lter paper handling with care and wash lter cake with a gentle stream
of distilled water.
20) Measure and report the thickness of the cake to the nearest 1/32 (0.8 mm).
Report any other observations, such as texture, colour, hardness, exibility
etc.
calculations
The total ltrate volume should be doubled, as the standard API press is
twice the area of the HPHT cell.
Mud in the ltrate would indicate that the O ring seals needed replacing as
whole mud was bypassing the lter paper.
Do not instigate mud treatments on the results of any test that has mud in
the ltrate. Overhaul the equipment and repeat the test.
sand content
discussion
It is important to remember that this test is a measure of sand size particles,
which can be of any rock type, or indeed sacked additives, as opposed to just
sand.
If ner than 200 mesh shaker screens are in use, an increase in sand size
particles would be a clear indicator of screen damage requiring immediate
attention.
equipment
2 1/2 inch diameter sieve (200 mesh, 74 micron),
Plastic funnel to t the sieve
Glass measuring tube marked for the volume of mud to be added in order
to read the percentage of sand directly in the bottom of the tube, which is
graduated from 0 to 20%.
procedures
1) Fill the tube with mud to the mark
labelled Mud to Here, and then add
water to the mark Base Fluid to Here.
Cover the mouth of the tube with the
thumb and shake the tube vigorously.
Example of Sand Content Kit
14
Section
3awbm testing procedures
2) Pour the suspension through the clean, dry mesh screen, being careful
to remove all solids out of the tube by ushing with base uid back
through the same mesh screen. By tapping the side of the screen the
pouring of the mud through the screen may be facilitated.
3) Wash the sand retained on the screen with water to remove any remaining
mud
4) Fit the funnel upside down over the top of the sieve, invert slowly turning
the tip of the funnel into the mouth of the tube and wash the sand back
into the tube with some clean water. Allow the sand to settle.
5) Record the quantity of sand settled in the graduated tube as the sand
sized content of the mud in percent by volume.
calculations
Allow the sand to settle. From the graduations on the tube, read and report
the percent by volume of sand size drilled solids (see interpretation below).
interpretation
Some interpretation of the result will need to be made based on the
differential settling speeds of the different materials present. The reported
result should be that proportion of the settled particles that are attributable to
drilled solids. These would be the particles that settle out rst and are usually
followed by calcium carbonates, other types of LCM and undissolved black
powders. The differing particles aggregate, therefore, in clearly identiable
strata and, depending what was being added to the active system at any given
time, the apparent sand content can appear much higher than it actually is.
The sand content is not really of any signicance with respect to overall mud
properties but is of importance when it comes to wear on mud pump parts
etc. 2% is normally accepted as the upper limit.
Generally speaking the sand content is also useful to gauge the effectiveness
of the shaker screen sizes being employed. If the sand content rises quickly
then this is an indication that ner mesh screens need to be tried. A rapid
increase in sand content over a short period can also indicate that the shaker
screens are torn and need immediate replacing.
pH
discussion
Field measurement of drilling uid (or ltrate) pH and adjustments to the pH
are fundamental to controlling water-based drilling uid properties.
pH expresses acidity or alkalinity of an aqueous solution. An acid can be
dened as a substance which dissociates in aqueous solution to give hydrogen
[H
+
] ions, whilst a base or alkali gives [OH
-
] ions. The term pH denotes the
negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion, [H
+
], activity in aqueous solutions
(activity and concentration are equal only in dilute solutions).
The pH of a water based mud is controlled to improve the performance of
mud additives, to minimise pipe corrosion and to reduce the solubility of
claystones.
A balance is struck between these factors when choosing a pH for any
particular system.
15
Generally speaking for low pH muds eg KCl / PHPA, 8.5 to 9.5 are the norm.
At these levels:
Sufcient alkalinity is maintained to control corrosion, i.e. the mud is not
acidic.
Polymer additives are not co-precipitated with other ions and hardness is
minimised.
The dispersive tendencies of claystones are minimised, thus helping to
prevent solids problems.
It is important to remember that pH is a logarithmic function and that it will
take 10 times as much caustic soda (in pure water) to increase a pH from 10 to
11 as it will from 9 to 10.
The recommended method for pH measurement is with a glass electrode
pH meter. This method is accurate and reliable, being free of interferences if
a high quality electrode system is used with a properly designed instrument.
Rugged pH instruments are available that automatically temperature
compensate the slope and are preferred over the manually adjusted
instruments.
For anything other than basic freshwater mud systems a pH meter should
be used to measure pH.
Note: Colour matching pH paper and strips are used for eld measurements,
but are not recommended as they are only reliable in very simple water
base muds. Mud solids, dissolved salts and chemicals, and dark coloured
liquids cause serious errors in pH paper values. Readability is normally
about 0.5 pH units.
equipment
pH Meter: Millivolt range potentiometer calibrated to show pH units for
measuring the potential between a glass membrane electrode and a
standard reference electrode.
Electrode system: A combination system of a glass electrode for sensing
[H+] ions and a standard voltage reference electrode (silver/silver chloride),
constructed as a single electrode.
Buffer solutions: Three solutions to calibrate and set the slope of the pH
meter prior to sample measurement.
pH = 4.0: potassium hydrogen phthalate at 0.05 molar in water. Gives 4.01
pH at 75 F (23.9 C).
pH = 7.0: Potassium dihydrogen phosphate at 0.02066 molar and disodium
hydrogen phosphate at 0.02934 molar in water, gives 7.00 pH at 75 F (23.9 C).
pH = 10.0: Sodium carbonate at 0.025 molar and sodium bicarbonate at
0.025 molar in water, gives 10.01 pH at 75 F (23.9 C).
Note: The shelf life of all buffers should not exceed six months before disposal.
Date of preparation of the buffer should be shown on bottles used in the
eld. Bottles should be kept tightly stoppered.
Distilled or deionised water: in spray bottle.
Soft tissues: to blot electrodes.
Thermometer: glass, 32-220 F (0-104 C).
Only use fresh
calibration uids
when calibrating
the pH meter
16
Section
3awbm testing procedures
procedures pH indicator strips
1) Place an indicator strip in mud and allow it to remain for one minute to
allow the colour to stabilise.
2) Rinse the strip off with deionised water but do not wipe.
3) Compare the colours of the strip with the standard chart provided and
estimate the pH to the nearest .5.
procedures pH meter
1) The pH meter must be calibrated, as per the manufacturers instructions,
on a regular basis (at least once a week, more frequently if meter usage is
high. Buffer solutions used must be within their use by date. Do not
re-cycle the buffer solutions used to calibrate the meter. Throw them away
each time and use fresh samples of the buffer solutions every time the
meter is calibrated.
2) For accurate pH measurements the test uid, buffer solutions and
reference electrode must all be at the same temperature i.e. ambient
temperature.
3) Insert the electrode into the uid contained in a small glass ask and swirl
gently.
4) Measure the uid pH according to the directions supplied with the
instrument. When the meter reading becomes constant record the pH to
the nearest 0.1 of a unit.
5) Thoroughly clean off electrode with distilled water and store it in
accordance with manufacturers recommendations.
interpretation
Trickle treatments of either sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide are
usually made to maintain the pH in the optimum range of 8.5 to 9.5. A quick
check with the pH meter will avoid a situation where pH increases above this
range due to over treatment or drops too low due to under treatment.
The usual tendency is for the pH to drop slowly as alkaline ions are neutralised
by other naturally occurring ions. A rapid drop in pH can indicate such hazards
as acid gas or CO
2
inuxes.
fltrate alkalinity Pf and Mf
discussion
Alkalinity can be considered as the acid-neutralising power of a substance.
Alkalinity measurements can be made on either the whole mud (designated
with the subscript m) or on the ltrate (subscript f ). The data collected
can also be used to estimate the concentrations of hydroxyl (OH
-
), carbonate
(CO3
--
) and bicarbonate (HCO
3
-
) ions in the drilling uid.
P
f
and M
f
refer to titrations performed on the mud ltrate (f ). The P refers to
the indicator Phenolphthalein and thus P
f
refers to the mls of 0.02N sulphuric
acid required for the indicator colour change at a pH of 8.3.
The M refers to the indicator Methyl Orange and the M
f
is the mls of 0.02N
sulphuric acid for the colour change that at occurs at a pH of 4.3.
The M
f
includes the acid taken to get to the Phenolphthalein end point and so
will always be equal to, or greater than, the P
f
.
17
In colourless ltrates the P
f
is a distinctive end point from red pink to
colourless. The M
f
however is a very poor endpoint, orange to pink, much
dependent on the eye of the beholder, and casts into doubt alkalinity
calculations based upon it.
Another indicator, Bromo Cresol Green, changes from blue to apple green and
is a much easier end point to see. For historical reasons it is still referred to as
the M
f.
It is this indicator, Bromo Cresol Green that will be used to calculate M
f.
The following table highlights the rules of thumb for conventional gel based
mud systems.
Hydroxyl ions Mud stable and in good condition
Hydroxyl + Carbonate Stable and in good condition
Carbonate Unstable but can be controlled
Carbonate + bicarbonate Stable but difcult to control
Bicarbonate Unstable and very difcult to control
Knowledge of the mud and ltrate alkalinity is essential to ensure proper
control of mud chemistry. Mud additives, particularly some deocculants,
require an alkaline environment to function properly. The source and nature
of the alkalinity is often as important as the fact that some alkalinity exists.
Alkalinity arising from hydroxyl ions is generally accepted as being benecial,
while alkalinity resulting from carbonates and/or bicarbonates may have
adverse effects on mud performance and stability.
equipment
Sulphuric acid solution: standardised 0.02 Normal (N/50).
Phenolphthalein indicator solution: 1 g dissolved in 60 ml ethyl or methyl
alcohol made up to 100 ml with distilled water.
Methyl Orange Indicator solution: 0.2 g dissolved in 100 ml distilled
water.
Bromo-phenol Blue (Bromo-cresol Green): 0.02 g in 100 ml distilled water
(instead of methyl orange for dark ltrates).
pH meter: optional, but is more accurate than indicator solution.
Titration vessel: 100 - 150 ml. preferably white.
Volumetric pipettes: 1 ml.
Graduated pipettes: one 1 cc. and one 10 ml
Hypodermic syringe: 2.5 ml.
Distilled water free of carbon dioxide (by boiling)
Stirring rod.
procedures
1) Measure one ml of ltrate into a clean and dry 50 ml glass beaker.
2) Dilute with 10 - 20 mls of distilled water.
3) Add 2 or three drops of Phenolphthalein indicator. If the sample turns
pink, add 0.02N sulphuric acid drop by drop from a pipette while gently
stirring with a small magnetic bead on a hot plate/stirrer until the pink
colour just disappears.
4) If the sample is so coloured that the colour change of the indicator is
masked, the endpoint is taken when the pH reaches 8.3, as measured with
the glass electrode pH meter.
5) Report the Phenolphthalein alkalinity as the mls of acid required to reach
the end point.
18
Section
3awbm testing procedures
6) To the same sample add 3 or 4 drops of Bromo Cresol Green. A blue colour
will develop.
7) Add 0.02N sulphuric acid drop by drop from a pipette while gently
swirling or mixing until the blue colour changes to apple green.
8) The M
f
is the total amount of acid used for both titrations.
interpretation
Historically great effort went into interpreting the relationship between
P
f
and M
f
as a means of detecting some of the factors causing mud instability
such as high gels or deteriorating uid loss properties.
Carbonates and Bicarbonates are usually responsible when analysis shows
an increasing M
f
. They can be incorporated due to:
Over treatment with soda ash or bicarb to remove calcium or cement
contamination.
Carbon Dioxide dissolution due to formation gas, uid mixing equipment
etc
Thermal degradation of organic materials such as polymers
Contaminated Bentonite and Barite.
It is true that carbonate and bicarbonate ions can have severe effects on
conventional kinds of water base mud systems, particularly gel based ones.
The inherent inaccuracy in the second end point determination makes
accurate analysis very difcult.
Other alkaline materials can also contribute to the overall alkalinity, further
complicating interpretation. These include but are not exclusive to anions
such as, borate, silicate, aluminate, sulphide and phosphate.
If Carbonate or Bicarbonate contamination is suspected it must be conrmed
and quantied by use of a Garret Gas Train.
In most applications P
f
should always be greater than zero, i.e. always have
some pink colour, and the closer the M
f
is to the P
f
the better.
Experience shows, however, that in low solids polymer muds an increasing
M
f
does not necessarily result in any affect at all on other key mud properties
such as ltration and viscosity.
The focus should, therefore, be on observing changes in uid loss and
rheology and if unwanted changes are occurring see if they are related to an
increasing trend in M
f
and treat accordingly.
fltrate hardness Ca
++
and Mg
++
discussion
The ions that contribute most signicantly to hardness in water are Calcium
and Magnesium. These ions are divalent and can act as bridging agents
between ionic polymers by complexing with more than one charged group
on the molecule. This bridging can reduce polymer solubility and hence
adversely affect performance.
19
In a similar manner the divalent ions can bridge between two clay particles
producing occulation.
When EDTA (sodium salt of ethylene-diaminetetracetic acid) is added to
aqueous solutions containing calcium and/or magnesium, it combines to
form a complex whose end-point is determined by a suitable indicator.
EDTA-Na + Ca
++
+ Mg
++
----> EDTA- Ca + EDTA- Mg + Na
+

Keeping the mud alkaline with trickle treatments of hydroxides will ensure
no magnesium is present. The OH

ion will react with free magnesium to


give an insoluble precipitate of magnesium hydroxide. Thus in a properly
maintained system, where an excess of OH

ions exist, no free magnesium


can exist and all hardness is due to calcium.
If huge sources of Magnesium are encountered then it is pointless trying
to keep adding hydroxides, as the increasing amounts of ne precipitates will
eventually result in uncontrollable viscosity increases.
In situations where hydroxide additions have no effect on pH and free
magnesium is present the system must be run at neutral pH, as the lesser
of evils.
equipment
0.02 N EDTA (0.01 M) (Versenate Solution)
Ammonia Buffer* in dropper bottle
8N Potassium hydroxide buffer (KOH)
Manver Indicator (solution or crystals)
Calver II Indicator (crystals)
Masking agent** : 1:1:2 mixture by volume of triethanolamine :
tetraethylenepentamine : water
Deionised water : free of carbon dioxide by boiling
Graduated pipettes: one 1 ml, 2 ml and 5 ml
Titration vessel : 100 - 150 ml preferably white
Stirring rods
* Ammonia buffer = 54 g Ammonium chloride and 400 ml Ammonium
hydroxide (15 N) made up to 1000 ml with deionised water.
** 1 ml of Masking agent should be added if soluble iron is suspected to
be present.
procedures total hardness
1) This test measures the total hardness, calcium, magnesium and other
metals (of no real signicance for drilling uids) precipitated by Versenate
solution, of the mud ltrate.
2) To a clean and dry 50 ml glass beaker add 50 ml of distilled water and 2 ml
of standard buffer solution.
3) Add 1 ml of Calmalgite / Manver indicator solution.
4) If a red colour develops, indicating the presence of calcium or magnesium,
add Versenate solution (0.01M EDTA 1 ml = 400 mg/l.) drop wise with
a pipette until the colour rst changes to a brilliant blue, while stirring
with a small magnetic bead on a hot plate/stirrer.
This would indicate your distilled water was contaminated or the
titration vessel was not clean. Do not include this amount of versenate in
calculations.
20
Section
3awbm testing procedures
5) Measure 1 ml of mud ltrate into the titration vessel and the red colour
will reappear.
6) Add Versenate solution as before until the blue colour returns. The end
point may appear as a purple brown if masking agents are present.
However it is the clear colour change that is the end point.
calculations total hardness
Total Hardness in mg/l (expressed as calcium) = ml of versenate solution x
400
procedures calcium
1) To a clean and dry 50 ml glass beaker add 1 ml of ltrate (the purity of
the distilled water and your ability to clean a titration vessel will have been
proved in the previous procedure) and add 50 ml of distilled water and 5
ml 8N KOH or NaOH.
2) The OH ions will precipitate out any magnesium.
3) Add a satchel (or a pinch if loose powder is provided) of Calver II calcium
indicator. This will produce a pink to a wine red coloration.
4) While stirring with a small magnetic bead on a hot plate/stirrer add
standard Versenate solution (0.01M EDTA 1 ml = 400 mg/l.) until the
solution changes to clear blue.
calculations calcium
Calcium hardness in mg / lt. = ml of versenate x 400
calculations magnesium
Magnesium hardness in mg / lt. = (ml of versenate for total hardness test - ml
of versenate for calcium test) x 0.243
Interpretation
Keeping hardness levels under control improves the efciency of water based
mud systems.
Remember, in a properly maintained alkaline system where excess OH

ions
exist, free magnesium cannot exist and all hardness will be due to calcium.
The acceptable upper limit for hardness is pH dependent but in systems run at
pH 8.5 to 9.5 the upper limit should be no more than 600 mg/l.
Remember that elevated hardness levels may not impinge at all on mud
properties such as ltration and viscosity but due to lowered efciency levels
you are spending more money to achieve the same results.
Control calcium hardness with suitable treatments.
fltrate chlorides
discussion
This standard method (Mohrs method) consists of titrating all chlorides
present in the ltrate and expressing the result in terms of sodium chloride.
This explains why in some cases, for example in the presence of calcium
and magnesium chlorides, the result obtained (expressed in NaCl), can
21
give concentrations greater than the solubility of NaCl. The chlorides are
precipitated in the form of silver chloride, in the presence of an indicator,
potassium chromate. The reaction occurs in two steps:
Cl
-
+ AgNO
3
AgCl (white precipitate) + NO
3
-
CrO
4
--
+ 2Ag
+
Ag
2
CrO
4
(orange-red precipitate)
The end point is detected with Potassium Chromate.
The excess Ag
+
ions present after all the Cl
-
ions have been removed from
solution, react with chromate to form silver chromate, an orange-red
precipitate. Since AgCl is less soluble than Ag
2
CrO
4
the latter cannot form
permanently in the mixture until the precipitation of AgCl has reduced the
Cl
-
to a very small value.
Note: This titration must be carried out in a neutral medium because; in an acid
medium the silver chromate dissolves, and in an alkaline medium silver
oxide or silver carbonate precipitate. In practice, as the ltrate is neutral
or alkaline, it is rst acidied with sulphuric or nitric acid, then neutralised
with calcium carbonate. The addition of the nitric acid has the advantage
of discolouring the ltrate (partially).
Numerous papers have been generated explaining different ways of reporting
salinity mg/l Cl
-
, ppm KCl etc. This has caused great confusion in the past
where apparently wildly different gures were in fact conveying exactly the
same salinity.
It is essential that salinity be always reported as mg/l chlorides. Remember
ppm is not the same as mg/l, (ppm x brine SG = mg/l)
equipment
Silver nitrate solution: 4.7910 g/l (0.0282 N or equivalent to 0.001 g chloride
ion/ml). Store in amber or opaque bottle.
Potassium Chromate Indicator solution: 5 g/100 ml water.
Sulphuric or nitric acid: standardised 0.02 N (N/50).
Phenolphthalein indicator solution: 1 g/100 ml of 60% alcohol in water
solution.
Calcium Carbonate: precipitated, chemically pure grade.
Distilled water: free of carbon dioxide by boiling.
Graduated pipettes: one 1 ml and One 10-ml.
Titration vessel: 100 - 150 ml preferably white.
Stirring rod.
procedures
1) Ensure the ltrate sample pipette doesnt have any crystallised salt on its
tip. Measure one ml of ltrate into a clean and dry 50 ml glass beaker.
2) Dilute with 25 mls of distilled water.
3) Add three drops of Phenolphthalein indicator. If the sample turns pink,
add 0.02N sulphuric acid drop by drop from a pipette while gently
stirring with a small magnetic bead on a hot/plate stirrer until the pink
colour just disappears.
22
Section
3awbm testing procedures
4) Add 10 drops of standard potassium chromate solution (5 gms in 100 mls
of distilled water). A yellow colour develops.
5) Stir continuously while adding 0.0282 N or 0.282 N silver nitrate (depending
on expected range below 5000 mg/l use 0.0282 N and above use 0.282
N) on a drop by drop basis.
6) The end point is reached when a reddish tinge appears and persists for
30 seconds. Do not titrate to brick red as this is too far past the end
point.
7) Note the amount of silver nitrate required to reach the end point.
calculations
Report the chloride ion concentration of the ltrate in mg/l, calculated as
follows:
Chloride, (mg/l) =
1000 x (0.0282 N silver nitrate, ml)
ltrate sample ml

Or when using 0.282 N silver nitrate
Chloride, (mg/l) =
10000 x (0.282 N silver nitrate, ml)
ltrate sample ml
To convert units:
Chloride, (ppm) =
(Chloride, mg/l) ___
Specic gravity of ltrate
Salt (NaCl), mg/l = (1.65) x (Chloride, mg/l)
interpretation
The Cl

ion does not deplete, so once a system has been established the
concentration should remain constant.
Any variation in established concentration could be indicative of a; fresh
or salt-water ow, seawater or freshwater additions, planned or evaporite
formations being drilled.
Chloride level on its own is not a reliable indicator of the amount of active ion
(potassium) present and so more emphasis should be placed on the specic
test for that ion.
phpa content
discussion
PHPA (partially hydrolysed polyacrylamide) is a polymer specically designed
to provide encapsulation of claystone cuttings, thus preventing dispersion
and facilitate solids removal on surface.
Very high molecular weight, long chain anionic polymers are selected and the
adsorption of these chains at numerous positively charged sites around the
clay cutting results in a gelatinous coating which retards the movement of
water into the clay and consequently slows the processes of hydration.
23
Further to this a viscous ltrate is produced which slows water penetration
into the formation.
The requirement for PHPA is dependent on the types of formations to be
drilled and the ROP experienced. PHPA will be depleted constantly and once
a new system has been circulated into the well and initial screening problems
have passed the concentration should rapidly be increased to program
requirements.
As drilling continues it will be necessary to constantly add PHPA to maintain
levels and hence optimise the inhibitive environment.
Regular monitoring is required to ensure sufcient free polymer is available
in the uid achieve the expected results. The test involves connecting two
Erlenmeyer asks with a rubber tube. One ask contains the sample to be
tested and the other a mixture of boric acid and methyl red indicator. At the
end of the test the acid / indicator mix is titrated to determine the amount of
PHPA that was in the sample.
Hot plate magnetic stirrer
2 x 125 ml Erlenmeyer asks
Magnetic stirring bar
Distilled water
2% by weight Boric acid solution
Methyl red indicator
6 N Sodium Hydroxide solution
2 - 3 ft (0.6 - 0.9m) of Tygon tubing
#6 rubber stopper with a
1
/
4
hole
0.02 N sulphuric acid solution
Silicon defoamer (i.e. Dow-Corning 84, AFC-78)
2 x
1
/
4
OD glass tubing each 3 or 4 inches (7.5 - 10 cm) long
procedure
1) Attach the two glass tubes to the ends of the Tygon tubing and t one
of them into the rubber stopper so the end of the tube just ts ush with
the bottom of the stopper.
2) It is important the glass tubing be ush with the bottom of the rubber
stopper. If the glass tube protrudes below the stopper the caustic solution
being distilled will collect around the exposed tube and be sucked up and
over to the boric acid solution. This will lead to erroneous results.
3) To one ask add 25 ml of the Boric acid solution and 6 drops of methyl red
indicator. The solution will turn a red / pink colour.
4) To the other ask add 50 mls of distilled water, 2 ml of silicone defoamer
and 5 mls of whole mud.
5) If foaming is a problem, or the mud bumps over, more defoamer can be
used for the next test.
6) Place the ask containing the mud on the hot plate/stirrer and begin
stirring.
7) Add 3 mls of 6N sodium hydroxide solution and immediately t the ask
with the rubber stopper.
8) Submerse the other end of the tubing into the boric acid/methyl red
solution and begin heating the mud sample.
9) Ensure the receiving ask is at a lower level than the one being heated to
allow the distillate to run downhill.
If an ammonia
odor is detected
as the solution
in the ask boils,
immediately
stop the test. An
ammonia odor
indicates leakage
from the ask
24
Section
3awbm testing procedures
10) Heat for 60 minutes during which time approximately 20 to 25 ml of
distillate should collect.
11) The temperature setting at which to distil should be so as not to cause
boil over (which invalidates the test), but to give a gentle boil which
causes distillate to condense at the top of the glass tubing. Hence the
distillate isnt boiled across but merely collects in the tubing and runs
down to the boric acid solution. Do not try to adjust the temperature
too much during heating as it can induce a pressure differential and
suck back the distillate, invalidating the test. Experience will show what
temperature setting on the hot plate is the most effective. Once this has
been established simply set the hot plate to that setting and leave it for
the duration of the test.
12) The boric acid solution should now be yellow.
13) Titrate the acid back to its original starting colour with the 0.02 N sulphuric
acid solution and record the amount of acid used.
calculation
The result will be read from a standard graph that has been prepared using
a known concentration of the particular PHPA to be used. It is recommended
to use powdered PHPA, as this is usually 100% active, whereas liquid PHPA
usually has between 30 40% active constituent.
0.0
0.5
1.0
1.5
2.0
2.5
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Millilitres of N50 Sulphuric Acid
P
H
P
A

(
l
b
/
b
b
l
)
Example of PHPA Concentration Curve
Example of PHPA concentration curve
interpretation
This test will establish the rate at which PHPA is being depleted from the
system and thus allow the treatment rate to be varied accordingly.
Maintaining the correct level of PHPA will decrease overall mud expenditure
by reducing the amount of dump and dilute treatments required to maintain
key mud properties such as ltration and viscosity.
As well as regularly doing this test it is essential to observe the cuttings at the
shakers. The cuttings should have a glossy appearance and remain discrete
when squeezed into a ball and then released. If this is not the case then,
no matter what the test result indicates, the PHPA concentration should be
increased.
25
potassium ion direct reading potassium ion
meter
discussion
Potassium chloride is added to water based muds as source of potassium
ions. The potassium ions have a dehydrating effect on potentially swelling
clays by exchanging with sodium ions on the active clay surfaces.
While drilling reactive formations potassium ion levels can deplete while
chloride levels remain constant. It is apparent therefore that the mud must be
checked specically for excess potassium.
The actual level of potassium required to provide adequate uid inhibition
is dependent on the level of exchangeable ions in the formation clay and to
a lesser extent on the make up water. A higher level is required in seawater
based uid in order to overcome the competitive effect of the sodium present
in the seawater. For this reason it is better for KCl / polymer type muds to be
freshwater based.
An Orion PerpHecT Model 370 meter or similar is suitable for use offshore.
This method is intended to be used for the analysis of ltrate samples only and
NOT whole mud samples!!
procedure
1) Carefully assemble and condition the electrode as per manufactures
instructions.
2) Calibrate the meter using known Potassium standards (ref manufactures
instructions). These standards should span the expected Potassium
concentration range to be measured. They should be prepared by diluting
0.1M Potassium Standard solution with distilled water. Use accurate
glassware and pipettes for all measurements. Ensure they are all thoroughly
clean and dry before use. It is recommended to check the meters calibration
every couple of days and to make fresh calibration standards every well.
3) Take 1 ml of mud ltrate sample and dilute with distilled water to reduce
the concentration to within the range of the calibration standards. Add
manufacturers recommended amount of Potassium ISA to sample as this
will ensure correct pH and reduce the effect of interfering ions. Ensure all
glassware is thoroughly cleaned with distilled water and dried before use.
It is important to realise that it is very easy to contaminate a test sample by
dirty glassware.
4) Stir all standards and samples at a uniform rate during measurement. It is
not recommended to use a magnetic stirrer as it may generate sufcient
heat to change solution temperature.
5) Samples or standards should be measured at ambient room temperature
for best results.
6) Always rinse electrode thoroughly with distilled water after use and store as
per manufacturers instructions. Do not wipe or rub the electrodes sensing
membrane as you may contaminate and damage the surface.
calculations
Direct reading Potassium ion meters return direct Potassium concentrations.
Simply multiply the result by the dilution factor used on the ltrate sample to
obtain the actual ltrate Potassium ion concentration. Formulae or charts can
be used to convert the results into KCl % by wt, ppb or mg/l. etc.
26
Section
3awbm testing procedures
interpretation
The test reveals the rate of potassium exchange by reactive clay surfaces.
Again the test must be viewed in conjunction with the observed condition of
the cuttings at the shakers. Soft and unconsolidated cuttings could indicate an
increase in potassium level was required even though the test may indicate the
programmed concentration was present.
potassium ion sodium perchlorate method
(steiger method)
discussion
As potassium ion direct reading above
The test is not as accurate as the specic ion meter but has proved useful for
revealing trends and should be used where a meter is unavailable or out of
service.
The test involves precipitating potassium, centrifuging the precipitate formed
and then comparing the volume with a pre prepared standard graph to
determine amount present.
procedures
1) Prepare a standard curve for a range of known concentrations by
Preparing standard solutions over the range of 1 to 8% KCl by adding
the appropriate amount of standard potassium chloride solution (0.5
ml = 1%, the equivalent of 3.5 lb/bbl or 9.99 kg/m
3
) to centrifuge
tubes and diluting to the 7cc mark with distilled water.
Adding 3 ccs of Sodium Perchlorate solution to each tube.
Centrifuging for one minute at approximately 1800 revs. With the hand
crank centrifuges normally provided offshore some practice will be
required to ensure consistency from test to test.
Plotting mls of precipitate against lb/bbl (kg/m
3
) of potassium chloride
using rectangular graph paper. Obviously this procedure will only need
to be done once at the commencement of drilling.
Example of KCl Concentration Standard Curve
Example of KCl Concentration Standard Curve
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
1.2
1.4
1.6
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
% KCl
M
i
l
l
i
l
i
t
r
e
s

o
f

P
r
e
c
i
p
i
t
a
t
e
27
2) Measure 7 mls of ltrate into the centrifuge tube.
3) Add 3 mls of Sodium Perchlorate solution.
4) Centrifuge for one minute at approximately 1800 revs.
5) Read the precipitate volume immediately.
calculations
Determine the potassium chloride concentration by comparing to the,
previously prepared, standard graph.
interpretation
As potassium ion direct reading above
mbt test
discussion
The cation exchange capacity (CEC) is a measure of the potential reactivity
of the clay components of mud solids or shales. Clay minerals all exhibit ion
exchange behaviour to some degree. Isomorphous substitution of various
cations onto a clay surface depends on the number of available exchange
sites per unit weight of solids, reported in lb/bbl bentonite equivalent or
meq/100 g.
Cation exchange capacities in clay minerals are not a very precise or
fundamental quantity, as it varies signicantly with pH. Some reported CECs
are as follows;
Vermiculites 120 - 200 meq/100g
Smectites 80 - 150 meq/100g
Illites 10 - 40 meq/100g
Kaolinite 1 -10 meq/100g
80 % of all sedimentary rocks are shales, which are generally composed of
varying proportions of these clay minerals. The CEC of shales can generally
be classed as follows;
Non-dispersive 0 - 10 meq/100g
Moderate dispersion 10 - 20 meq/100g
Dispersive 20 - 30 meq/100g
Highly dispersive > 30meq/100g
Increasing MBT values indicate both an increases in solids content, (whether
clay or no), and/ or a decreases in particle size distribution. Both of these
conditions are undesirable as ultimately they lead to deterioration in mud
properties and a consequent increase in mud costs.
The test is one of the key triggers for dump and dilute treatments and so due
care and attention must be given to the procedures and the interpretation of
the results.
An upper limit for MBT values will be given in the mud program and this
reects a level above which, experience has shown, the efciency of the
system is compromised.
28
Section
3awbm testing procedures
equipment
Methylene Blue Solution ( 3.74 USP grade)
3% Hydrogen Peroxide
5 N Sulphuric Acid
125 ml Conical Flask
25 ml Graduated Measuring Cylinder
Hot plate
Stirring Rod
Filter paper, Whatman No 4
2 x 5ml Syringes
0 ml Burette and clamp stand
procedures (mud solids)
1) Measure 2.0 mls of mud into the 125 ml conical ask.
2) Add 15 ml of the 3 % hydrogen peroxide using a measuring cylinder.
3) 1 ml of the 5 N Sulphuric acid using a clean syringe.
4) Swirl mixture gently to ensure mud solids are completely dispersed within
the mixture.
5) Place conical ask on a hotplate and heat gently until simmering. Leave
to simmer for about 10 minutes.
6) Dilute to approximately 50 ml with distilled water and stir.
7) Add 1ml increments of the methylene blue indicator via a burette and
swirl the ask vigorously for 30 seconds.
8) After each addition dip the end of the stirring rod into the solution and
apply a drop to the lter paper.
9) The end point is reached when the colour of the blue solids containing
droplet migrates away from the nucleus to form a light blue/turquoise
halo.
10) Once you reach the end point it is
important to keep stirring the mixture
and dropping further solution onto the
lter paper to ensure the end point is
persistent and has actually been reached.
Cation exchange is a time dependent
process and the solution will go on
reacting if all the sites have not been
completely exchanged.
calculations
Bentonite (equivalent) ppb = mls of methylene
blue solution X 2.5
procedure (shale)
1) Dry shale at 220 F (104 C) in an oven for 16 hours.
2) Grind shale using a pestle and mortar
3) Weigh 0.57 g of powdered shale into the conical ask and repeat steps
ii - xiii in the Mud Solids procedure above.
29
calculation
CEC (meq/100g) = mls of methylene blue solution x 1.95
This test, in association with the solids content, tells us something about the
type, size and therefore the active surface areas of solids in the mud.
interpretation
The result of this test could be the trigger for dump and dilute treatments
depending on the activity of the formations being drilled.
However in formations of low activity the low gravity solids content may
reach undesirable levels before the MBT reaches the programmed upper limit.
In this case the LGS content becomes the trigger point.
In cases where the LGS content remains low but the MBT reaches trigger point
whole mud dilution is the only solution there is either a build up of highly
active clay or, more likely, a problem with ultranes / colloidal material.
glycol cloud point and % by vol
concentration
discussion
TAME (thermally activated micro emulsions) polyols are used primarily
to stabilise reactive clays and to minimise pressure transmission through
tectonically stressed shales.
In order to optimise the benets of the clouding point mechanism of TAME
polyols, it is necessary to engineer the cloud point. For optimum performance
from cloud point polyols, the cloud point should be maintained close to, or
slightly lower than the BHCT (bottom hole circulating temperature).
Generally TAME polyols are effective at concentrations of 2 3% by volume of
the aqueous phase
Note: the percentage volume of polyol is always expressed as a percentage of
the aqueous phase and not of the whole mud.
Depletion of the polyol concentration while drilling is usually very low.
Consequently, the key to maintaining an adequate concentration in the
active mud system is to ensure that all new mud added to the active
system contains 3% by vol and any direct water additions, intentional or
unintentional, are compensated for by appropriate additions of glycol.
30
Section
3awbm testing procedures
equipment
Hot plate
10 ml measuring cylinder
Thermometer Mercury or Alcohol
procedure cloud point
1) Collect at least 3 ml of ltrate in a 10 ml glass cylinder.
2) Put the 10 ml glass cylinder in a conical ask of water.
3) Heat up slowly on a hot plate.
4) Using either a mercury or alcohol thermometer take the temperature
of the ltrate as soon as it starts to become cloudy. This temperature is
called the cloud point.
calculations
Knowing the cloud point and the KCl concentration, derived from either
the potassium ion direct reading or potassium ion sodium perchlorate,
the polyol concentration can be obtained from empirically derived charts
showing polyol concentrations as a consequence of KCl concentration versus
cloud point temperature.
Where a blend of different cloud point polyols are being used, it is not
possible to determine the polyol concentration by the above method. In
these situations it is necessary to track the concentrations by the material
balance method.
interpretation
By increasing the concentration of either the KCl and/or the polyol the cloud
point can be lowered. Conversely by decreasing the concentration of either
the cloud point can be raised. By utilising this the cloud point can be
engineered for downhole temperatures in order to achieve optimum stability
when drilling reactive claystones or stressed shales.
Reliable BHCT can be obtained from the downhole measure while drilling
tools (eg. MWD or FEWD).
The cloud point, BHCT and polyol % by vol should be recorded on the daily
mud report as part of each full mud check.
garrett gas train - sulphides
discussion
The presence of hydrogen sulphide in a drilling uid can be lethal to personnel
as well as being damaging to equipment and mud properties.
Hydrogen sulphide will dissolve in the uid and remain in solution until
saturation point has been reached when it will break out.
It is very important to know if H
2
S is entering the uid and it is obviously
advantageous to detect it before it is picked up by gas detectors, after having
broken out on surface.
31
Low and high range Drger analysis tubes, the rst marked `H
2
S 100/a- CH
29101 and the second `H
2
S 0.2%/A - CH 28101. Ensure the Drger tubes to
be used are within their use by date.
Drger Multigas Detector Hand Operated Vacuum Pump, Model 31.
Stopcock: (2-way bore): 8 mm glass with Teon plug.
Sulphuric Acid: 5N, reagent grade.
Hypodermic syringes: one 10 cc. (for acid), and one each 10 cc, 2.5 cc and
1.0 cc (for sample).
Hypodermic needles: two 1.5 inch (38 mm) with 21 gauge needles.
Octanol defoamer in a dropper bottle.
Inert Carrier Gas: Nitrogen (N
2
) bottle with low pressure regulator
(preferred), or Nitrous oxide (N
2
0) cartridges.
Deionised water.
Syringe to inject
Acid and Aktao E
Injection Tube
Rubber Bung
Dispersion
Tube
Gas Supply
1 2 3
Drger
Tube
Exhaust
Exhaust
Flowmeter
Mud Magnetic
Stirrer
Magnetic
Stirrer Pellet
Porous China
Membrane
Ensure
Drger tubes
are within
their use by
date
The presence of hydrogen sulphide in the mud manifests itself in two ways as
it goes into solution. Firstly there will be a rapid drop in the pH as hydrogen
ions are neutralised. Secondly soluble sulphides will appear in the mud.
Measuring the latter of these two will provide conclusive evidence of hydrogen
sulphide in the mud.
Active soluble sulphides can be analysed and monitored because of their
characteristic reaction with acid that involves the release of H
2
S gas.
The test is performed on mud ltrate.
equipment
Garrett Gas Train: consisting of a transparent plastic gas train, an inert gas
supply (CO
2
N
2
or N
2
O) with pressure regulator, a oating ball owmeter
and a Drger tube.
Flexible tubing.
32
Section
3awbm testing procedures
procedure
1) With the regulator backed off install and puncture a CO
2

cartridge in the
carrier gas assembly.
2) Add 20 ml of distilled water to chamber one.
3) Add 5 drops of Octanol to chamber one.
4) Add the required volume of mud ltrate into chamber 1 as determined
by which Drger tube is to be employed and an estimate of the sulphide
range.
Sulphide Sample Drger Factor
Range Volume Tube Tube
(mg/l)

1.5 - 30 10.0 ml H
2
S 100/a 12

3 - 60 5.0 ml 12

60 - 120 2.5 ml 12

60 - 1020 10.0 ml H
2
S 0.2%/a 600

120 - 2040 5.0 ml 600

240 - 4080 2.5 ml 600
5) Select a Drger tube for the estimated range as per the table above and
break the tip from each end.
6) Install the tube with the arrow pointed down in the receptacle bored in
the corner of the train. Be sure the O-ring seals.
7) Install the clean, dry ow meter tube with the word TOP upward. Be
sure the O-ring seals.
8) Install the top on the gas train and hand tighten all screws evenly to
seal.
9) Attach the exible tubing to the dispersion tube and to the Drger
tube. Use only latex or exible, inert plastic tubing. Do not clamp the
exible it does not require it and will provide pressure relief in the
event of over pressurisation.
10) Adjust the dispersion tube to 0.5 cm from bottom.
11) Put 10 ml of 5N Sulphuric acid into the hypodermic syringe.
12) Gently ow CO
2
for 15 seconds to purge the system, checking for leaks.
Stop the ow.
13) Slowly inject the 10 ml of acid into chamber one through the rubber
septum.
14) Restart the carrier gas ow and adjust the ow so that the ball is between
the red lines. (200 to 400 cm
3
per minute one CO
2
cartridge should
provide between 15 and 20 minutes of ow at this rate).
15) Continue owing for a minimum of 15 minutes.
33
16) Observe changes in the appearance of the Drger tube and record the
maximum darkened length, in units marked on the tube, before the front
starts to smear.
Any soluble sulphites in the uid will, upon the addition of acid,
convert to sulphur dioxide (SO
2
) gas that can interfere with test
results.
In the low range tube this manifests itself as diffusion at the front
of the sulphide stain. The stain itself may be of a lighter colour than
when SO
2
is not present and a lower reading may be attained.
It is important to note that while SO
2
can produce a negative error it
does not falsely indicate a positive H
2
S reading.
In the high range tube an orange colour may appear ahead of the
black front if sulphites are present in the sample. The orange section
should be ignored when darkened length is recorded.
calculations
Using the sample volume, the Drger tubes maximum darkened length and the
tube factor the sulphides present are calculated as:

For the higher range tube it may be necessary to correct the tube factor.
The tube factor is based on a batch factor (stencilled on the box) of 0.40.
If a different batch factor is stencilled on the box a corrected tube factor
should be calculated as follows:


interpretation
Any indication of soluble sulphides in the mud would indicate the
presence of H
2
S gas. With water based muds it is vital to remember that
H
2
S can be a by-product of degrading drilling uid additives. Make sure
biodegradation is eliminated as a source of H
2
S before starting treatment
programs.
It may be the case however that the presence is due to the release of
gas from the pore spaces of the rock actually being drilled. In this case
ensuring proper overbalance and maintaining alkalinity is sufficient to
control any hazard.
This is not suitable for dealing with influxes, as the alkaline neutralisation
of H
2
S is instantly reversible by reductions in pH. In these cases a
scavenger, such as zinc oxide, should be added to convert soluble sulphides
into an insoluble precipitate, thus removing them permanently from the
equation.
Where H
2
S is expected it is advisable to pre-treat with a scavenger.
However with a scavenger in the system no indications of H
2
S will be
picked up, by conventional means, until the scavenger has been used up.
Thus while a scavenger increases safety levels it makes detection of small
amounts of H
2
S very difficult indeed.
Suldes mg/l =
darkened length x tube factor
sample volume ml
actual batch factor
0.40
Corrected tube factor = 600 x
34
Section
3awbm testing procedures
garrett gas train - carbonates
discussion
This method of quantifying the amount of soluble carbonate, bicarbonates
and carbon dioxide in the mud filtrate is far more accurate than the P
f
: M
f

relationship.
Carbonate or bicarbonate contamination usually occurs as a result of CO
2

influxes or over treatment with soda ash or sodium bicarbonate when
treating out cement contamination. They can also result as a consequence
of thermal degradation of organic compounds such as lignosulphonates and
lignites at temperatures >300 F (148.9 C). The final source of carbonates
can be contaminated Barite.
The test is based on converting all bicarbonates and carbonates to CO
2
,
which is then evolved by bubbling an inert carrier gas through the sample.
The gas stream is collected and subsequently drawn through a Drger tube
at a fixed rate. The amount of total soluble carbonates is then calculated
based on the length of the purple stain in the Drger tube.
The test is performed on mud ltrate.
equipment
Garrett Gas Train: consisting of a transparent plastic gas train, an inert
gas supply (N
2
or N
2
O) with pressure regulator, a oating ball owmeter
and a Drger tube.
Garret Gas Train Setup for Measuring Carbonates
Flexible tubing: Type inert to carbon dioxide.
Drger CO
2
Analysis Tube: marked CO
2
0.01 %/a - (No. CH-308-01).
Drger One litre Alcotest Gas Bag: (No 7626425).
Drger Multigas Detector Hand Operated Vacuum Pump, Model 31.
Stopcock: (2-way bore): 8 mm glass with Teon plug.
Sulphuric Acid: 5N, reagent grade.
Hypodermic syringes: one 10 cc. (for acid), and one each 10 cc, 2.5 cc and
1.0 cc (for sample).
Hypodermic needles: two 1.5 inch (38 mm) with 21 gauge needles.
Octanol defoamer in a dropper bottle.
Inert Carrier Gas: Nitrogen (N
2
) bottle with low pressure regulator
(preferred), or Nitrous oxide (N
2
0) cartridges.
Deionised water.
Note: Nitrogen is preferred over nitrous oxide as the carrier gas. Because nitrous
oxide cools upon expansion and chills the diaphragm in the regulator,
prolonged ow will cause the regulator to perform erratically.
procedure
1) Be sure the GGT is clean, dry and on a level surface, with top removed.
2) Check bag and pump for leaks. To check the pump, insert a sealed
Drger tube into the pump opening and depress bellows. It will remain
depressed if pump does not leak.
Ensure Drger
tubes are within
their use by
date
35
3) Add 20 ml of deionised water to chamber one.
4) Add 5 drops of Octanol to chamber one.
5) Install the top on the gas train and hand tighten evenly to seal all O-
rings.
6) Adjust the dispersion tube to approx
1
/
4
(5 mm) off bottom.
7) With regulator backed off, connect carrier gas supply to glass dispersion
tube of Chamber one using exible tubing.
8) Flow carrier gas through train for one minute to purge air from the system.
Check for leaks in gas train unit.
9) With bag fully deated install exible tubing from stopcock bag onto the
outlet of chamber three.
10) Inject a measured volume of ltrate into chamber one through septum
with hypodermic syringe and needle. See table
Carbonate Sample Drger Factor
Range Volume Tube Tube
(mg/l)

25 - 750 10.0 ml CO
2
100/a 2.5

50 - 1500 5.0 ml 2.5

250 - 7500 2.5 ml 2.5
Note: For best Drger tube accuracy, the stain length should ll more than half
the tube length, therefore sample volume must be carefully selected.
11) Slowly inject 10 ml sulphuric acid solution into chamber one through
rubber septum using a clean syringe and needle. Gently shake the gas
train to mix acid with sample in chamber one.
12) Open the stopcock on the gas bag. Restart gas ow and allow gas bag to
ll steadily during a 10 minute interval. When bag is rm to touch (do not
burst it!), shut off ow and close the stopcock.
13) Break the tip off each end of the Drger tube.
14) Remove the tubing from chamber three outlet and reinstall it onto
the upstream end of the Drger tube. Attach Drger hand pump to
downstream end of Drger tube.
15) Open the stopcock on the bag. With steady hand pressure, fully depress
the hand pump. Release pump so that gas ows out of the bag and
through the Drger tube. Ten strokes should empty the bag. More than
ten strokes indicates leakage occurred and your results will not be
accurate.
16) Record the stain length in units marked on the Drger tube (include the
faint blue tinge in the purple stain length reading).
17) To clean the GGT, remove the exible tubing and remove the top.
Wash out the chambers with warm water and mild detergent using a
brush. Use a pipe cleaner to clean the passages between chambers.
Wash and rinse the unit with deionised water and allow to drain dry.
Be sure to periodically replace the disposal gas bag to avoid leaks and
contamination in the bag (bag replacement is suggested after 10
analyses).
36
Section
3awbm testing procedures
calculations
Using the sample volume, the Drger tubes stain length and the tube factor
the total soluble carbonates (CO
2
+ CO
3

+ HCO
3

) present are calculated as
follows:

Reaction Amounts:
Lime: 0.00043 lb (.00123 kg/m
3
) treats 1.0 mg/l CO
3

0.00021 lb (.0006 kg/m
3
) treats 1.0 mg/l HCO
3


interpretation
Excessive amounts of carbonates or bicarbonates can cause severe rheology
problems, particularly high and progressive gel strengths, and ltration
control problems. Typically these effects are worse in high solids muds in high
temperature applications. The symptoms are very similar to a build up of very
ne reactive solids. Care must be taken not to confuse the two very different
problems, as their solutions are completely different.
The acceptable concentration of carbonates will always depend on the
concentration of solids, temperature and chemical concentrations. Generally
a range of 1200 - 2400 mg/l is tolerated by most mud systems.
It is recommended that not all the carbonates be treated out. A minimum of
1000 - 1200 mg/l should be allowed to remain in the system.
The presence of carbon dioxide manifests itself in three ways as it goes into
solution. Firstly there will be a rapid drop in the pH. Secondly the ratio between
P
f
and M
f
will increase. Thirdly, depending on the pH, the Ca
++
mg/l might
drop. However, the presence of calcium in the ltrate, as detected in the
Hardness titration does not eliminate the possibility of a carbonate problem.
Always pilot test the proposed solution before treating the active system for
carbonates.
The basic treatment for carbonate contamination is to precipitate the
carbonate with the calcium ion derived from Lime. However, the addition of
calcium will have no effect on bicarbonates. These rst must be converted
to carbonates by addition of OH- ions. This is achieved by additions of
Lime. Bicarbonates cannot exist in the presence of hydroxyls. Under normal
conditions bicarbonates convert to carbonates at a pH above 9.5
Lime is slow to go into solution in most mud systems. This can be accelerated
by adding Lime, mixed in water, via a chemical barrel.
If necessary, Citric Acid can be added to limit the pH increase from Lime.
However, dont prevent the bicarbonates from converting to carbonates by
lowering the pH too much, i.e. <9.5.
If PHPA is a component of the mud system the higher pH necessary to
treat out carbonate contamination will have an adverse effect on it. Fresh
additions of PHPA should be made to compensate once the contamination
has been treated out, the pH reduced to <9.5 and there is no chance of
further carbonate contamination.
Carbonate mg/l =
stainlength x tube factor
sample volume ml
37
silicate testing
the titration method
The procedure describes a method as per SPE 35059 to determine silicate
concentration in the drilling uid. The procedure will also evaluate the
alkalinity (sodium content).
Silicates have an afnity with glass so the test may be carried out using plastic
titration dish. In case only glass beakers etc are available they need to be
washed very thoroughly after every test.
equipment
pH Meter with calomel electrode
Balance, accurate to 0.1g
Stirrer c/w small stir bar
Pipettes, 5 ml and 2 ml
Plastic titrating dish
De-ionised Water
Hydrochloric Acid, 0.2N
Hydrochloric Acid, 2.0N
Methyl Red Indicator Solution
Sodium Fluoride, reagent grade
pH buffers, pH 4 and 10
procedure
blank titration
A blank titration is rst performed to compensate for Silica present in the
reagents.
1) Take 5 ml de-ionized water into the plastic titration dish and add 1 drop
of methyl red.
2) Add 0.2N hydrochloric acid until the colour rst changes to pink.
3) Add 1g Sodium Fluoride. Stir the mixture. The colour changes to yellow.
4) Titrate with 2.0N Hydrochloric Acid to a pink colour change, at pH 6.0.
5) Record the amount of acid used -. A.
alkalinity (sodium content)
1) pH meter should be calibrated.
2) Take 5 ml of de-ionised water into a plastic titrating dish and add 1 drop of
methyl red indicator.
3) Set the beaker on a stirrer, and insert the pH electrode. The indicator
solution is used as a guide, but accurate measurements are against the
pH value.
4) Add a few drops of 0.2N Hydrochloric Acid, until the colour is pink.
5) Pipette 2 ml of ltrate into this beaker. The colour changes to yellow.
6) Titrate with 0.2N Hydrochloric Acid to pH 5.5, or when the colour will
change to pink note the volume of acid used (B).
silica (SiO
2
) content
1) Weigh 1 gm of Sodium Fluoride and add to the above titrated sample. The
colour will change to yellow, and the pH will rise to 8 - 9.
2) Titrate with 2.0N Hydrochloric Acid to pH 6.0, and record the volume of acid
used (C).
38
Section
3awbm testing procedures
calculation
alkalinity
For a 2 ml sample:

Where:
A is ml of acid to rst colour change
N is acid normality (0.2 N)
V is ml of ltrate sample
silica (SiO
2
)
For a 2 ml sample
Where:
C is the volume of 2.0N Hydrochloric Acid used in the titration,
A is the volume of acid used in the blank correction (typically <0.1 ml),
N is the normality of the acid (2N).
To convert g/l SiO
2
to % vol/vol Silicate in system
% vol Silicate = g/l SiO
2
x 0.2237
Where the S.G. of Silicate is 1.475, with a SiO
2
activity of 30.3% wt.
15000 x N x
(
C-A
)
2
(
samplevol
)
ppm
(
mg/I
)
SiO
2
=
15 x N x
(
C-A
)
2
(
samplevol
)
g/I

SiO
2
=
31,000 x A x N
V
Na
2
O=
47,000 x A x N
V
K
2
O=
(
mg/L
)
(
mg/L
)
15000 x N x
(
C-A
)
V
SiO
2
=
(
mg/L
)
section 3b
naf testing procedures
mud density 2
funnel viscosity 4
rheology 4
hthp fltrate temperatures up to 300 F (148.9 C) 7
retort analysis oil base mud 11
sand content 12
electrical stability 13
lime content 14
water phase salinity 15
garrett gas train - sulfdes 17
oil on cuttings measurements 20
section 3b
Scomi Oiltools
2
Section
3bnaf testing procedures
mud density
discussion
The Mud Balance is used for mud weight determinations and is the
recommended equipment in the API 13B standard procedures for testing
drilling uids. The mud balance is accurate to within +/- 0,1 lb/gal ( or 0.5 lb/
ft
3
, 0.01 g/ml , 10 g/l). It is designed such that the mud cup, at one end of the
beam, is balanced by a xed counterweight at the other end, with a sliding
weight rider free to move along the graduated scale. A level bubble is
mounted on the beam to allow accurate balancing.
This, most basic, of mud properties is often reported incorrectly due to the
use of an inaccurately calibrated mud balance. The time to check the balance
is not when a well control situation develops but on a routine daily basis.
The mud test kit will contain both standard mud balances and a pressurised
Halliburton mud balance. Both types are calibrated by weighing distilled
water at 70 F (21.1 C) and obtaining a reading of 1.00 SG / 8.33 lb/gal. If this
is not the case adjust the balance by adding or removing lead shot as
required.
Experience has shown that, under normal drilling conditions, the standard
balance gives the same reading as the pressurised balance. For ease of use,
therefore, the standard balance may be routinely used to measure mud
density.
At the rst indication of gas or air entrapment in the mud only the pressurised
balance should be used.
On a tourly basis the pressurised balance will be used to conrm it is reading
the same as the standard balance.
equipment
Standard Mud Balance
Pressurised Mud Balance
procedure standard balance
1) Instrument base must be set on a at level surface.
2) Measure and record the mud
temperature.
3) Fill the mud cup with the mud to
be tested. Gently tap the cup to
encourage any entrapped gas to
breakout.
4) Replace cap and rotate until it is
rmly seated, ensuring some of
the mud is expelled through the
hole on top, to free any trapped
gas.
naf testing procedures
Have you
checked the
mud balance
lately?
Example of standard mud balance
3
5) Holding cap rmly (with cap hole covered with thumb) wipe the outside
of the cup until it is clean and dry.
6) Place the beam on the base support and balance it by using the rider
along the graduated scale. Balance is achieved when the bubble is directly
under the centre line.
procedure pressurised balance
A problem with many drilling uids is that they contain considerable
amounts of entrained gas, leading to inaccurate mud weight measurements
on the standard mud balance. By pressurising the mud cup the entrained
air volume can be decreased to a minimum. The balance operates in much
the same way as standard mud balance except the lid of the mud cup has
a check valve.
1) Follow steps 1 - 5 as for the standard mud balance procedure.
2) Place the lid has been placed on the cup, with the check valve in the
open position, wipe the outside of the cup clean and dry.
3) The pressurising plunger is similar to operating a syringe. The plunger
is lled by submersing the nose of the plunger in the drilling uid with
the piston rod in the completely inward position. The piston rod is then
drawn up, thereby lling the plunger with uid.
4) The nose of the plunger is then placed into the female O ring on top of
the cap. The sample is pressurised by maintaining a downward force on
the cylinder housing in order to hold the check valve open, whilst at the
same time forcing the piston rod inwards. Approximately 50 pounds of
force or greater should be maintained on the piston rod.
5) The check valve in the lid is pressure actuated, i.e. closing as a
pressure is applied. The valve is therefore closed by gradually easing up on
the cylinder housing while maintaining pressure on the piston rod.
6) Having applied pressure to the sample with the pump there should be
no indication of uid leaking back through the nipple. It should not be
possible to depress the nipple by hand if the nipple can be easily
depressed it is a sign that pressure is not being held and a true weight is not
being obtained. Change the O ring and repeat the test.
7) Once the check valve is closed, disconnect the plunger and weigh
the uid as in step 6 of the standard mud balance procedure.
interpretation
The density of an OBM will vary according to the temperature of the sample.
Differences of up to 0.03 SG are normal between ambient and owline
temperatures of 65 C.
Mud weights noted on the mud report will refer to both the density at the
ow line temperature and the density at ambient temperature when the
sample has cooled.
For density control purposes the mud weight will always relate to what is
being measured at owline temperatures as this is the best indicator of what
is actually in the hole at any particular time.
4
Section
3bnaf testing procedures
funnel viscosity
discussion
The Marsh Funnel Viscometer is used for routine viscosity measurements.
The results obtained are greatly inuenced by rate of gelation and density.
The latter varies the hydrostatic head of the column of mud in the funnel.
Because of these variations, the viscosities obtained cannot be correlated
directly with those obtained using the rotational viscometers, and therefore
can ONLY be used as an indicator of mud stability, or relative changes to mud
properties.
The funnel viscosity will be measured in seconds per quart.
The funnel must be calibrated on a regular basis. The viscosity of fresh water
at 70 F (21.1 C) is 26 sec/qt (27.6 sec/l) and any reading above this would
indicate that the spout of the funnel required cleaning. The diameter of the
spout is 3/16 and a hand held drill bit of this diameter should be used to
clear any deposits/cake.
equipment
Marsh funnel
Graduated cup: one quart / litre
Stopwatch
Thermometer: 32 220 F (0 104 C)
procedures
1) Cover the orice with a nger and pour a freshly agitated uid sample
through the screen into the clean, dry and upright funnel until the liquid
level reaches the bottom of the screen.
2) Quickly remove the nger and measure the time required for the uid
to ll the receiving vessel to the one quart (946 ml).
3) Report the result to the nearest second as Marsh Funnel viscosity and the
temperature to the nearest degree.
interpretation
The funnel viscosity is of little signicance in relation to SBM. This is due to
the fact that SBM thin with heat and the result is therefore very temperature
dependent. However, if temperature remains constant, the funnel viscosity
may indicate trends that require further investigation.
rheology
discussion
The rheology will be determined using a Motor Driven Fann 6 speed
Viscometer. Ensure that the Viscometer motor runs at the same electrical
cycles (either 50 hertz or 60 hertz) as the rig power, otherwise erroneous
readings will be obtained. Offshore rigs usually operate on 60 hertz.
All Viscometers sent to the rig site must have been recently calibrated and
carry a label noting the date of the last calibration.
5
Drilling uid is contained in the annular space between two concentric
cylinders. The outer cylinder or rotor sleeve is driven at a constant
rotational velocity. The rotation of the rotor sleeve in the uid produces
a torque on the inner cylinder or bob, and the dial attached to the bob
indicates displacement of the bob. This is the standard procedure
recommended by API 13B for eld testing oil based drilling uids.
Instrument constants have been adjusted so that the Bingham plastic
viscosity and yield point can be obtained by using the readings at 300 rpm
and 600 rpm.
The six readings will be taken at 120 F (48.9 C). A heated cup will be used
for this purpose. Synthetic Base Muds exhibit thinning tendencies with
temperature and so it is still necessary to standardise this test by taking the
readings at the same temperature on each occasion.
The thermometer used must be calibrated against a mercury or alcohol
type thermometer to conrm its accuracy. To adjust the thermometer,
simply use a small spanner to turn the nut on the back of the dial so that
the thermometer reads the same temperature as the mercury or alcohol
thermometer.
The rheometer readings may be taken at a higher temperature, to reect
ow line temperatures, if required. However, to avoid confusion and to allow
comparisons between wells, only the 120 F (48.9 C) readings will be entered
in the mud check columns on the mud report. Readings taken at higher
temperatures can be noted in the comment section.
Note: Maximum operating temperature is 200 F (93 C). If uids above
200 F (93 C) are to be tested, a solid metal bob or a hollow metal bob,
with completely dry interior, should be used. Liquid trapped inside a
hollow bob may vaporise when immersed in high temperature uid and
cause the bob to explode.
The gelling characteristics of the uid can be determined from taking a
10 second and a 10 minute gel reading. Consequently there is no
requirement to take a 30 minute gel under normal circumstances. However
if increasing rheology is becoming a problem a 30 min gel should also
be taken in order to determine the effectiveness of the treatment program.
equipment
Fann 35, 110 volt or 120 volt, powered by a two
speed synchronous motor to obtain speeds of 3, 6,
100, 200, 300 and 600.
Mud cup
Stopwatch
Thermometer 0 104 C
procedures
1) Stir the sample at 600 rpm while the sample is
heating, or cooling, to 120 F (48.9 C). Ensure the dial
reading has stabilised at this speed before noting
the result and proceeding to the 300, 200, 100, 6
and 3 RPM speeds.
When checking oil
base mud systems
it is recommended
to insert the
thermometer in
the actual uid to
ensure the correct
testing temperature
has been reached
Example of 6 Speed
Rheometer
6
Section
3bnaf testing procedures
2) Having taken the 3-RPM reading stir the sample at 600 RPM for 30 secs
before taking the 10-second gel at 3 rpm.
3) Restir the sample at 600 rpm for 30 seconds and leave undisturbed for
10 minutes, ensuring the temperature stays at 120 F (48.9 C). Take the
10 minute gel reading at 3 rpm.
calculations
Apparent Viscosity (AV) in = 600 reading 2
Centipoise (cps)
Plastic Viscosity (PV) in = 600 reading - 300 reading
Centipoise (cps)
Yield Point (YP):
Yield Point (YP) in lb/100 ft
2
= 300 reading PV
Yield Point (YP) in Pa = (300 reading PV) x 0.48
Power Law Index (n) = 3.32 log (600 reading / 300
reading)
Consistency Index (K):
Consistency Index (K) in Ib/ 100 ft
2
= 600 reading / 1022
n

Consistency Index (K) in Pa = (600 reading / 1022
n
) x 0.48
Gels:
Gels in lb/ 100 ft
2
= As per 10 sec & 10 min reading
Gels in Pa = (As per 10 sec & 10 min reading)
x 0.48
Note: If the 600 rpm reading is off scale then the PV and YP can be calculated
as follows;
YP in lb/100 ft
2
= (2 X 100 rpm reading) 200 rpm
reading
YP in Pa = [(2 X 100 rpm reading) 200 rpm
reading] x 0.48
PV = 300 rpm - YP
PV (S.I units) =
interpretation
The main focus of attention, with regards to mud rheology, is the 6 rpm reading.
Mud programs will specify a range for the 6 rpm reading and so the other
indicators of rheological properties, i.e. yield point, apparent viscosity,
plastic viscosity and initial gel strengths, become a function of what is
required to meet this low end specication.
300 rpm reading YP
0.48
7
Experience has shown that the initial gel strength will be more or less the
same as the 6-rpm reading.
10 minute gels that show an increasing trend and a widening divergence
from the initial gel are a good indicator of a colloidal solids build up that
may not be detected by solids analysis. This is due to the fact that while
the solids percent may remain the same the actual size of the particles,
and hence the surface area they present to the liquid phase, will decrease as
degradation occurs.
Increasing PV values are also generally a good indicator of a solids build up.
It is important to identify increasing trends at an early stage so that timely
measures may be taken before they reach problem levels.
hthp fltrate temperatures up to 300 F (148.9 C)
discussion
These procedures are for temperatures up to 300 F (148.9 C). If higher
test temperatures are required a porous stainless steel disc will need to
be utilised instead of the normally used lter paper and higher top and
bottom pressures applied. When heating apply 100 psi (690 kPa) to top and
bottom, increase top pressure to 600 psi (4138 kPa) for the test.
This test provides the denitive rigsite answer, (more sophisticated
equipment is available in onshore laboratories), to the effectiveness of the
emulsication package and the quality of the lter cake.
Remember the screen and bomb are a matched pair. The use of
unmatched pieces of equipment may result in it being impossible to get a
result as whole mud breaches the seals at some point during the test. This
is indicated when the pressure gauge on the bottom pressure vessel
suddenly goes off scale.
Continuing bypass problems could be the result of incorrect O rings.
Ensure they are of a rounded, rather than at, prole
HTHP Filtration Cell - Diameter 3 x Height 3.0
OFI specially Hardened Filter paper - Diameter 2.5 / Filtration Area 4.91
sq.in
High Pressure CO
2
supply (600 psi - 4138 kPa)
Stop Clock
10 and 25 ml measuring cylinders
8
Section
3bnaf testing procedures
procedure
1) To standardise this test the following procedure must
be adhered to. Backpressure is applied during the test
to avoid ltrate evaporation.
2) Allow the heating jacket to reach the required
temperature.
3) Check out all the O rings on the HPHT bomb and lid.
Change out any damaged rings. The rings to be checked
are the four small stem O rings, which tend to pick up
cuts and grooves with time, and the two large O rings,
one in the lid and one in the cell. The large O rings
should have a rounded prole and be free from dirt.
4) Tighten the bottom valve stem, taking care not to over
tighten, and ll the cell to about 0.5 inch from the rim.
5) Place a lter paper on the rim and put the lid on the cell.
Ensure the lid stem is open while doing this to avoid
damaging the lter paper.
6) Tighten the six studs in the bomb and close the lid stem.
7) Place the bomb in the heating jacket with the lid facing downwards.
Rotate the bomb until it seats on the locking pin.
8) Place a CO
2
cartridge in each regulator and tighten up the retainers.
9) Place the top regulator on the stem and engage the locking pin. Close
the bleed off valve and turn the regulator clockwise until 100 psi
(690 kPa) is showing on the gauge.
10) Repeat the process with the bottom regulator.
11) Turn the top valve stem 1/4 to 1/2 turn anti clockwise to pressure up the
cell to 100 psi (690 kPa).
12) When the cell reaches the required test temperature open the bottom
stem (1/2 turn) and then increase the pressure on the top regulator to
600 psi (4138 kPa) over +/- 20 seconds.
13) Commence the test. The test should be carried out as soon as the
bomb reaches the test temperature. Leaving the cell for long periods at
high temperatures will produce unreliable results.
14) If the pressure on the bottom regulator increases signicantly above
100 psi (690 kPa) bleed off some of the ltrate into the graduated
cylinder.
15) After 30 minutes, close the top and bottom valve stems. Slack off
the regulator on the bottom collection vessel. Bleed off the ltrate into
the graduated cylinder. Disconnect bottom collection vessel, fully
open the bleed off valve and tip any residual ltrate into the graduated
cylinder.
16) Bleed the pressure off the top regulator.
17) Disconnect the top regulator and remove the bomb from the heating
jacket, allowing it to cool in a safe place.
18) When the bomb has cooled bleed off the trapped pressure by
slowly opening the top valve with the bomb in an upright position.
With the residual pressure bled off invert the cell, loosen the six studs
and remove the lid.
19) Examine the lter paper and report the thickness in 32nds (mm) of
an inch. Comments about the quality of the cake should be noted in the
comments section of the mud report i.e. tough rubbery etc.
Example of HTHP
Filter Press
Do not use nitrous oxide
(N
2
O) as a pressure
source for this test. N
2
O
can detonate when
under temperature and
pressure in the presence
of oil, grease, or
carbonaceous materials.
Use only carbon dioxide
(CO
2
) or nitrogen (N
2
).
If the bottom
pressure rises 20 psi
above the specied
pressure during
the test, carefully
bleed off pressure
by draining a small
volume of ltrate.
9
20) Thoroughly clean the bomb and stems in preparation for the next test.
21) Do not preheat the bomb by resting on the heating jacket.
calculations
The total ltrate volume, both oil and water, should be doubled, as the
standard API press is twice the area of the HPHT cell. Record the volume
of water, if any, in the ltrate and remember that this volume must also be
doubled for reporting purposes.
interpretation
There should be no free water in the ltrate any indication of water would
indicate a problem with the emulsication package that requires immediate
attention.
The oil fraction should be clear with no hint of muddiness. If there is any sign
of mud in the ltrate then the result of the test is void.
Mud in the ltrate would indicate that the O ring seals needed replacing as
whole mud was bypassing the lter paper.
Do not instigate mud treatments on the results of any test that has mud in the
ltrate. Overhaul the equipment and repeat the test.
retort analysis oil base mud
discussion
The accurate determination of the oil, water, high gravity solids and low
gravity solids in an OBM mud relies on the correct usage of the 50 ml retort and
the correct interpretation of the results.
Small errors in the measurement of the solids percentage can result in
seriously erroneous reporting of the drilled solids content. It is apparent that
inaccurate retort results can lead to unnecessary mud treatments aimed at
reducing an apparently out of spec LGS concentration.
It is essential that the retort be run at a high enough temperature to burn
off the heavier fractions of the oil phase. The heavy fraction can easily account
for up to 1% of the total volume and a failure to distil this will result in an
equivalent increase in apparent solids content.
It is critical that the correct mud weight is used in the calculation to determine
the relative concentrations of HGS and LGS. It is commonly the case that
the difference in density between a hot and cold OBM is .03 sg. Using the
owline mud weight when the sample to be retorted has in fact cooled
considerably, and hence increased in density, will give a much higher LGS
content than is actually the case.
The retort mud weight, i.e. the actual density of the mud in the retort as
opposed to the ow line mud weight, will, therefore, be utilised in all
calculations.
10
Section
3bnaf testing procedures
The volume of the retort will be conrmed by lling the cell with distilled
water and checking that 50 ccs is in fact received in the test tube. If 50 ccs is
not consistently obtained with distilled water (it might be necessary to repeat
the check with distilled water to ensure the error is genuine) then, either
the 50 cc retort cell must be replaced with an accurate one, or, a correction
factor must be applied to the volume of distillate actually obtained, as per
the following formula:
Any smoke emerging from the heating jacket is an indication that vapour
is escaping through the threads connecting the upper and lower parts
of the retort cell. If this is noted it is an indication that the tube to the
condenser is, or has been, blocked. A blocked tube will result in the
bottom of the upper part of the retort cell aring to allow an escape
route for increasing pressure. Even if the tube is subsequently cleaned
the aring will remain and is still an escape route for a proportion of the
vapour. This will obviously result in an inaccurate solids measurement. Any
hint of smoke from the heating jacket is an indication that the top part of the
retort cell is damaged and should be discarded.
It can be appreciated that a combination of all, or some of, the factors
mentioned above, i.e. insufcient retort temperature, incorrect mud weight
used in calculations, volume being retorted not in fact 50 ccs, partial escape
of vapour through ared threaded area, can result in wildly inaccurate
determinations of the drilled solids content.
equipment
Three retort sizes are available to the industry, 10 ml, 20 ml and 50 ml. The
latter is recommended for drilling operations, due to its greater precision and
accuracy. Each unit consists of;
Sample cup
Thermostatically controlled heating element
Liquid condenser
Pyrex measuring cylinder (50 ml)
Fine steel wool
Pipe cleaner
High temperature silicone grease
Defoaming agent
Spatula
procedures
1) Ensure retort assembly to be used is
clean and dry. It is vital that all traces trof
previously retorted solids are removed
from the retort cup to guarantee 50 ml of
uid is actually retorted. Remove all traces
of previously used steel wool. Water can
be retained in steel wool when the upper
retort body is washed / cleaned. Failure to
change the steel wool can result in inaccurate
measurements, as this extraneous water will
become included in the total water content.
50
Volume of distilled water obtained ccs
x Volume of distillate ccs
Example of Retort
11
2) Weigh the clean and dry retort cup and lid on the triple beam balance.
3) Add the mud, which has been allowed to cool to ambient temperature,
to the retort cup, gently tap the cup to remove any air bubbles and place
the lid with a rotational movement to obtain a proper t. Be sure an excess
of uid ows out of the hole in the lid.
4) Carefully clean the cup and lid of excess uid and reweigh on the triple
beam balance. The retort mud weight SG is determined as the difference
between the empty and full weights, in grams, divided by 50 (the volume
of mud).
5) Pack the retort body with new steel wool, apply NeverSeez, to the
threads and assemble top and bottom parts. Ensure that the two parts
are fully screwed together. If it is not possible to fully screw together the
two parts, it will be necessary to clean the threads and repeat the above
steps. Failure to get a good seal could result in leakage that will lead to an
inaccurate result.
6) Attach the condenser and place the retort assembly in the heating jacket
and close the insulating lid.
7) Place clean, dry liquid receiver below condenser outlet and turn on
heating jacket.
8) The temperature control should be adjusted so that the retort cell glows
dull red at the end of the distillation and the nal drops coming out of
the retort should be observed to be black (the heavy fraction) and sink
through the clear oil to the meniscus. Ultimately smoke will emerge from
the retort and the distillation is only complete when the smoke stops.
calculations
It will be assumed that all salt in the brine phase is Calcium Chloride.
SG of drilled solids (LGS) = 2.60
SG of Barite (HGS) = 4.25
SG of Base Oil = SGo
Input Data
SG of mud in retort = SGm
Retort % oil = Of
Retort % water = Wf
Retort % solids = Sf

Salinity mg/l =

SG of Brine = SGb (Look up Salinity in specic brine table)
Correction factor = CF (From brine table)
Brine fraction = Bf (Correction factor x Wf)
Corrected Solids = CS [Sf - Salt content (Bf - Wf)]
Then
Average SG of =
Solids (AVSG)
% LGS =

=

% HGS = CS - % LGS
lb/bbl LGS = %LGS x 3.5 x 2.6
mls of 0.282N AgNO
3
x 10,000
% Water100
SGm x 100 -
[(
Of x SGo
)
+
(
Bf x SGb
)]
CS
CS x
(
4.25 - AVSG
)

4.25 - 2.6
CS x
(
4.25 - AVSG
)

1.65
12
Section
3bnaf testing procedures
= %LGS x 9.1
lb/bbl HGS = %HGS x 3.5 x 4.25
= %HGS x 14.87
kg/m
3
LGS = %LGS x (9.1 x 6.2897) 2.205
= %LGS x 25.96
kg/m
3
HGS = %HGS x (14.87 x 6.2897) 2.205
= %HGS x 42.42
interpretation
The control of the low gravity solids content of a OBM system will trigger
the use of centrifuges or dilutions. If mud costs were broken down and
assigned to a particular reason then the control of LGS would probably
account for the bulk of expenditure on most wells. For this reason very careful
attention must be paid to the points outlined in the Discussion section
above.
It is possible to envisage a situation where vast sums of money are spent
treating a non-existent solids problem.
This test is a reliable indication of the condition of a drilling uid on a one
off basis. The results of other tests may change, for example, with shear and
temperature i.e. the rheology may increase, the HTHP lter loss may decrease
without any additions being made to the mud. The LGS content, however,
is something that can be assessed, and tackled if required, without waiting
for trends to be established from further tests.
The calculations are extremely sensitive and a 0.5% difference in total solids
content will have a large affect on the LGS fraction. For this reason, it is
important to be meticulous when taking the volumes of oil, water and solids.
sand content
discussion
It is important to remember that this test is a measure of sand size particles,
which can be of any rock type, or indeed sacked additives, as opposed to just
sand.

If ner than 200 mesh shaker screens are in use, an increase in sand size
particles would be a clear indicator of screen damage requiring immediate
attention.
equipment
2 1/2 diameter sieve (200 mesh, 74 micron)
Plastic funnel to t the sieve
Glass measuring tube marked for the volume of mud to be added in order
to read the percentage of sand directly in the bottom of the tube which is
graduated from 0 to 20%.
procedures
1) Fill the glass measuring tube to the indicated
with mud. Add clean base oil to the next
mark. Close the mouth of the tube and shake
vigorously.
Example of Sand Content
13
2) Pour the mixture onto the screen, add more base oil to the tube, shake
and again pour onto the screen. Repeat until the wash uid is clear.
3) Wash the sand retained on the screen with base oil to remove any
remaining mud.
4) Fit the funnel over the top of the sieve. Invert slowly and insert the
mouth of the funnel into the glass tube. Wash the sand into the tube with
clean base oil.
calculations
Allow the sand to settle. From the graduations on the tube, read and report
the percent by volume of sand size drilled solids (see interpretation below).
interpretation
Some interpretation of the result will need to be made based on the
differential settling speeds of the different materials present. The reported
result should be that proportion of the settled particles that are attributable
to drilled solids. These would be the particles that settle out rst and are
usually followed by calcium carbonates, other types of LCM and undissolved
black powder. The differing particles aggregate, therefore, in clearly
identiable strata and, depending what was being added to the active
system at any given time, the apparent sand content can appear much higher
than it actually is.
The sand content is not really of any signicance with respect to overall mud
properties but is of importance when it comes to wear on mud pump parts
etc. 2% is normally accepted as the upper limit.
Generally speaking the sand content is also useful to gauge the effectiveness
of the shaker screen sizes being employed. If the sand content rises quickly
then this is an indication that ner mesh screens need to be tried. A rapid
increase in sand content over a short period can also indicate that the
shaker screens are torn and need immediate replacing.
electrical stability
discussion
The test will be carried out at 120 F
(48.9 C) or whatever the rheology
temperature is carried out at. The mud to
be tested will be the mud in the heated
cup after the rheology measurements
have been completed.
Regularly check the accuracy of the ES meter with standard resistors
and / or Zener diodes The ES readings should fall within 2.5% of the
expected values; if any of the ES readings fall outside this range, the
instrument should be replaced.
equipment
The electrical stability will be measured with a Fann or OFI digital meter
and reported in volts.
14
Section
3bnaf testing procedures
procedures
1) Before placing the probe in the mud, it is essential to test the meter in
air. The reading should go off scale and the display start ashing. If the
meter does not go off scale, it is an indication that the probe is shorting
out due to an accumulation of detritus between the two prongs. It is
clear that the probe can short out before the end point of the mud
is reached and an erroneous reading will result. The probe should be
carefully cleaned and retested in air to ensure that it now goes off scale
before testing the mud.
2) Place the clean and checked probe in the sample at 120 F (48.9 C)
and use it to stir the uid to ensure homogeneity. Position the probe so it
does not touch the bottom or sides of the heated cup, ensuring the tip of
the electrode is completely immersed.
3) Press the button to initiate the voltage ramp, holding the probe still until
the end point is reached and a steady reading is seen in the digital display.
Note the reading.
4) Repeat the test. The two ES values should be within 5% and anything
greater would indicate a problem with the equipment.
5) The result is the average of the two readings.
calculations
The result is simply the average of the two readings in volts.
interpretation
It is essential to remember that the stability reading is not just a measurement
of emulsion strength and will vary with water percentage and water phase
salinity.
Trends are of more interest than absolute values. A decreasing stability
reading while other mud properties remained constant would be an
indication of decreasing emulsier effectiveness.
lime content
discussion
The measurement of lime in the mud has been the subject of numerous
studies to establish why results often do not match known concentrations.
For example, a brand new mud mixed at the mud plant has 6 lb/bbl
(17.1 kg/m
3
) of lime added and yet the test may indicate only 3 lb/bbl
(8.55 kg/m
3
). Results will also be affected by the combination of contaminants
into the mud system. Magnesium will actually react with the OH ions in the
conical ask as water is added to the demulsied sample during the test and,
thus, no pink colour will develop when phenolphthalein is added.
It should be remembered that this test is measuring the pH of the sample,
as excess lime is dissolve d by the addition of distilled water.
The back titration method has been found to give the most accurate
measurement of the excess lime content of an OBM.
15
equipment
Xylene / Isopropanol (1:1 mixture) or equivalent
250 ml conical ask
Variable temperature and speed hot plate/stirrer with suitable magnetic
beads
Distilled water
Phenolphthalein indicator
0.1N H
2
SO
4
0.1N NaOH
Pipettes
procedures
1) Measure 50 ml of Xylene / Isopropanol (1:1 mixture) into a 250 ml conical
ask.
2) Disperse 1 ml of whole mud into the 50 ml of solvent while mixing on a
magnetic stirrer for 30 seconds.
3) Add 100 mls of distilled water, 10 drops of phenolphthalein indicator and
allow to mix for 5 mins. A strong pink / red colour will develop.
4) Add 10 ccs of 0.1N H
2
SO4 - the red colour will disappear.
5) Back titrate with 0.1N NaOH until a pink tinge returns.
calculations
Alkalinity (Mp) = 10 - ml of NaOH
lb/bbl excess lime = Mp x 1.295
kg/m
3
excess lime = Mp x (1.295 x 6.2897) 2.205
= Mp x 3.69
interpretation
It is important to maintain the lime content as recommended in the mud
program to optimise the emulsication package. Mud companies are often
of the opinion that lime is not required in modern emulsication packages.
However, experience has consistently shown that many mud problems
(thick mud, water in the ltrate etc) can be corrected by restoring a depleted
lime content.
If it is obvious that large lime additions to the mud are not being reected
in test results then increasingly large amounts of lime should not be
continuously added a masking agent is undoubtedly at work.
water phase salinity
discussion
Numerous papers have been generated explaining different ways of
reporting salinity eg ppm CaCl
2
whole mud, mg/l Cl brine phase etc.
This has caused great confusion in the past where apparently wildly
different gures were in fact conveying exactly the same salinity.
It is essential that salinity is always reported as mg/l chlorides in the water
phase i.e. WPS.
16
Section
3bnaf testing procedures
Remember ppm is not the same as mg/l (ppm x brine SG = mg/l)
It will always be assumed that all chlorides in the mud are from Calcium
Chloride i.e. there is no requirement to differentiate between Sodium Chloride
and Calcium Chloride.
equipment
Xylene / Isopropanol (1:1 mixture)
250 ml conical ask
Variable temperature and speed hot plate/stirrer with suitable magnetic
beads
Distilled water
Potassium chromate indicator
0.1N H
2
SO
4
0.282 AgNO
3
.
Pipettes
procedure
1) The chloride titration is a continuation of the lime content test.
2) Add 0.5 ml of 0.1N H
2
SO
4
to remove the pink tinge from the sample
remaining from the lime test (more if required).
3) Add 15 drops of potassium chromate indicator to the colourless sample.
4) While agitating vigorously with the magnetic stirrer, titrate with 0.282
AgNO
3
.
5) The end point is reached at the rst sign of a lasting orange tinge (not
brick red).
6) A heavy precipitate of silver chloride will develop during this titration.
To ensure even distribution of the AgNO3 the magnetic stirrer should
be at a high speed. However, not so high that the sides of the ask
become splashed with sample.
calculations
WPS mg/l =


The result will be reported in mg/l of total Chlorides in the water phase.
interpretation
The accurate calculation of the WPS is obviously dependent on the precise
determination of the water content of the whole mud.
The end point must be consistently picked at the same colour change.
Great care must be taken to ensure that results are consistent over several
samples before embarking on a treatment program to increase salinity
levels. This is because while it is very easy to add salt, large dilutions with
freshwater, base oil and chemicals would be required to reduce the effects of
any over treatment.
mls of 0.282N AgNO
3
x 10,000
% Water100
17
garrett gas train - sulfdes
discussion
The presence of hydrogen sulphide in a drilling uid can be lethal to
personnel as well as being damaging to equipment and mud properties.
Hydrogen sulphide will dissolve in the uid and remain in solution until
saturation point has been reached when it will break out.
It is very important to know if H
2
S is entering the uid and it is obviously
advantageous to detect it before it is picked up by gas detectors, after
having broken out on surface.
The presence of hydrogen sulphide in the mud manifests itself in two ways
as it goes into solution. Firstly there will be a rapid drop in the lime content
as hydrogen ions are neutralised. Secondly soluble sulphides will appear in
the mud.
Measuring the latter of these two will provide conclusive evidence of
hydrogen sulphide in the mud.
Active soluble sulphides can be analysed and monitored because of their
characteristic reaction with acid that involves the release of H
2
S gas.
Since the test is performed on whole mud, strong acids, such as sulphuric
acid, are not used since they would release inert sulphides (from barite for
example) which are non hazardous in normal drilling situations.
By adding citric acid, a relatively mild acid, to a whole mud sample in a
Garret Gas Train it is possible to detect the presence of active sulphides in
the mud.
equipment
A Garret Gas Train (GGT) See detailed diagram.
The GGT separates the gas from the liquid, thereby preventing
contamination of the H
2
S detector by the liquid phase.
Low and high range Drger analysis tubes, the rst marked `H
2
S 100/a-
CH 29101 and the second `H
2
S 0.2%/A - CH 28101.
The two types of Drger tube will span a sufciently wide range for
sulphide analysis of muds. The low range tube is white until H
2
S turns
it brownish black and the high range blue until turned jet black. No
other common mud contaminant or component has this affect.
Citric acid + demulsier solution. This is prepared by dissolving 420
grams of reagent grade citric acid into 100 ml of deionised water and
stirring in 25 ml of Aktao E.
Octanol in a dropper bottle as a defoamer.
A 20 ml hypodermic syringe, with 21 gauge needle, for acid and a
selection of 2.5 ml, 5 ml and 10 ml disposable syringes for oil mud sample
volume measurements.
Magnetic stirrer with plastic or glass covered stirring bar to t into
GGT chamber 1.
18
Section
3bnaf testing procedures
Syringe to inject
Acid and Aktao E
Injection Tube
Rubber Bung
Dispersion
Tube
Gas Supply
1 2 3
Drger
Tube
Exhaust
Exhaust
Flowmeter
Mud Magnetic
Stirrer
Magnetic
Stirrer Pellet
Porous China
Membrane
1) Arrange the magnetic stirrer and GGT body so that the stir bar will rotate
freely to agitate the contents of chamber 1.
2) With the regulator backed off install and puncture a CO
2
cartridge in the
carrier gas assembly.
3) Add the required volume of mud into chamber 1 as determined by which
Drger tube is to be employed and an estimate of the sulphide range
(Chambers 2 and 3 remain empty as foam traps).
Sulphide Sample Drger Factor
Range Volume Tube Tube
(mg/l)

1.5 - 30 10.0 ml H
2
S 100/a 12

3 - 60 5.0 ml 12

60 - 120 2.5 ml 12

60 - 1020 10.0 ml H
2
S 0.2%/a 600

120 - 2040 5.0 ml 600

240 - 4080 2.5 ml 600

4) Select a Drger tube for the estimated range as per the table above
and break the tip from each end.
5) Add 10 drops of Octanol to chamber 1.
6) Install the tube with the arrow pointed down in the receptacle bored
in the corner of the train. Be sure the O-ring seals.
7) Install the clean, dry ow meter tube with the word TOP upward. Be
sure the O-ring seals.
8) Install the top on the gas train and hand tighten all screws evenly to
seal.
9) Attach the exible tubing to the dispersion tube and to the Drger tube.
Use only latex or exible, inert plastic tubing. Do not clamp the exible
it does not require it and will provide pressure relief in the event of
over pressurisation.
procedure
19
10) Adjust the dispersion tube to 0.5 cm from bottom or enough to clear
the stirring bar.
11) Put 20 ml of acid / Aktao E into the hypodermic syringe.
12) Gently ow CO
2
for 15 seconds to purge the system, checking for leaks.
Stop the ow.
13) Start rapid stirring of the contents of chamber 1 while slowly injecting
the acid / Aktao through the rubber septum. Stir for at least 5 minutes
or until the sample is well dispersed with no obvious oil drops.
14) Restart the carrier gas ow and adjust the ow so that the ball is
between the red lines. (200 - 400 cm
3
per minute one CO
2
cartridge
should provide between 15 and 20 minutes of ow at this rate).
15) Continue owing for a minimum of 15 minutes.
16) Observe changes in the appearance of the Drger tube and record
the maximum darkened length, in units marked on the tube, before the
front starts to smear.
Any soluble sulphites in the uid will, upon the addition of acid,
convert to sulphur dioxide (SO
2
) gas that can interfere with test
results.
In the low range tube this manifests itself as diffusion at the front
of the sulphide stain. The stain itself may be of a lighter colour
than when SO
2
is not present and a lower reading may be attained.
It is important to note that while SO
2
can produce a negative error
it does not falsely indicate a positive H
2
S reading.
In the high range tube an orange colour may appear ahead of
the black front if sulphites are present in the sample. The orange
section should be ignored when darkened length is recorded.
17) Thoroughly clean the unit after use.
calculations
Using the sample volume, the Drger tubes maximum darkened length and
the tube factor the sulphides present are calculated as:

For the higher range tube it may be necessary to correct the tube factor.
The tube factor is based on a batch factor (stencilled on the box) of 0.40. If a
different batch factor is stencilled on the box a corrected tube factor should
be calculated as follows:
interpretation
Any indication of soluble sulphides in the mud would indicate the presence of
H
2
S gas. It may be the case however that the presence is due to the release
of gas from the pore spaces of the rock actually being drilled. In this case
ensuring proper overbalance and maintaining alkalinity is sufcient to control
any hazard.
This is not suitable for dealing with inuxes, as the alkaline neutralisation of
H
2
S is instantly reversible by reductions in pH. In these cases a scavenger,
such as zinc oxide, should be added to convert soluble sulphides into an
insoluble precipitate, thus removing them permanently from the equation.
darkenedlength x tube factor
sample volume ml
Suldesmg/I =
actual batch factor
0.40
Corrected tube factor = 600 x
20
Section
3bnaf testing procedures
Where H
2
S is expected it is advisable to pre-treat with a scavenger.
However with a scavenger in the system no indications of H
2
S will be picked
up, by conventional means, until the scavenger has been used up. Thus
while a scavenger increases safety levels it makes detection of small amounts
of H
2
S very difcult indeed.
oil on cuttings measurements
introduction
When drilling with an SBM every effort must be made to minimise losses to
the sea.
The main source of SBM discharge is the shale shakers and is a consequence
of the SBM adhering to the cuttings that are discharged overboard.
A second source of uid loss is through the centrifuges, once again as a result
of SBM adhering to the solids content.
There are two ways of measuring the amount of oil being discharged to the
sea.
Analyses of the amount of oil adhering to the cuttings and centrifuged
solids at any given time.
Analysis of the total amount of oil that has been lost to the sea at the
end of the well. This is a mass balance calculation based on the actual
amount of whole mud discharged during drilling operations.
The rst method gives a snapshot of what is happening at the time the
sample is taken and does not really reect the overall picture. The second
method gives a true measurement of what has actually been lost.
Typical target for Oil on Cuttings analysis is:
Less than 10% oil by weight (Both shakers and Centrifuges) (i.e. less than
100 grams of oil per kilogram of dry cuttings)
The primary variable in determining the percentage of mud associated with
the discharged rock is the size of the cuttings i.e. the larger the cuttings
the smaller the surface area, available for adhesion, for a given volume of
drilled formation. The converse is also true i.e. the smaller the cuttings the
larger the surface area. Other variables include shaker screen size, type of
formation, OWR and rheology.
If available, drying screens should be utilised in an attempt to reduce
the measured Oil on Cuttings (OOC) content to less than 10% by weight.
However this goal should not take preference over utilising the nest
possible screens on the shakers and maintaining the optimum mud
properties for drilling.
OOC analysis should be carried out at least once during every 24 hour
period when drilling has occurred. Testing will be more frequent during
periods of high ROP when a check should be performed at least every 300m
drilled.
21
Centrifuges should be run at such bowl speeds and ow rates as to ensure
the measured OOC is always less than 10% by weight. A check will be
performed, as per the shaker analysis, once in any 24-hour period the
centrifuges have been run.
oil on cuttings analysis
It is important that the weighted average OOC is reported along with
individual daily test results. This is reported as an expression of the percentage
of total cumulated oil discharge of the total cumulated cuttings discharge,
calculated daily.
This is because during periods of slower drilling the OOC is invariably
higher as more nes are generated. However long periods of slow drilling
will result in many days of high oil on cuttings results but not many feet/
meters being drilled this arithmetical average is obviously, therefore a
distortion of the well average.
sampling
1) A representative bulk sample of at least 0.5 kg - 1.0 kg should be taken
and must include material from each deck of all the shakers. This is best
achieved by scanning a suitable container, preferably a wide tray which
will retain all the material i.e. both the solids and liquids, beneath the
discharge of the shakers.
2) The sample would then be thoroughly mulched to ensure a homogenous
sample.
3) Immediately transfer the sample to the mud lab for analysis.
equipment
Proprietary mud, oil and water retort kit with at least three mud chambers.
A 50 ml chamber must be used.
The distillate receiver must be an accurately calibrated 20 ml or 50 ml
measuring cylinder calibrated in 1.0 ml divisions (dependent on amount
of distillate expected).
A triple beam balance capable of weighing to an accuracy 0.1 g under
offshore conditions.
procedure
1) Weigh the distillate receiver.
2) Weigh the empty retort cell (top and bottom screwed together with
both the lid in place and the steel wool in the upper chamber).
3) Unscrew the retort and ll the bottom part with cuttings as completely as
possible, replace the lid and clean off any adhering mud and oil. Re-screw
the upper chamber.
4) Re-weigh the lled assembly.
5) Retort the sample for as long as it takes to burn off all the heavy fractions
of oil.
6) Switch off the heater, remove the mud chamber and allow to cool. Read
off the volume of the water and oil collected in the distillate receiver.
Reweigh the distillate receiver. Reweigh the retort assembly when it has
cooled.
22
Section
3bnaf testing procedures
calculation
The result is calculated by the steps:
A = Weight of chamber (empty with steel wool + lid) gm
B = Weight of chamber and sample gm
C = Weight of empty graduated glass cylinder gm
D = Weight of chamber after heating gm
E = Weight of glass cylinder and distillate gm
F = Volume of distillate mls
G = Volume of water mls
H = Weight of cuttings (B - A) gm
I = Weight of dry solids (D - A) gm
J = Weight of distillate (E - C) gm
K = Weight of oil in distillate (J - G) gm
L = Volume of oil in distillate (F - G) mls
M = Calculate oil on cuttings (K I) x 1000 gm /
kg

Percentage oil on cuttings (M x 100) 1000 %

The content of oil in the cuttings should be expressed as grams of oil per
kilogram of dry retorted solids and in % by weight.
Mistakes have been made due to experimental error eg, the weight of
the dry solids plus oil and water does not tally with the weight wet cuttings
etc. The reporting form is designed to allow easy cross checks at a glance
and so ensure no erroneous results are taken as true.
The weight of wet cuttings (H) should be slightly more than the weight
of dry cuttings (I) + the weight of distillate (J). A slight amount of distillate
would appear to evaporate.
The weight of oil in the distillate (K) should equal the volume of oil (L) x
the SG of the oil.
It all sounds obvious but often these basic sums do not tally. If these simple
crosschecks reveal experimental error then the gures need to be checked
or the test repeated.
check calibration
The heating element in the retort kit can decline in efciency over a period
of time and this needs to be checked. Such checks should be carried out,
for each well drilled with oil based mud:
Prior to drilling with OBM.
At completion of the well.
23
To calibrate a retort the following mixture should be mixed on a Hamilton
Beach mixer at the very high speed setting, adding each component in order
as listed below:
Base Oil 106 mls
Organophilic Clay 1.0 g
Emulsier 3.0 mls
Lime 2.0 g
Fresh Water 28 mls
Wetting Agent 3.0 g
Barite 750 g
Mixing Notes:
The Barite should be added in stages, until the mixer can no longer
incorporate the solids (approximately 650 gm), the remaining Barite
should be thoroughly mixed in with a spatula.
The nal mixture should be of a highly viscous, grainy-looking, semi-
solid nature, but uid enough to allow proper lling of the retort cup.
The above mixture should yield a measured oil/water ratio of 80/20.
Solids content is 56%.
Total volume of the mix is 320 mls and thus one mix should be sufcient
for calibration of a 50 mls retort six times (allowing for the inevitable
losses).
The measured gure of oil on dry retorted solids should be within +/- 10
g/kg of the calculated value.
basic pilot testing and contamination
section 4
p
i
l
o
t

t
e
s
t
i
n
g
introduction 2
designing pilot tests 2
pilot testing equipment 4
interpretation of pilot test results 4
rheological properties 5
retort analysis 6
fltrate analysis 7
cationic exchange capacity of clays 12
fltration 13
static aging 14
section 4
Scomi Oiltools
2
Section
4basic pilot testing & contamination
introduction
Pilot testing of drilling uids is testing performed on proportionately small-scale samples. It is an
essential part of drilling uid testing and treating. Pilot testing minimises the risk of sending a uid
downhole that may be incompatible with the formations to be drilled or that may be ineffective
under downhole conditions. Pilot testing is generally concentrated on the physical properties such
as rheology and uid loss; however, it is important that chemical properties are also evaluated.
Most chemical reactions require heat, mixing and time to drive the reaction. Therefore, it is necessary
to have a means for heating and agitating pilot test samples. Problems such as carbonates and
bicarbonates are not readily detectable and require a complete mud analysis and a pilot test series
with heat aging to determine proper treatment. Without heat aging, it is easy to over treat the
contaminant and create an even more severe problem. Ideally a portable roller oven should be
available at the rig site if extensive pilot testing is required.
Once the anomaly or anomalies of a drilling uids characteristics have been identied via
conventional mud testing, the actual pilot test can begin. Guidelines that are fundamental to the
successful pilot test can be listed as follows:
1. On every test on which analysis is made, a control sample of mud should be taken.
2. If a combination of additives is to be tested, the effect of each additive on the mud should be
determined independently.
3. Some effects of additives will be observed almost instantly while other products may need a
minimum time (e.g., 4 hours hot rolling @ 150 F or 65.6 C) to determine their value.
4. Cost and availability of the products to be tested must always be considered in the nal choice of
conditioning materials.
5. Duplicate the environment of each test as much as possible, i.e., use the same agitation (speed
and mixer), test temperature, volume, mechanical and electrical test devices, etc.
A pilot test sample should be representative of the uid being used. Pilot testing is thus based on
the fact that 1g/350 cm
3
of the sample is equivalent to 1 lb/bbl in 42 gal of the actual mud system.
designing pilot tests
A pilot test or a series of pilot tests must be designed to answer the questions that you have in mind.
Therefore, it is necessary to know exactly the reason for the test. Some typical reasons are:
1. Mud response to downhole conditions, such as:
temperature effects
drilling uncured cement
drilling anhydrite
encountering salt/saltwater ows
acid gas (CO
2
, H
2
S) intrusions
water on water-based mud contamination in oil-based mud
2. Product response as a result of:
purity, material variation (different lot numbers)
concentration
compatibility with other components in the mud
comparison to other products
temperature/contamination
shelf life
basic pilot testing & contamination
3
3. Adjustments to mud properties such as:
weight up/dilution
changing uid loss properties
changing alkalinity/pH
treating carbonate/bicarbonate contamination
reducing hardness
adjusting MBT - clay content of the mud
changing oil/water ratio of oil muds
increasing electrical stability of oil muds
4. Study of effects of breakover, converting or displacement of muds, such as:
displacing water-based mud with oil-based mud or vice versa
converting from freshwater mud to saturated salt mud
breakover to lime or gyp mud
reducing components in mud to convert to bland coring uid
treatment required to convert mud to a packer uid
To determine how to design a pilot test or test series, look at economics and potential for problems
down the road. For example, if you expect to encounter a pressured saltwater ow (16 lb/gal or
SG 1.92) with a 15 lb/gal (SG 1.80) freshwater mud at 350 F (176.7 C), the parameters for testing could
be:
1) maximum volume of saltwater anticipated in the mud
2) weight up to 16 lb/gal (SD 1.92) with and without contaminant (the saltwater)
3) effects of temperature on mud (15 and 16 lb/gal or 1.80 and 1.92 SG) with and without
contamination
4) dilution and thinner treatments
Pilot test design requires calculating amounts of materials to put into the test samples. In pilot
tests, grams are equivalent to pounds and 350 cm3 is equivalent to one 42 gal oileld barrel.
Material balance equations are used for pilot test design. For example, to weigh the 15 lb/gal
(SG 1.80) mud to 16 lb/gal (SG 1.92) without increasing the mud volume, one must calculate how
much 15 lb/gal (SG 1.80) mud to dump and how much barite to add to increase density. For simpler pilot
tests, such as adding only a few lb/bbl (kg/m
3
) treatments, it is not necessary to account for material
balance.
BARITE
100 lbs
42 gallons
(1.0 barrel)
100 lb
350 cm
3
100 g
100 lb/bbl
100 lb/bbl
42 gal
100.0 G
4
Section
4basic pilot testing & contamination
Note: For liquid additives, volumes (gallons, cans, drums, bulk bags) must be converted into weights
(pounds, grams, millilitres) for pilot testing.
Material Specic Gravity lb/gal lb/bbl kg/m
3
Fresh Water 1.00 8.33 350 997.5
Seawater 1.03 8.58 361 1028.85
Diesel Oil 0.84 7.0 294 837.90
Saturated Saltwater 1.20 10.0 420 1197
API Bentonite 2.60 21.6 910 2593.5
Barite 4.2 35.05 1472 4195.2
Calcium Carbonate 2.75 22.9 963 2744.55
Caustic Soda 2.13 17.7 525 1496.25
Lime 2.20 18.3 746 2126.10
Lignite 1.50 12.5 525 1496.25
Gypsum 2.30 19.2 805 2294.25
Lignosulphonate 0.83 6.9 290 826.50
Soda Ash 2.53 21.1 886 2525.10
Salt, NaCl 2.16 18.0 756 2154.60
Rig site pilot tests have distinct practical advantages over sending a mud into the laboratory or
having a laboratory mud prepared for pilottesting. Rig site testing allows actual material and mud
to be used, which allows results to be readily available quicker (which is usually very important), and
allows the rig supervisor and the mud engineer to evaluate and review the pilot test results.
Laboratory pilot tests and planning are both important in preparing to drill a troublesome well.
Both should be done well in advance of anticipated problems. In this case, lab pilot tests are
advantageous in that they can be performed in advance, but then pilot tested again at the rig site
with the actual mud and chemicals.
Note: Protective eyewear (safety glasses or safety goggles) must be worn at all times when mixing
chemicals.
pilot testing equipment
A balance that can weigh from 0.1 to 300 g and a portable oven (preferably roller oven) that can go
to approximately 400 F (204 C) are needed. Mud cells made of stainless steel to hold at least 300
cm
3
of mud at 1000 psi (6897 kPa) a mixer such as a Hamilton Beach mixer are also needed.
Mud testing equipment that is accurately calibrated, along with fresh reagents for titrations are
essential for pilot testing.
interpretation of pilot test results
A single pilot test can give only limited information, but this is often sufcient for the need. Most
often a series of pilot tests (three to ve samples) are required to properly answer the questions.
For every pilot test (single or series) a control sample must be run in parallel with the test
sample. A control sample is the base mud which has not been treated, but which is taken through
all the mixing, heating, rolling, etc. processes. The control is used to aid interpretation of results.
Data is compared between the control and test sample to sort out the effects due to treatment
versus mechanical effects (mixing, rolling or time of exposure).
For example, a mud engineer has an oil mud with a low electrical stability (ES). He pilot tests a
sample with 2 lb/bbl (2 g/350 cm
3
) additional emulsier and shears it on the mixer for 10 minutes.
The ES is much higher than before. He also has run a control sample on the mixer for 10 minutes,
but without the additional emulsier, and obtained almost the same higher ES. Was the emulsier
responsible for the improved ES? No, in this case the shearing gave the improvement. Results of
pilot testing should be thoroughly reviewed before drawing conclusions. Often, one pilot test will
lead to another one or two tests before the answer is satisfactorily clear.
5
rheological properties
plastic viscosity
Plastic viscosity is proportional to rate of shear, thus largely reects the resistance to ow due to
mechanical friction of the particles.
Plastic viscosity is a function of solids concentration and shape. It will be expected to increase with
decreasing particle size with the same volume of solids.
In oil muds, the plastic viscosity decreases with an increase in temperature or oil content.
a) Causes for increase in PV
Drilled solids
Rapid penetration rates with inadequate drilling solids control and extended drilling with a
PDC bit produce more drilled solids particles per unit of volume
Surface additions
Oil additions to water muds; water additions to oil muds; asphalt additions to water or oil
muds. Lost circulation materials; weighting materials, (e.g. graded calcium carbonate, barite,
ilmenite, iron carbonate, galena, etc.)
b) Cross reference
Retort - drilled solids content high
Average specic gravity solids low considering the density of mud.
c) Solutions to reduce plastic viscosity
Dilution
Employment of mechanical solids removal devices
Surfactants (Water or oil wetting agents)
yield point
Yield Point is a function of the concentration of mud solids and their surface charges and potentials which
affect interparticle forces.
Dispersants and deocculants are believed to adsorb on the mud particles. This action changes the
chemical nature of the surfaces and likewise affects the interparticle forces, resulting in viscosity and
YP reductions.
a) Causes for Increase YP
Flocculation due to soluble contaminants produced from formation (e.g., calcium, magnesium,
sulphides, carbon dioxide)
Surface Additives:
Polymers
Clays
Surfactants
Lubricants
Lime
Cement
Detergents
Lost circulation materials
Drilling hydratable shales
pH too low to solubilise deocculants or dispersants
b) Cross References
Filtrate analysis
Methylene blue determination (CEC)
pH
6
Section
4basic pilot testing & contamination
c) Solution to reduce yield point
Reduction of interparticle attraction forces
Chemical thinners
Deocculants
Surfactants
Precipitation of occulating ions
retort analysis
Determine percent by volume of oil, water and solids. Compare results with solids and average specic
gravity of solids graphs.
a) A frequent error encountered in the retort analysis is the result of loading the cell with gas-cut
mud. A higher solids content than actual is therefore calculated.
Causes for increases in the liquid phase originate from formation uids or from surface additions
(inadvertent or on purpose).
Increases of solids can be caused by fast drilling rates, penetration of salts, sands or failure or
absence of solids separating devices.
b) Cross reference
Rheometer - plastic viscosity
Mud balance - rapid density uctuation
c) Solution (see rheological properties - plastic viscosity).
Dilution.
Employment of mechanical solids removal devices (e.g., decanting centrifuges) and/or reduction
of screen size openings of shale shakers and mud cleaners.
Solids Check List for Diagnosing and Treating Non-Dispersed Mud Systems
9
9.5
10
10.5
11
11.5
12
12.5
13
13.5
14
14.5
15
15.5
16
16.5
17
1.08
1.14
1.20
1.26
1.32
1.38
1.44
1.50
1.56
1.62
1.68
1.74
1.80
1.86
1.92
1.98
2.04
14
14
14
14
14
14
13
13
12
11
10
10
9
9
8
8
8
39.94
39.94
39.94
39.94
39.94
39.94
37.09
37.09
34.24
31.38
28.53
28.53
25.68
25.68
22.82
22.82
22.82
3 - 4
5 - 7
7 - 8
9 - 11
11 - 12
12 - 14
14 - 16
16 - 18
18 - 20
20 - 22
22 - 24
24 - 26
25 - 27
27 - 29
29 - 30
30 - 32
32 - 34
29 - 13
60 - 32
83 - 64
115 - 85
138 - 115
160 - 136
194 - 166
230 - 200
249 - 218
270 - 246
300 - 269
336 - 306
360 - 335
380 - 358
420 - 400
455 - 432
475 - 455
83 - 37
171 - 91
237 - 183
328 - 243
394 - 328
456 - 388
554 - 474
656 - 571
710 - 622
770 - 702
856 - 767
959 - 873
1027 - 956
1084 - 1021
1198 - 1141
1298 - 1233
1355 - 1298
0 - 28
0 - 28
0 - 28
0 - 28
0 - 28
0 - 28
0 - 26
0 - 26
0 - 24
0 - 22
0 - 20
0 - 20
0 - 18
0 - 18
0 - 16
0 - 16
0 - 16
lb/gal SG lb/bbl kg/m3 %by vol. lb/bbl kg/m3 lb/bbl kg/m3
0 - 80
0 - 80
0 - 80
0 - 80
0 - 80
0 - 80
0 - 74
0 - 74
0 - 68
0 - 63
0 - 57
0 - 57
0 - 46
0 - 46
0 - 45
0 - 45
0 - 45
ACCEPTABLE RANGE FOR
Mud Wt. Bentonite Barite Drilled Solids Total Solids
7
Relative Proportion of Clay and Barite
S.G. of mud solids 2.6 2.8 3.0 3.2 3.4
% by wt barite 0 18 34 48 60
% by wt clay / drilled solids 100 82 66 52 40

S.G. of solids 3.6 3.8 4.0 4.3
% by wt barite 71 81 89 100
% by wt clay / drilled solids 29 19 11 0
fltrate analysis
Generally, the results from the ltrate analysis will conrm the departure from normal of the values
of yield point and gel strengths from rheological tests.
Increases in mud volume due to liquid or gas intrusions should also be noted. Salt water ows are
almost always accompanied by methane gas. Methane does not affect the chemical properties of
either oil or water-based muds. Hydrocarbon gases can thin an oil-based mud through becoming
dissolved in the base oil.
Sour gases (i.e. hydrogen sulphide and carbon dioxide), are generally found together, although rarely
in one to one proportions. When carbon dioxide is the major component of the intrusive gas, it will
mask the hydrogen sulphide. The reverse, however, is not true.
All salt water ows bring some calcium, magnesium, sodium and chloride ions into the mud.
High concentrations of magnesium chloride in water are not uncommon in North Sea drilling.
Water ows in other areas have shown high concentrations of calcium chloride.
In addition to gases and liquids, soluble formation salts can contribute to the contamination of the
mud system. The common ones encountered are :
Halite, rock salt, (NaCl)
Sylvite (KCl)
Tachhydrite (2MgCl
2
- CaCl
2
- 12H
2
O)
Anhydrite (CaSO
4
)
Gypsum (CaSO
4
- 2H
2
O)
Calcite, CaCO
3
(common name, limestone) and dolomite, (CaCO
3

- MgCO
3
) are not considered
chemical contaminants because their solubilities are too low.
Cements are made from limestone and clay or shale. If the clay or shale does not contain enough
iron and aluminium oxides, these materials are added to the cement. The nely ground raw
material, either wet or dry processed, is red in a rotary kiln and the carbon dioxide is driven
off. The resultant clinker is nely ground and mixed with small amounts of gypsum. This is the
basic common cement. Cement can be considered a contaminant, especially if it is entrained in a
water base mud before it has hardened or set. As much as 2% borax may be found in some
cements. Borax has an extreme viscosifying effect on some polymers, especially the guar family.
8
Section
4basic pilot testing & contamination
Contaminants and Precipitating Chemicals
alkalinity
Most contaminants with the exception of cement will lower the pH and/or alkalinity.
Virtually all water base muds perform better on the alkaline side of neutral. In addition, corrosion
is retarded by an alkaline environment. The exception is when aluminium drill pipe is being used in
which case the pH is controlled below 10 to prevent attack of the metal by hydroxyl ions.
Sodium carbonate (soda ash) and sodium bicarbonate precipitate soluble calcium in water-based
muds. Mud properties, after a continued use of either, become difcult to control. Poor ltration control,
high viscosity and gels and ineffectiveness of dispersants are a result of that treatment. The P
f
-M
f
test is accurate for water but because muds contain ions other than hydroxyls, carbonates and
bicarbonate which interfere with the test, the back titration method (P, P
1
, P
2
) is preferred.
Pm (Pmud) is the test to determine the amount of alkalinity present from soluble caustic soda and
insoluble lime present in the mud.
Lime reacts with sodium bicarbonate to give caustic soda and a precipitate of limestone (CaCO
3
).
The chemical formula for this is as follows:
Ca (OH)
2
+ NaHCO
3
= CaCO
3
+ NaOH + H
2
O
The pH is increased and soda ash is formed:
NaOH + NaHCO
3
= Na
2
CO
3
+ H
2
O
The product soda ash reacts with lime also to give limestone:
Ca (OH)
2
+ Na
2
CO
3
= CaCO
3
+ 2NaOH
Bicarbonate is converted to CO3 and OH ion alkalinity by lime treatment.
Contaminant Chemical to Remove
Calcium soda ash
Calcium w/bicarbonate lime
Gypsum or anhydrite barium carbonate
Magnesium soda ash
Soluble sulphides zinc oxide (OBM)
zinc carbonate (WBM)
zinc chelate (WBM)
sodium chromate
lime/caustic soda
Ironite sponge
Soluble carbonate lime
Soluble bicarbonate lime
Phosphate lime
Sulphate with calcium available barium carbonate
Sodium chloride Dilution
Cement sodium bicarbonate
and/or chemical thinner
9
If the bicarbonate is present as calcium bicarbonate, lime treatment will remove it:
Ca (OH)
2
+ Ca (HCO
3
)
2
= 2CaCO
3
+ 2H
2
O
Lime will not always improve unstable muds high in bicarbonate probably due to the effect of
a high sodium concentration. There is no way to reduce this sodium concentration. Avoidance of
long periods of treatment with soda ash or sodium bicarbonate for soluble calcium is advisable.
Instead, the use of some lime is recommended. Similarly, maintenance of alkalinity with caustic soda
for prolonged periods should be avoided by switching to lime or using a combination of both.
ion analysis
a) Chloride - Cl
-
In water muds, an increase in chlorides signies the penetration of a salt water ow, formation
salt, or the swabbing of a salt water sand by sudden withdrawal of the drill pipe and bit in a near
gauge hole.
Generally, an increase in chlorides is accompanied by an increase in the amount of ltrate; a
decrease in ltrate alkalinity, and an increase in viscosity and gels of the mud.
Dilution and restoration of the alkalinity are recommended. There is no chemical treatment to
precipitate the Chloride ion to render it ineffective.
b) Sulphate - SO
4

- -
Sulphates are usually derived from formation waters and anhydrite or gypsum. Gyppy make-up
water is common in wells or stock tanks. Anhydrite and gypsum are found as formations in
many drilling areas. In the cap rock of salt domes, anhydrite and gypsum are commonly found.
Some drilling uid products that contain sulphates are plaster of Paris (sulphate-hemihydrate),
gypsum, salt cake (sodium sulphate), and cement.
A result of excessive soluble sulphates in water-based muds is ash gels or high 10-minute
gels. An oileld term, soda ash gels, is derived from the addition of soda ash to a water-based
mud, producing high gels when agitation ceases. The sodium ions react with soluble sulphates
to cause ash thickening of some polymers and clays.
Muds treated with chemical thinner and dispersant can tolerate high sulphates. Barium
carbonate can be used to convert the soluble sulphate to an insoluble precipitate of barium
sulphate if enough calcium is available to react with the excess carbonate of the reaction. EPM
of sulphate x 0.0346 equals the lb/bbl (x 0.0987 equals the kg/m
3
) of chemical treatment by
barium carbonate.
The Hach Meter is preferred to the test tube estimation for determining sulphate value even
though dilution of the ltrate sample is necessary.
c) Calcium and Magnesium - Ca
++
and Mg
++
Generally considered together, they are termed total hardness. Soluble calcium and magnesium
are found in salts and formation waters. They are common in make-up water whether it be
from the sea, producing wells, rivers, or stock ponds. The solubility of calcium is 600 - 800 ppm
when derived from gypsum and anhydrite.
10
Section
4basic pilot testing & contamination
Most water based muds can tolerate 200 - 400 ppm of hardness. Filtration control is affected
by the calcium occulating the clays and/or polymers in the drilling uid. Magnesium reacts
generally the same with polymers. Exceptions exist however with certain high quality PAC
materials tolerating magnesium but not working very well with calcium in excess of 1,000
ppm. Calcium will affect the thinning performance of lignite also although it does not inhibit
the thinning ability of ferrochrome lignosulphonate.
Calcium can be precipitated from solution by several common chemicals. The choice depends
on conditions and the mud type (e.g. No hardness solubility would be anticipated in a high pH
lime mud.) They are :
Salt Cake - Na
2
SO
4
Recommended for salty muds. Does not affect magnesium. Reacts with calcium to form
calcium sulphate (solubility of 600 - 800 ppm). Use only when calcium is in excess of 1000 ppm.
One lb/bbl will reduce calcium by about 800 ppm. Use of salt cake in fresh water muds is not
recommended for the reasons already described under sulphate. Salt muds are already
occulated so increase of sulphates has little effect on mud properties.
Soda Ash - Na
2
CO
3
Forms CaCO
3
(limestone). About 0.2 lb/bbl (0.571 kg/m
3
) for every 200 ppm of calcium
Polyphosphates
Small amount of polyphosphates are used for light calcium contamination in fresh water muds.
The calcium is precipitated as an insoluble phosphate. Treatments should not in general exceed
0.5 lb/bbl (1.43 kg/m
3
).
Polyphosphates are unstable above 180 F (82 C) and can cause mud thickening.
Commonly used Polyphosphates
(1% In Water)
Chemical Name Formula pH
sodium Na
6
P
4
O
13
7.5
tetraphosphate
sodium (Na PO
3
)
6
4.8
hexametaphosphate (Calgon)
sodium acid Na
2
H
2
P
2
O
7
4.8
pyrophosphate (SAPP)
tetra sodium Na
4
P
2
O
7
10.0
pyrophosphate (TSPP)
11
d) Bicarbonates, Carbonates - HCO
3
-
, CO
3
- -
Soluble carbonates or bicarbonates found in drilling uids generally originate from these
sources ; (1) formation carbon dioxide gas, (2) make-up water, (3) decomposition of mud
products and (4) reaction products from the use of sulphide scavengers. Carbon dioxide in an
alkaline environment forms bicarbonate which then proceeds to the carbonate.
i.e. CO
2
+ OH
-
= HCO
3
-
+ OH
-
= CO
3
--
+ H
2
O
Carbon dioxide is generally found along with methane and hydrogen sulphide. Although
coexisting with hydrogen sulphide, it will sometimes mask it and go undetected in an alkaline
environment. Taking the carbonate from the above reaction, it is believed to react in the following
way:
H
2
S + CO
3
--
= HS
-
+ HCO
3
-
HS
-
+ CO
3
--
= S
--
+ HCO
3
-
Raising the pH is not recommended for treatment of soluble calcium derived from cement
contamination because pH is already high.
Sodium Bicarbonate - NaHCO
3
Reacts with soluble calcium to form limestone. Recommended for cement contamination
because pH is lowered and calcium precipitated.
Small amounts of carbon dioxide are derived from lignite subjected to high bottom hole
temperatures.
Limestone - CaCO
3
is almost insoluble in drilling mud, as is dolomite CaMg (CO
3
)
2
.
A build up of soluble carbonates or bicarbonates in the mud ltrate is accompanied by a drop
in alkalinity, an increase in ltrate, gel strengths and yield point. (See discussion under
Alkalinity). One reaction product of hydrogen sulphide and zinc carbonate (metallic scavenger)
is a soluble carbonate. Heavy usage of scavenger with continued sulphide inux has contributed
to mud instability.
Soluble carbonates and bicarbonates can be converted to insoluble calcium carbonate through
the use of some form of calcium such as lime, gypsum, or calcium chloride. Generally, lime is used
although the pH will be raised. The gypsum or calcium chloride will affect pH very little but
will contribute sulphates and chlorides, respectively. Slight uctuation may occur upon the entry
of any of the three if reactive clay content is high.
Epm of carbonate or bicarbonate:
x 0.013 = lb/bbl
x 0.0371 kg/m
3
Lime
x 0.024 = lb/bbl
x 0.0685 kg/m
3
Gyp
x 0.025 = lb/bbl
x 0.0713 kg/m
3
Calcium
Chloride (78%)
12
Section
4basic pilot testing & contamination
lb/bbl kg/m3
Carbonates, which are reacting out, are generally evidenced after several minutes of stirring
through reduced viscosity and gels.
e) Sulphides - S
--
f) Soluble sulphides are generally derived from the sour formation gas, hydrogen sulphide.
Packer uids, but rarely drilling uids, are attacked by sulphate-reducing bacteria which
produce sulphides. Some formation waters as well as crude oil contain sulphides that can possibly
contaminate muds. Some additives, such as liquid asphalt or other asphalt derivatives contain soluble
sulphides.
Flocculation of clay solids, increased viscosity, yield point, gels and lter loss, are some of the
effects of sulphide contamination. A decrease in alkalinity and a colour change (dark green to
black) of mud, along with a rotten vegetation or rotten egg odour are common symptoms of
a sulphide contaminated mud.
A useful general equation to determine the amount of H
2
S (ppm) a given mud can neutralise:
ppm H
2
S = 682 (Pm) (8.33/Mud Wt)
or
682 (Pm) (0.998/Mud Wt (kg/m
3
))
cationic exchange capacity of clays
This test is based on the dye adsorption capacity of clays in mud. Methylene blue (methylthionine
chloride) solution, 1 ml = 0.01 milliequivalents, is added in small increments to an acidied, diluted
mud sample until an excess is reached. An excess is noted when a drop of test solution on
appropriate paper seems to radiate a halo of brighter blue than the central dot.
This is one of the most overlooked tests in the eld but its signicance related to viscosity,
ltration, lter cake quality, high temperature gelation, and drilling rate is very important. Sampling
and testing the cuttings using the same technique will produce an insight as to effect of the borehole
on the drilling uid. The following table is a guide for clay content of four mud types.
Mud Wt 9 10 11 12 13 14 25.7 28.5 31.4 34.2 37.1 39.9
Non-dispersed low solids 14 14 14 13 12 10 39.9 39.9 39.9 37.1 34.2 28.5
Fresh Water Caustic lilgnosulphonate 26 24 22 20 18 16 74.2 68.5 62.8 57.1 51.4 45.6
GYP/ lignosulphonate 30 27 24 22 20 18 85.6 77.0 68.5 62.8 57.1 51.4
Lignite surfactant (204 C) 16 15 14 13 12 11 45.6 42.8 39.9 37.1 34.2 31.4
Mud Wt 15 16 17 18 19 20 42.8 45.6 48.5 51.4 54.2 57.1
Non-dispersed low solids 9 8 8 - - 25.7 22.8 22.8 20.0 - -
Fresh Water Caustic lilgnosulphonate 14 12 10 8 7 6 39.9 34.2 28.5 22.8 20.0 17.1
GYP/ lignosulphonate 16 14 12 10 8 7 45.6 39.9 34.2 28.5 22.8 20.0
Lignite surfactant (204 C) 10 8 6 4 3 2 28.5 22.8 17.1 11.4 8.6 5.7
lb/bbl kg/m3
Recommended Bentonite Content
13
The solution to the problem of excessive reactive clay entrained in the drilling mud can be approached
from two directions:
1. If more of the mud-making formation is to be drilled, a more inhibitive mud system would be
recommended.
2. Treating the symptoms :
Addition of more dispersant or deocculant.
Dilution with water.
Introduction of a surfactant to coat the cuttings and reduce the activity of clays already
incorporated into the system. As a general rule, 1 lb/bbl bbl (2.85 kg/m
3
) of the surfactant
is recommended per 4 lb/bbl (11.4 kg/m
3
) of clay.
Combinations of the above.
fltration
The rate of loss through a cake is dependent upon particle size distribution in the mud and the
incorporation of droplets of water and/or oil in the openings between the solids. The openings
are controlled by the ltration control agents. The basic ltration control agent of many water base
muds is bentonite (whether it is to be as little as 3 - 4 lb/bbl (8.56 11.4 kg/m
3
) in low solids non-dispersed
muds, or as much as 25 - 35 lb/bbl (71.3 100 kg/m
3
) in seawater dispersed muds).
It should be noted that to have liquid loss, a porous medium must be present. The viscosity of the
ltrate has some effect also on rate of loss. Although shales are practically impermeable, hole stability
in some areas is directly related to liquid loss. Some shales are micro-fractured and the migration of
liquids through these passages has a lubricating effect. This effect is thought to occur in certain areas
using oil base mud. When the shales are steeply-bedded, semi-collapse of the borehole has been a result
of this phenomenon.
In some areas the chemical nature of the ltrate, rather than the amount, is more important as related
to shale stability. Importance is also attached to productivity of porous zones as affected by mud
ltrates.
1. The signicance of increase in ltration at room temperature and 100 psi (690 kPa) pressure is that
it is associated with contaminants.
Salt Water ow
Increase in : Volume
Calcium
Magnesium
Sulphates
Chlorides
Acid gases, i.e., hydrogen sulphide and carbon dioxide
Increase in : Soluble sulphides
Soluble carbonates
Salt stringers or salt domes
Increase in : Chlorides
Calcium
14
Section
4basic pilot testing & contamination
Gypsum of anhydrite associated with massive beds or stringers and the cap rock of salt domes
Increase in : Sulphates
Calcium
Contaminants are often found in bulk products, such as barites and clays, due to carelessness in
transportation and handling.
Drilling personnel on offshore rigs have mistakenly pumped cement or seawater into the active
mud system.
Drilled solids, especially sand, can increase the ltrate. Some shales will reduce the lter loss.
2. Cross references to the increase in lter losses are almost always detected by increases in the viscosity
measurements and in the ion analysis of the ltrate.
3. The signicance of increases in bottom hole temperature. 500 psi ltration losses are generally
associated with the lack of certain mud products or the thermal degradation of the products being
used. The presence of oxygen with some mud materials lowers their thermal stability. However, in
analysing a muds performance in regard to temperature, the following should be considered :
Circulating temperatures never reach the bottom hole temperature.
Heat transfer in mud is very slow.
Unless the drill pipe is out of the hole for extended periods, mud temperature will not be in
equilibrium with the formation temperature.
Temperature stabilities are exceeded on the following products at the designated temperature :
Polyphosphates 185 F (85 C)
Starch 250 F (121 C)
Fermentation-resistant starch 265 F (129 C)
CMC 275 F (135 C)
PAC 280 F (138 C)
Xanthan gum 280 F (138 C)
Ferrochrome lignosulphonate 350 F (177 C)
Certain lignite thinners +400 F (+204 C)
Various high temperature polymers +400 F (+204 C)
(e.g. polyacrylates)
The amount of clay (bentonite) should be carefully observed. Too little can give high lter losses.
This can be the case where decanting centrifuges are being used on a regular basis. Excessive
clays however, can produce undesirable gelation and viscosity at elevated temperatures.
static aging
This test is an effort to duplicate the effect of temperature on the mud left in the hole during a trip
for a new bit, a logging run, running casing, or any other extended period of time when the pumps are
idle.
The standard cells are normally pressured to 500 psi (3449 kPa), or less, and that, in essence, is where
part of the test loses its credibility with oil muds. Tests have shown that pressure increases do not affect
the viscosity of water based muds. Oil based muds become thinner at higher temperature but more
viscous at higher pressures. Thus, the pressure partially offsets the effect of the higher temperature.
15
The signicance of the test is that it indicates:
The degree of suspension to prevent weighting materials from settling under temperature
and pressure. This is very important for muds which are used as packer uids. One of the criteria
for success is being able to pull the packer without having to wash down to the top of it.
The degree of trouble getting casing, logging tools, and drill bits to the bottom of the hole
after extended periods without bottom hole circulation. This indicator is the shear strength of the
aged sample.
Thermal stability after long-term aging with regard to lter loss. This is tested by both room
temperature, 100 psi psi (690 kPa) and HTHP ltrations.
The effect of temperature on the mud chemicals and resulting alkalinity.
The amount of uid separating from the mud itself. This applies to oil muds only.
The effect of temperature on the degree of emulsication. This refers to oil muds only and
electrical stability specically.
Suspension in several water based muds is generally related to the amount and type of commercial
clays used. Excessive drilled solids, bentonite, alkalinity, and temperature can form cement. Some
suspension as well as temperature stability regarding uidity can be achieved with large amounts (15 - 30
lb/bbl or 43 86 kg/m
3
) of thinner (lignite) or leonardite (brown coal). Both are aids to ltration control
as well as suspension in hot holes. More modern uids however rely solely on polymers for
suspension with bentonite added only in high temperature applications to provide desired lter cake
characteristics/uid loss control.
Much success has recently been experienced in large diameter hole drilling, milling operations
and horizontal hole drilling using mixed metal hydroxide systems which demonstrate signicantly
improved suspension characteristics and superior return permeability data.
Alkalinity must be maintained for good mud performance as far as corrosion, ltration, and uidity
are concerned; but excess in alkalinity leads to high temperature gelation and / or solidication.
Decreasing the shear strength of a particular mud generally involves dilution, reduction of drilled
solids and/or commercial clays, adjustment of alkalinity, and increase in dispersant or deocculant.
Top oil separation can be decreased by an increase of water content; additions of organophilic
clays (gellants) accompanied by some uid loss additive; certain emulsiers. This applies to oil muds
only.
Reduction of gellant content and drilled solids by oil dilution, accompanied by oil mud thinner and oil
wetter additions, will reduce excessive shear strengths of oil muds.
drilling fuid rheology
r
h
e
o
l
o
g
y
section 5
section 5a - rheology of drilling fuids
section 5b - rheology and hydraulics
of drilling fuids
section 5a
rheology of drilling fuids
theory of rheology 2
rheology background 2
shear rate 3
shear stress 3
viscosity 4
fuid models 4
Herschel-Bulkley (modifed power law) model 6
measurement of shear stress - shear rate
relationship 9
n and K constants 10
laminar and turbulent fow regimes 12
rheology feld application 13
plastic viscosity (pv) 13
yield point (yp) 13
gel strength 14
funnel viscosity 15
low shear rheology 16
shear rates in the drilling fuid circulating system 16
cuttings transportation theory 16
cuttings transport ratio 16
general transport ratio (gtr) 17
annular cutting concentration and optimum rop 17
section 5a
Scomi Oiltools
2
Section
5arheology of drilling fuids
theory of rheology
rheology background
Rheology is derived from the Greek words rheo, meaning ow and logi, meaning science. It can
be dened as the science of the deformation and/or ow of solids, liquids and gases under applied stress.
In essence, the science deals with the stress-strain-time relationships of any matter.
The rheological characteristics of materials form a continuous spectrum of behaviour ranging from
that of the perfectly elastic solid at one extreme to that of the purely viscous Newtonian uid at the
other. Between these extremes lies the behaviour of uids which possess varying degrees of the
character of both extreme materials, such materials are termed visco-elastic.
Relatively little theoretical or experimental work was done in the eld of rheology until the early
twentieth century. The science is in fact still in its infancy in terms of the ability to provide accurate
predictions of the behaviour of real systems. This is particularly true with regard to both the polymer
and invert oil emulsion muds being used in drilling operations today, which have far more complex
behaviour than true uids.
Despite this it is still common practice to express ow characteristics in terms of simple viscosity
terms such as the constants used in the Bingham Plastic and Power Law models. It is also recognized
that surface measurements do not truly represent the uid behaviour under downhole conditions
at temperature and pressure, but extensive eld studies have resulted in a high degree of success
in predicting a uids performance from this data.
Certain basic concepts of rheology require to be understood to make optimum use of collected
data. Of these concepts the relationship between shear stress and shear rate is most important in
predicting drilling uid behaviour.
Knowledge of the ow characteristics of circulating uids is of advantage in almost all phases of
down hole operations. Some of the more important applications relate to selection and design of
uids to obtain optimum rates of circulation to transport and suspend drill cuttings, increase drilling
rates and reduce hole erosion.
In the drilling situation the application of rheological concepts for drilling uids are primarily directed
towards:
a) Suspension.
b) Hydraulic calculations.
c) Hole cleaning and hole erosion.
d) Filtrate migration.
e) Solids Control.
Although these applications may be of equal importance, drilling requirements vary with time and
location so that one may take precedence over another at a particular time.
In all applications, whether or not a uid performs a specic function can be attributed to the absence
or presence of viscosity at the shear rate of interest.
rheology of drilling fuids
3
shear rate
In a moving uid shear rate can be dened as the rate at which one layer of uid is moving by another
layer divided by the distance between the layers. It is the velocity gradient i.e. the ratio of velocity to
distance between layers.
Consider a uid between two at plates one centimetre apart. If the bottom plate is xed while the
top plate slides parallel to it at a constant velocity of 1 cm per sec, a velocity prole will be found
within the uid. The uid layer in contact with the bottom plate is static while the layer in contact with
the top plate is moving at 1 cm per sec. Halfway between the plates the uid velocity is the average
0.5 per sec.
If a moving layer of uid has a velocity 1cm/sec relative to a static layer at separation distance of 1cm
then the shear rate between these layers will be:

The reciprocal second is the standard unit of shear.
In a drilling uid circulating system the shear rate is determined by the ow rate through a particular
geometrical conguration. Since the relative velocity between uid layers is greatest adjacent to the
pipe or hole wall the shear rate is highest at this point. An average shear rate may be used, but the
shear itself is not constant everywhere in the ow.
shear stress
Shear Stress is dened as the force required to move a given area of the uid. In this case one Newton
is required for each square meter of area. The units of shear stress are Newtons per square metre,
also known as Pascals. Alternative units for shear stress are dynes per square centimetre and pounds
force per square inch. Shear stress is related to the force required to sustain uid ow. In a drilling
uid circulating system this is analogous to the pump pressure.
1 cm/sec
1cm
= 1 sec
1
This diagram shows the forces acting on a theoretical liquid. The liquid is contained between the
two 1 square metre plates which are separated by one metre. The bottom plate is stationary and
the top plate is moved at a rate of 1 metre per second. The amount of force required to maintain
this movement is measured in Newtons.
In a drilling uid circulating system the shear rate is determined by the ow rate through a particular
geometrical conguration. Since the relative velocity between uid layers is greatest adjacent to the
pipe or hole wall the shear rate is highest at this point. An average shear rate may be used, but the
shear itself is not constant everywhere in the ow.
If, in the parallel plate example used to describe shear rate, a force of 1.0 dyne was applied to each
square centimetre of the top plate to keep it moving. Then the shear stress would be 1.0 dyne per cm
2
.
The same force in the opposite direction would be needed on the bottom plate to keep it from moving.
The same shear stress would be found at any level in the uid. Shear stress is constant only as long as
the ow system geometry is constant. It is more common to nd the shear stress varying from one part
of a ow system to another.
4
Section
5arheology of drilling fuids
The units of shear stress are the same as for pressure, but whereas pressure denes the applied force
per unit area, shear stress is the internal resistance to an applied stress.
Shear stress can be expressed:
shear stress = F/A
Where F = force
A = area of surface subject to stress.
The standard unit of shear stress is dynes/cm
2
Shear rate and shear stress are the two basic quantities involved in the sliding (shearing) ow of a
uid. Then shear rate is related to the velocity of motion and the shear stress to the forces being
transmitted both to the uid and from one part of a uid to another.
viscosity
Viscosity can be described as the resistance to ow and is dened as the ratio of shear stress to
shear rate


Viscosity = shear stress dynes / cm
2
= Poise
Shear rate sec
1
The units of Poise are too large for drilling uid studies and viscosity is reported in centipoises or
millipascal.second (1cP = 1 mPa.s).
Since viscosity is dependent on both shear rate and shear stress, one or the other must be specied
when a viscosity measurement is stated. Shear rate is the usual variable dened, either as an actual
shear rate in reciprocal seconds or as speed in rpm from a concentric cylinder viscometer.
fuid models
Fluids can be separated into different classes according to the relationships which exists in a uid
between shear rate and shear stress. The most simple class of uids are called Newtonian. Water and
light oils are examples of Newtonian uids.
shear stress.dynes/cm
2
shear ratesec
1

Viscosity= = Poise
5
In these uids the shear stress is directly proportional to the shear rate. When the shear rate is doubled
the shear stress is doubled i.e. when the circulation rate is doubled the pressure required to pump the
uid is doubled. Such uids have a constant viscosity.
For most uids, viscosity is not a constant, but varies with the shear rate. Such non Newtonian uids
are called rate dependent. Almost all drilling uid viscosiers provide rate dependent uids.
To illustrate rate dependent effects a uid is tested for shear stress or viscosity at a number of shear
rates. When these data are plotted on a log-log scale a viscosity prole of the uid is obtained.
Examples of types of ow are:
The shear rate / shear stress ratio of non Newtonian uids is not constant, which is true of most
drilling uids. The two most popular mathematical models for describing non-Newtonian drilling uids
are called the Bingham Plastic model and Power Law model.
Non Newtonian Fluid Behaviour
SHEAR RATE ,
S
H
E
A
R

S
T
R
E
S
S
,
g
t
6
Section
5arheology of drilling fuids
Some uids have a critical yield stress which must be exceeded before ow is initiated. If the
uid has essentially Newtonian ow after the yield stress is exceeded it is termed a Bingham Plastic
uid. The major shortcoming of the application of this model to drilling uids is that it only
describes uid ow over a short shear rate range of 511 - 1022 sec
-1
. Consequently the Bingham model
may not accurately describe uid rheological characteristics in all drilling situations.
Most drilling uids are Pseudoplastic. In this case increased shear rate produces a progressive
decrease in viscosity. In polymer solutions this is due to the alignment of the long polymer chains
along the ow lines. If the application of any shear stress above zero produces uid ow, i.e. no critical
yield stress, the uid is termed a Power Law uid. This model more accurately describes ow
characteristics of drilling uids over the shear rate ranges experienced in the annulus of a well bore.
Polymeric drilling uids can be shown to follow the Power Law model very closely. Some other uids
show a prole which falls between Power Law and Bingham Plastic.
Although the API has selected the Power Law model as the standard model, the Power Law
model, however, does not fully describe drilling uids because it does not have a yield stress and
underestimates low shear rate viscosity. The modied Power Law or Herschel-Bulkley model can be
used to account for the stress required to initiate uid movement (yield stress).
The diagram shows the differences between the modied Power Law, the Power Law and Bingham
Plastic models. The modied Power Law falls between the Bingham Plastic model, which is highest,
and the Power Law, which is lowest and consequently more closely resembles the ow prole of a
typical drilling mud.
Herschel-Bulkley (modifed power law) model
In reality, most drilling uids have a yield stress. The Herschel-Bulkley or the modied power law is
the best model to precisely describe the rheological behaviour of drilling uids compared to any
other models. It is a three parameter model that reproduces the results of the previous models (Bingham
Power Law, Newtonian) when the appropriate parameters have been measured. The Herschel-Bukley
model uses the following equation to describe uid behaviour:
t = t
o
+ (K x g
n
)
7
Newtonian
Bingham-Plastic
Power-Law
Herschel-Bulkley 3
0
13.1257
0
10.9075
Rheology Model
YP
(Ibf/100ft
2
)
Vis., PV or K
(cp)
n
Standard
Deviation
Draw
Curve
46.8023868
37.2818854
2842.1364294
97.1097869
1
1
0.3578
0.8627
3.9039
0.7181
3.6169
0.1644
Figure 1: Calculated rheology model in HyPR-CALC
0
0 100 200 300
Measurement
Newtonian
Herschel-Bulkley
Speed (rpm)
V
i
s
c
o
m
e
t
e
r

R
e
a
d
i
n
g
400 500 600
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Figure 2: Rheology models available in Scomi Oiltools hydraulic program HyPR-CALC
Herschel-Bulkley graph usually reects a yield stress where the shear stress is greater than zero where as
a Newtonian graph is usually a straight line that originates from shear stress equal to zero.
Where
t = shear stress in lb/100 ft
2
t
o
= uids yield stress (shear stress at zero shear rate) in lb/100 ft
2
K = uids consistency index in cP - sec
n
or lb - sec
n
/100 ft
2

n = uids ow index
g = shear rate in sec
-1
In Herschel-Bulkley model, the K and n values are worked out differently than their counterparts in
the power law model. The Herschel-Bulkley reects more to Bingham model when n = 1 and it
reects to the power law model when t
0
= 0. [One obvious advantage the Herschel-Bulkley model has
over the power law model is that, from a set of data input, only one value for n and K are calculated.]
Hydraulics calculations for Herschel-Bulkley (modied power law) uids cannot be solved by simple
equations. For quick solutions, consult the Scomi Oiltools hydraulics programs using HyPR-CALC.
Calculated Results
8
Section
5arheology of drilling fuids
Invert emulsion muds are suspensions of both solids and emulsions and there is no accepted
rheological model that can be applied to both emulsions and suspensions, in addition these uids
show pronounced pressure and temperature effects. A Casson Model is sometimes used to describe
invert uids though some oil muds can be shown to follow the Bingham Plastic model between
shear rates of 127- 340 sec
1
(75-250 rpm). Below 127
1
the characteristics lie between Power Law and
Bingham Plastic.
The Newtonian, Bingham Plastic, and Power Law models are specic cases of the Robertson-Stiff
model. It is a three parameter model that includes the 3 rpm rheometer dial reading and is written in its
general form as:
t = K(g
0
+ g)
n
To use common rheometer data for the analysis of a uid conforming to the Robertson-Stiff model,
the general equation becomes
Where:
N
3
, N
2
, and N
1
are rpm speeds and N
3
> N
2
> N
1
,
t
3
, t
2
, and t
1
are rheometer sheer stress readings at N
3
, N
2
, and N
1
, respectively.
This equation must be solved iteratively to nd n. g
0
and k can then be calculated by solving the
following equations.
where
b = the ratio of the rheometer sleeve radius to the bob radius.
The Robertson-Stiff equation will generally provide the best approximation for pressure losses in
the circulating system in most drilling situations. It will not, however, emulate a uid that follows
the Casson equation.
If a uid prole shows a critical yield stress and then ows like the pseudoplastic model it is referred
to as an Ellis uid. This model has been used to describe Xanthan Gum solutions. The yield stress is
equivalent to the elastic modulus of the solution.
Some rare uids show Dilatant or reverse pseudoplastic behaviour. These are characteristically
suspensions having a high solids loading e.g. high concentration gypsum suspensions. These
uids increase in viscosity with increasing shear rate and can show a negative calculation of yield
point, the true gure is zero.
t
1
t
2
1
n
N
3 -
N
2
N
3 N1
+
t
3
t
2
1
n
N
2 -
N
1
N
3 N1
=1
30 ln(b)
ln(b)
9
Besides shear rate dependent effects some uids can also exhibit time dependent effects. In these
cases the viscosity changes with continued shear at constant rate.
Fluids which are thixotropic in nature decrease in viscosity with time. This type of uid shows a
memory effect or hysteresis when subjected to varying rates of shear. There is a time lag in
establishing an equilibrium viscosity when the shear rate is changed, the uid will initially tend
towards to the viscosity associated with the previous shear rate.
Some highly concentrated suspensions can display herpetic ow. In this case the viscosity of the uid
will increase with time at a constant shear rate.
measurement of shear stress - shear rate relationship.
The most commonly used instrument for the rheology evaluation of a drilling uid is the concentric
cylinder or cup and bob viscometer. This is typically a Fann 35A six speed model.
In operation the rotor and bob is immersed in the uid sample and the rotor is turned at a
constant speed. The uids resistance to ow imparts a torque on the bob which deects the dial
proportionally to the viscous properties of the uid.
The geometry of rotor and bob determines the shear rates obtainable with this viscometer.
The standard rotor bob combination has a 0.117cm gap and the conversion of rpm to shear rate
in sec
1
is given by the formula

Shear rate (sec
1
) = rpm x 1.703
The shear stress from this instrument is taken from the dial reading R.
Shear Stress (lb/100ft
2
) = R x 1.067
Shear Stress (dynes/cm
2
) = R x 5.1
RHEOPECTIC
THIXOTROPIC
V
I
S
C
O
S
I
T
Y
TIME
Time Dependent Effects
10
Section
5arheology of drilling fuids
The six speeds of the Fann 35A and the corresponding shear rates are:-
600 rpm - 1022.0 sec
1
300 rpm - 511.0 sec
1
200 rpm - 340.7 sec
1
100 rpm - 170.3 sec
1
6 rpm - 10.22 sec
1
3 rpm - 5.11 sec
1
In order to obtain accurate correlations, it is important that viscometer readings are taken at the same
temperature, normally 120 F (49 C).
Using the Bingham Plastic model for data interpretation, the following values are reported.
PV = R
600
reading R
300
reading
YP = R
300
reading PV
or
(R
300
reading PV) x 0.48 in Pa
Bingham Plastic Model Parameters
S
h
e
a
r

S
t
r
e
s
s
,

t
Shear Rate (RPM),
g
300 600
PV
YP
The Bingham values PV and YP give a poor denition of the ow characteristics of the uid over
a wide shear range, but shear stress values at all six speeds can be converted to viscosity values
for the six shear rates and plotted on a log/log viscograph. This gives a good viscosity prole in a
form readily correlated with the various shear ranges experienced in the circulating system and solids
control equipment.
Measurement of initial gel strength is indicative of the elastic modulus and hence suspension
characteristics of the uid and the relationship of initial and 10 minute gel strength illustrates the
degree of thixotropy present.
The R
6
value is directly relevant to annular viscosity of some hole diameters and this value is
increasingly being used as a control parameter in ensuring good hole cleaning properties.
n and K constants
Although the Bingham Model constants, PV and YP are the most widely used properties for
evaluating drilling uid rheology, it has to be recognised that this model does not always
accurately predict drilling uid performance. This applies in particular to annular rheological
calculations.
11
The Power Law Model more closely approximates to the actual drilling uid, in particular to low
solids polymer based systems. This model can be calculated over the annular region (normally less
than 100 rpm or 150 sec
1
shear rate), it will more accurately predict a drilling uids performance.
Power Law Model t = K g
n
Where t = shear stress dynes / cm
2
K = Consistency index dynes sec
n
/ cm
2
g = Shear rate sec
1

n = Power Law Index

The n constant indicates the degree of non-Newtonian character that a uid exhibits over a
dened shear rate range. Newtonian Fluids have an n value of equal to one. As n decreases
from one the uid becomes more pseudoplastic or shear thinning with increase in shear rate.
Lowering the n value improves hole cleaning performance by increasing the effective annular
viscosity and attening the annular velocity prole. This reduces any turning effect on cuttings,
helping to prevent particle breakage and moves the solids more directly up the hole.
The n constant is dependant upon the type of viscosier used. Every material has an inherent
n constant, but it may vary with concentration and shear rate. Xanthan Gum provides the lowest
n constant, the only material providing a similar value being extended bentonite.
Shear Stress v Shear Rate
12
Section
5arheology of drilling fuids
K the consistency index is the shear stress or viscosity of the uid at a shear rate of one sec
1
. It
relates directly to the system viscosity at low shear rates. An increase in K raises the effective
annular viscosity and therefore the hole cleaning capacity. It can also increase, however, the bit
viscosity and circulating pressure loss. The K constant is controlled by both the type of viscosier
and the total solids content of the uid. It will increase with decrease in the n constant or by
increase in solids concentration. K can be reported as dynes/cm
2
sec
n
or lbs/100ft
2
sec
n
. An
increase in K value should if possible be obtained via a decrease in n value to avoid increasing the
circulating system viscosity.
The n and K values can be calculated from any two viscometer dial readings. For Hydraulic
calculations determining n and K in the range of interest (i.e. 5 -150 sec
1
for annular calculations)
will provide more accurate results.


where:
R
1
= Dial reading at rpm
1
R
2
= Dial reading at rpm
2
laminar and turbulent fow regimes
Single phase ow can be either laminar or turbulent. In a drilling situation it is usually important
to know which of these two ow regimes are present in a hole interval.
In laminar ow, motion is parallel to the walls of the ow channel. The particles of uid move in
straight lines or in long smooth curves. Flow tends to be laminar when it is slow or the uid is viscous.
In laminar ow the force required to move the uid increases with increase in the velocity and viscosity.
In turbulent ow the uid is continually swirling and eddying as it moves along the ow channel.
There is an average movement of the uid in a particular direction but individual particles of the
uid move along in random loops and circles. In turbulent ow these velocity uctuations arise
spontaneously and are not caused by wall projections or changes in direction. These factors can
however increase the degree of turbulence. Flow tends to be turbulent when the ow is rapid or when the
uid has low viscosity. In turbulent ow, the force required to move the uid increases linearly with
density and as the square of viscosity.
Transition Velocity - The ow of any particular uid in any particular ow channel can be either
laminar or turbulent. At low velocities, the ow will be laminar. If the velocity of a uid in laminar
ow is increased, the ow at some point will suddenly become turbulent. If the velocity is reduced
again, the ow will return to its laminar character. Thus for any particular system there will be a
transition velocity where the ow shifts between laminar and turbulent.
The transition between laminar and turbulent ow occurs because the inertial forces vary as the
square of the ow rate, while viscous forces vary only as the ow rate. The ratio of inertial forces to
viscous forces is the Reynolds Number.

"n"=
log R
2
R
1 ( )

"K"=
5.11R
2
1.7rpm
2 ( )
n
log (rpm
2
rpm
1
)
13
In general laminar ow is the desired regime, but exceptions occur where turbulent ow is
desired for specialized applications e.g. turbulent sweeps to remove cutting beds and clean out
enlarged hole sections. Turbulent ow is often chosen by preference to drill horizontal intervals.
Turbulent ow however, does give larger annular pressure losses, increased wellbore erosion and cause
drill cutting attrition through the tumbling effect in the annulus.
In a turbulent regime the uid viscosity has no contribution to hole cleaning, but the viscosity of a
uid determines whether a ow regime is turbulent or laminar for a given velocity and hole diameter.
rheology feld application
plastic viscosity (pv)
Drilling muds are usually composed of a continuous uid phase in which solids are dispersed.
Plastic viscosity is that part of the resistance to ow caused by mechanical friction. The friction is caused
by:
Solids concentration.
Size and shape of solids.
Viscosity of the uid phase.
For practical eld applications, plastic viscosity is regarded as a guide to solids control. Plastic
viscosity increases if the volume percent of solids increases or if the volume percent remains
constant, and the size of the particle decreases. Decreasing particle size increases surface area, which
increases frictional drag. Plastic viscosity can be decreased by decreasing solids concentration or
by decreasing surface area. Plastic viscosity is decreased by reducing the solids concentration by
dilution or by mechanical separation. As the viscosity of water decreases with temperature, the
plastic viscosity decreases proportionally. Therefore, controlling PV of a mud in practical terms involves
controlling size, concentration and shape of the solids and minimising the viscosity of the liquid
phase - such as avoiding viscosifying polymers and salts unless absolutely needed.
The value of plastic viscosity is obtained by subtracting the 300 rpm reading from the 600 rpm reading:
PV = 600 rpm reading 300 rpm reading
PV of a mud is the theoretical minimum viscosity a mud can have because it is the effective viscosity
as shear rate approaches innity. The highest shear rate occurs as the mud passes through the bit
nozzles; therefore, PV will approximate the muds viscosity at the nozzles.
yield point (yp)
The yield point is the initial resistance to ow caused by electrochemical forces between the particles.
This electrochemical force is due to charges on the surface of the particles dispersed in the uid
phase. Yield point is a measure of these forces under ow conditions and is dependent upon:
The surface properties of the mud solids
The volume concentration of the solids and
Ionic environment of the liquid surrounding the solids
14
Section
5arheology of drilling fuids
High viscosity resulting from high yield point is caused by:
Introduction of soluble contaminant (ions) such as: salt, cement, anhydrite or gypsum, which interact
with the negative charges on the clay particles.
Breaking of the clay particles through mechanical grinding action creating new surface area of
the particles. These new charged surfaces (positive and negative) pull particles together as a occs.
Introduction of inert solids (barite) into the system, increasing the yield point. This is the result of
the particles being forced closer together. Because the distance between the particles is now
decreased, the attraction between particles is greatly increased.
Drilling hydratable shales or clays which introduces new, active solids into the system, increasing
attractive forces by bringing the particles closer together and by increasing the total number of
charges.
Insufcient deocculant treatment.
Yield point can be controlled by proper chemical treatment. As the attractive forces are reduced by
chemical treatment, the yield point will decrease. The yield point can be lowered by the following
methods:
Charges on the positive edges of particles can be neutralised by adsorption of large negative
ions on the edge of the clay particles. These residual charges are satised by chemicals such as:
tannins, lignins, complex phosphates, lignosulphonate, etc. The attractive forces that previously
existed are satised by the chemicals, and the negative charge of the clay particles predominates,
so that the solids now repel each other.
In the case of contamination from calcium or magnesium, the ions causing the attractive force
are removed as insoluble precipitants, thus decreasing the attractive forces and YP of the mud.
Water dilution can lower the yield point, but unless the solids concentration is very high, it is
relatively ineffective.
Yield point (YP) is calculated from VG measurements as follows:
YP = 300 rpm reading (600 rpm reading - 300 rpm reading)
YP = 300 rpm reading PV
or
YP = (300 rpm reading PV) x 0.48 in Pa
The limitation of the Bingham plastic model is that most drilling uids, being pseudoplastic,
exhibit an actual yield stress which is considerably less than calculated Bingham yield point. This
error exists because the Bingham plastic parameters are calculated using a VG meter at 600 rpm
(1022 sec
-1
) and 300 rpm (511 sec
-1
); whereas, typical annular shear rates are much less (Table 1).
gel strength
Gel strengths, 10-second and 10-minute, measured on the VG meter, indicate strength of attractive
forces (gelation) in a drilling uid under static conditions. Excessive gelation is caused by high solids
concentration leading to occulation.
15
Signs of rheological trouble in a mud system often are reected by a muds gel strength
development with time. When there is a wide range between the initial and 10-minute gel readings
they are called progressive gels. This is not a desirable situation. If initial and 10-minute gels are
both high, with no appreciable difference in the two, these are high-at gels, also undesirable.
The magnitude of gelation with time is a key factorin the performance of the drilling uid.
Gelation should not be allowed to become much higher than is necessary to perform the function
of suspension of cuttings and weight material. For suspension low-at gels are desired.
Excessive gel strengths can cause:
Swabbing, when pipe is pulled.
Surging, when pipe is lowered.
Difculty in getting logging tools to bottom.
Retaining of entrapped air or gas in the mud.
Retaining of sand and cuttings while drilling.
Gel strengths and yield point are both a measure of the attractive forces in a mud system. A
decrease in one usually results in a decrease in the other; therefore, similar chemical treatments
are used to modify them both. The 10-second gel reading more closely approximates the
true yield stress in most drilling uid systems. Water dilution can be effective in lowering
gel strengths, especially when solids are high in the mud.
funnel viscosity
The funnel viscosity is measured with the Marsh funnel and is a timed rate of ow in seconds per
quart. It is basically a quick reference check that is made routinely on a mud system; however,
there is no shear rate/shear stress relationship in the funnel viscosity test. Thus, it cannot be related to
any other viscosity nor can it give a clue as to why the viscosity may be high or low.
Types of Gel Strengths Diagram (to convert to Pa multiply gel strength by 0.48)
16
Section
5arheology of drilling fuids
low shear rheology
While many invert emulsions, particularly high o/w ratio formulations, approximate Bingham
plastic behaviour at shear rates most commonly examined (600 & 300 rpm) they do not maintain this
behaviour as shear rates decrease. This is of particular importance when studying hole cleaning
with inverts particularly in large diameter holes where annular shear rates are low. The use of Yield
Point derived from 600 & 300 viscometer readings can be misleading when considering efcient
hole cleaning particularly in large diameter or deviated holes. Both experimental and eld data have
shown that it is of great importance to study the viscosity at shear rates nearer to those prevailing at
the wall of the hole. The 6 rpm reading, equivalent to a shear rate of 10.2 sec
-1
, is the best approximation
of low annular shear rate for uids in laminar ow available on a standard V-G meter. This shear rate of
10.2 sec
-1
is equivalent to a mean annular velocity of 53 ft/min (16.2 m/min) in 17 1/2 hole.
The following rule of thumb for 6 rpm readings for uids in laminar ow is useful:
Hole deviation 0 - 45 1.0 x Hole Diameter (inches)
45 - 90 1.2-1.5 x Hole Diameter (inches)
In water based uids, increases in low shear viscosities are best achieved with biopolymers e.g.
XCD, Rhodopol.
In invert emulsions the required 6 rpm readings can usually be attained with the normal organophilic
clay viscosiers. Several rheology modiers are currently available which claim to boost low
end viscosity without greatly altering overall viscosity. The success of these products appears
to vary greatly with base oil type hence laboratory pilot testing is necessary before inclusion in invert
formulations.
shear rates in the drilling fuid circulating system.
Shear rates present in the circulating system of a drilling operation usually fall within the following
ranges.
Shear Rate V-G Meter rpm
Mud Pits 1 - 5 sec
-
1
0 - 3
Annulus 5 - 170 sec
-
1
3 - 100
Solids Removal Equipment 170 -10,000 sec
-
1
100 - 600 (+)
Bit 10,000 - 100,000 sec
-
1
N/A
cuttings transportation theory
cuttings transport ratio
Cuttings transport ratio is the ratio of the cuttings transport velocity (Vt) and the mean annular velocity (Va).
Cuttings transport velocity is the difference between the mean annular velocity and the cuttings slip
velocity (Vs).
Transport Ratio (Tm) = Vt / Va
= (Va - Vs) / Va
= 1 - Vs/Va
This ratio is a measure of the effectiveness of hole cleaning. Any positive value indicates that
some cuttings will be removed. A value of 100% indicates the removal of all cuttings from the hole.
Any value in excess of 75% is generally considered to indicate efcient hole cleaning.
17
Slip Velocity =

Where Dp = Particle diameter (cm)
Pp = Particle density (kg/m
3
)
Pf = Fluid density (kg/m
3
)
u = Fluid viscosity (cps) (Equivalent thickness)
The above equation approximates to slip velocity, in fact the equation varies with Reynolds number.
Many PC and hand held calculator programmes exist for slip velocity calculations and rst
principle calculations for all cases will not be given here. It sufces to say that in all cases slip
velocity can be reduced by increasing viscosity and uid density, or by reducing particle size (by
bit selection). The most practical approach is to increase uid viscosity bearing in mind that this will
increase ECD, and oil retention gures and hinder efcient solids removal.
It can be seen from the second equation that the transport ratio can be increased by increasing
annular velocity or by decreasing slip velocity.
general transport ratio (gtr)
The application of Cuttings Transport Ratio, in hole cleaning calculations works well in vertical
holes, but its effectiveness is reduced as hole angle increases. To allow for this fact, in calculations of
optimum rates of penetration a constant (the GTR) is required and has been determined by
experimentation to fall within the following range:
Hole Angle 0 20 30 40 50 60
GTR 1.0 0.8 0.5 0.3 0.25 0.2
annular cutting concentration and optimum rop
It is generally accepted that the recommended cuttings concentration in the annulus should not
exceed 4% v/v and that an optimum ROP should be employed to achieve this gure is not exceeded.
The optimum ROP is calculated as follows: -

where
F = cuttings concentration (0.04)
Tm = cuttings transport ratio
GTR = general transport ratio
section 5b
rheology and hydraulics of
drilling fuids
bit hydraulics 2
equivalent circulating density 3
power law inside the drillpipe for each hydraulic
interval 3
power law inside the annulus for each hydraulic
interval 4
bingham-plastic inside the drillpipe for each
hydraulic interval 6
bingham-plastic inside the annulus for each
hydraulic interval 7
section 5b
Scomi Oiltools
2
Section
5brheology and hydraulics of drilling fuids
Bit hydraulics
Nozzle area
Nozzle velocity
Bit pressure drop
Bit hydraulic horsepower
Bit hydraulic horsepower per unit bit area
Percent pressure drop at bit
Jet impact force
rheology and hydraulics of drilling fuids
( ) ) (
2 2
0.000767

n
l i
i N
Jet in A
( )
N
GPM
N
A
PO
ft V
32 . 0
sec /

( )
1120
2

N
Bit
V
psi PD
( )
1714
GPM Bit
Bit
PO PD
hp HHP

Bit
Bit
A
HHP
area HHP /
100
Pr

Pump
Bit
ess
PD
( )
1932
Im
mud GPM N
Bit
PO V
lbf p

Where

mud
= Mud density in lb/gal
Press
pump
= Pump press in psi
PO
GPM
= Pump output in gal/min
Jet
i
= Nozzle diameter in 32nds of an inch
A
Bit
= Area of the bit
A
N
= Total nozzle area in in
2
V
N
= Nozzle velocity in ft/sec
PD
Bit
= Bit pressure drop in psi
3
Equivalent circulating density
The following formulas can be used to calculate pressure drop (PD) and equivalent circulating density
(ECD).
Where
PD
a
= pressure drop in the annulus in psi
n = number of intervals
L
i
= length of intervals in feet
LV
I
= vertical length of the interval in feet

mud
= density of mud in lb/gal
The sum of the pressure drops for each annular section (regardless of hole angle) is:

The equivalent circulating density (ECD) for any vertical wellbore is:

In deviated wellbores, the TVD must be taken into account when calculating ECD values. The above
equation then becomes:

Power Law inside the drillpipe for each hydraulic interval
Average velocity inside the drillpipe (V
p
)

Where
ID
DP
= inside diameter of drillpipe or drill collar in in
2
PO
GPM
= pump output in gal/min
V
p
= average mud velocity inside drillpipe in ft/sec
Reynolds number (N
Rep
)

Where
ID
DP
= inside diameter of drillpipe or drill collar in in
2
K
p
= consistency index in drillpipe, eq cP

mud
= mud density in lb/gal
n
p
= ow index n inside drillpipe
V
p
= average mud velocity inside drillpipe in ft/sec

n
l i
i a
PD PD
mud
n
l i
i
a
L
PD
ECD +
]
]
]
]
]
,
,
,

052 . 0

mud
n
l i
i
a
LV
PD
ECD +
]
]
]
]
]
,
,
,

052 . 0
( )
2
408 . 0
sec /
DP
GPM
p
ID
PO
ft V

p p
n
p
DP
p
n
p mud
p
n
ID
K
V
N
(
(
,
\
,
,
(
j
+

1 3
0416 . 0
100 , 89
2
Re


4
Section
5brheology and hydraulics of drilling fuids
Friction factor (f)

If the Reynolds number is greater than 2100 the ow is turbulent and the friction factor is:

Where
a =
b =
If the Reynolds number is less than 2100 the ow is laminar and the friction factor is:
Turbulent fow pressure drop
Where
ID
DP
= inside diameter of drillpipe or drill collar in in
2
f
p
= friction factor inside drillpipe
L = length of drillpipe in feet

mud
= mud density in lb/gal
V
p
= average mud velocity inside drillpipe in ft/sec
Laminar fow pressure drop
Where
ID
DP
= inside diameter of drillpipe or drill collar in in
2
K
p
= consistency index inside drillpipe, eq cP
n
p
= ow index n inside drillpipe

mud
= mud density in lb/gal
V
p
= average mud velocity inside drillpipe in ft/sec
Power Law inside the annulus for each hydraulic interval
Average velocity inside the annulus (V
a
)
Where
ID
HOLE
= diameter of borehole or inside diameter of casing in in
2
OD
DP
= outside diameter of drillpipe or drill collar in in
2
PO
GPM
= pump output in gal/min
V
a
= average mud velocity inside drillpipe in ft/sec
( )
b
RE
N
a
f
50
93 . 3 log + n

7
log 75 . 1 n
RE
N
f
16

L
ID
V f
PD
DP
p mud p
p

8 . 25
2

( )
L
ID
n
V K
PD
p
p
p
n
DP
n
p n
p p
p

(
(
,
\
,
,
(
j +

+ 1
000 , 144
0416 . 0
1 3
( )
2 2
408 . 0
sec /
DP HOLE
GPM
a
OD ID
PO
ft V

5
Reynolds number (N
Rea
)

Where
ID
HOLE
= diameter of borehole or inside diameter of casing in in
2
OD
DP
= outside diameter of drillpipe or drill collar in in
2
K
a
= consistency index in annulus, eq cP

mud
= mud density in lb/gal
n
a
= ow index n inside annulus
V
a
= average mud velocity inside drillpipe in ft/sec
Friction factor (f)
If the Reynolds number is greater than 2100 the ow is turbulent and the friction factor is:

Where
a =
b =
If the Reynolds number is less than 2100 the ow is laminar and the friction factor is:
Turbulent fow pressure drop in annulus
Where
ID
HOLE
= diameter of borehole or inside diameter of casing in in
2
OD
DP
= outside diameter of drillpipe or drill collar in in
2
f
a
= friction factor inside annulus
L = length of drillpipe in feet

mud
= mud density in lb/gal
V
a
= average mud velocity inside annulus in ft/sec
Laminar fow pressure drop in annulus
Where
ID
HOLE
= diameter of borehole or inside diameter of casing in in
2
OD
DP
= outside diameter of drillpipe or drill collar in in
2
K
a
= consistency index inside annulus, eq cP
n
a
= ow index n inside annulus

mud
= mud density in lb/gal
V
a
= average mud velocity inside annulus in ft/sec
( )
a
a
n
a
DP HOLE
p
n
a mud
a
n
OD ID
K
V
N
(
(
\
,
,
j
+

1 2
0208 . 0 100 , 109
2
Re

( )
b
RE
N
a
f
50
93 . 3 log + n
7
log 75 . 1 n
RE
N
f
16

( )
L
OD ID
V f
PD
DP HOLE
a mud a
a

1 . 21
2


( )
( )
L
OD ID
n
V K
PD
a
p
a
n
DP HOLE
n
a n
a a
a

(
(
,
\
,
,
(
j +

+ 1
000 , 144
0208 . 0
1 2

6
Section
5brheology and hydraulics of drilling fuids
Bingham-plastic inside the drillpipe for
each hydraulic interval
Average velocity inside the drillpipe (V
p
)
Where
ID
DP
= inside diameter of drillpipe or drill collar in in
2
PO
GPM
= pump output in gal/min
V
p
= average mud velocity inside drillpipe in ft/sec
Determine whether the ow is laminar or turbulent.
Calculate the Hedstrom number in the drillpipe (N
Hep
)
Where

mud
= mud density in lb/gal
ID
DP
= inside diameter of drillpipe or drill collar in in
2
V
p
= average mud velocity inside drillpipe in ft/sec
Y
P
= yield point in lb/100 ft
2
P
V
= plastic viscosity in Cp
Determine critical Reynolds number (NRec) from gure 1 (page 8) using the calculated Hedstrom number
Calculate the Reynolds number in the drillpipe (N
Rep
)
Where

mud
= mud density in lb/gal
ID
DP
= inside diameter of drillpipe or drill collar in in
2
V
p
= average mud velocity inside drillpipe in ft/sec
Y
P
= yield point in lb/100 ft2
P
V
= plastic viscosity in cP
If N
Rep
< N
Rec
, the ow is laminar. If N
Rep
> N
Rec
, the ow is turbulent.
Turbulent fow pressure drop
= mud density in lb/gal
V
p
= average mud velocity inside drillpipe in ft/sec
P
V
= plastic viscosity in Cp
ID
DP
= inside diameter of drillpipe or drill collar in in
2
L = length of the drillpipe in feet
( )
2
408 . 0
sec /
DP
GPM
p
ID
PO
ft V

2
2
000 , 37
PV
ID YP
N
DP mud
Hep



PV
ID V
N
DP p mud
p

928
Re

L
ID
PV V
PD
DP
p
P

25 . 1
25 . 0 75 . 1 75 . 0
1800

7
Laminar fow pressure drop
Where
V
p
= average mud velocity inside drillpipe in ft/sec
Y
P
= yield point in lb/100 ft
2
ID
DP
= inside diameter of drillpipe or drill collar in in
2
L = length of the drillpipe in feet
P
V
= plastic viscosity in cP
Bingham-plastic inside the annulus for each
hydraulic interval
Average velocity inside the annulus (V
a
)

Where
ID
HOLE
= diameter of borehole or inside diameter of casing in in
2
OD
DP
= outside diameter of drillpipe or drill collar in in
2
PO
GPM
= pump output in gal/min
V
a
= average mud velocity inside annulus in ft/sec
Determine whether the ow is laminar or turbulent
Calculate the Hedstrom number in the annulus (N
Hea
)
Where
ID
HOLE
= diameter of borehole or inside diameter of casing in in
2
OD
DP
= outside diameter of drillpipe or drill collar in in
2
Y
P
= yield point in lb/100 ft
2
P
V
= plastic viscosity in cP

mud
= mud density in lb/gal
Determine critical Reynolds number (N
REC
) from gure1 using the calculated Hedstrom number
Calculate the Reynolds number in the annulus (N
Rea
)

Where

mud
= mud density in lb/gal
V
a
= average mud velocity inside annulus in ft/sec
ID
HOLE
= diameter of borehole or inside diameter of casing in in
2
OD
DP
= outside diameter of drillpipe or drill collar in in
2
P
V
= plastic viscosity in cP
If N
Rea
< N
Rec
, the ow is laminar. If N
Rea
> N
Rec
, the ow is turbulent.
L
ID
YP
ID
V PV
PD
DP
DP
p
P

(
(
,
\
,
,
(
j

225
1500
2
( )
2
2
700 , 24
PV
OD ID YP
N
DP HOLE mud
Hea



( )
2 2
408 . 0
sec /
DP HOLE
GPM
a
OD ID
PO
ft V


( )
PV
OD ID V
N
DP HOLE a mud
a

757
Re

8
Section
5brheology and hydraulics of drilling fuids
Turbulent fow pressure drop in annulus

Where

mud
= mud density in lb/gal
V
a
= average mud velocity inside annulus in ft/sec
P
V
= plastic viscosity in cP
ID
HOLE
= diameter of borehole or inside diameter of casing in in
2
OD
DP
= outside diameter of drillpipe or drill collar in in
2
L = length of the drillpipe in feet
Laminar fow pressure drop in annulus

Where
P
V
= plastic viscosity in cP
Y
P
= yield point in lb/100 ft
2
V
a
= average mud velocity inside annulus in ft/sec
ID
HOLE
= diameter of borehole or inside diameter of casing in in
2
OD
DP
= outside diameter of drillpipe or drill collar in in
2
L = length of the drillpipe in feet
( )
L
OD ID
PV V
PD
DP HOLE
a mud
a


25 . 1
25 . 0 75 . 1 75 . 0
1396


( )
( )
L
OD ID
YP
OD ID
V PV
PD
DP HOLE
DP HOLE
a
P

200
1000
2

Figure 1: Critical Reynolds numbers for Bingham-plastic uids. This graph shows Hedstrom numbers vs
Reynolds numbers for Bingham-plastic uids.
Critical Reynolds numbers for
Bingham Plastic Fluids
1.0E+02
1.0E+03
1.0E+04
1.0E+05
1.00E+03 1.00E+04 1.00E+05 1.00E+06 1.00E+07
Hedstrom number, NHe
C
r
i
t
i
c
a
l

R
e
y
n
o
l
d
s

n
u
m
b
e
r
,

N
R
e
c
deviated drilling
e
r
d
section 6
section 6a - hole cleaning
section 6b - barite sag
section 6c - lubricity
section 6a
hole cleaning
factors that impact hole cleaning 2
annular velocity (av) 2
drill pipe rotation 2
mud weight 2
hole angle 3
rheology 3
cutting size 3
drill pipe eccentricity 3
feed concentration (rop) 4
mud type 4
drill pipe size 4
signifcant parameters noted for cuttings bed
heights of <10%: angle 60 or greater 4
signifcant parameters noted for cuttings bed
heights of >50% 4
general 4
conclusions summary 5
hole cleaning in deviated wells 5
good hole cleaning practices 6
mud and rheology guidelines 6
fowrates and hydraulics 7
drillpipe rotation 8
monitoring hole cleaning performance 9
clean-up practices 10
tripping practices 10
back reaming and pumping out 11
remedial hole cleaning 13
running casing 14
section 6a
Scomi Oiltools
2
Section
6adeviated drilling - hole cleaning
factors that impact hole cleaning
The ten factors identied as being of most importance to good hole cleaning in deviated wells are:
Annular velocity
Mud density
Mud rheology
Mud type (oil or water)
Cutting size
ROP
Drill pipe rotation
Drill pipe eccentricity
Drill pipe diameter
Hole angle (45-90 deg)
annular velocity (av)
Annular velocity has been found to be the most signicant factor impacting hole cleaning and
minimising cuttings bed height. In studies bed heights have been found to occupy >40% of
the annular space when the annular velocity is maintained below 40 m/min (131 ft/min) and
<10% of annular space when maintained at greater than 80 m/min (262 ft/min). Increasing the
annular velocity can, in combination with other variables, diminish the cuttings bed height.
Additionally the effects of other variables such as hole angle and drill pipe rotation will diminish
with increasing annular velocity.
drill pipe rotation
Rotation is desirable and effective in minimising cuttings beds. The effect of rotation is substantial
at low annular velocities and high hole angles and minimal at high annular velocities and low hole
angles. The effect of rotation diminishes with increased annular velocity and increases with increased
mud density. The impact of eccentric drill pipe positively improves the effect of drill pipe rotation and
high rotary rpm will combine effectively with high rheology at low annular velocities to reduce the
cuttings bed height.
The effect of rotation is optimised by increasing the drill pipe diameter. Cutting size will also impact
the effect of rotation, i.e. by doubling the size of the cutting the effect of rotation will be halved.
Rotation is especially desirable and effective at angles of 60 or greater. Where ROP, cuttings size
and cuttings density is high the effect of rotation decreases.
mud weight
Along with annular velocity, mud weight has the greatest impact on hole cleaning. Bed heights
can occupy >40% of the annular space when mud weights are low and <10% of annular space
when mud weights were high. The industry study found there was little potential for cuttings bed
formation when the mud density is >1.70 S.G., even for low annular velocities. Field experience
indicates cuttings beds are unavoidable at low mud weights, even when annular velocities are
maximised. From acuminated data it would appear mud weight had a signicantly greater impact
on cuttings bed height than mud rheology. It was also observed in the study that cuttings bed sliding
diminished with increasing mud weight.
deviated drilling - hole cleaning
3
hole angle
Between 45

and 60, dynamic cuttings beds continuously slide downward, especially at lower
annular velocities and diminishes as the hole angle increases past 60. Between 45 and 60, cuttings
beds immediately slide and tumble downward under static conditions. Average dynamic cuttings bed
height is consistently higher at 60 than at 45. Between 75 and 90, cuttings beds are maintained
uniformly in height over time, and become packed. Of the 4 major variables i.e. AV, rotary rpm, mud
weight and hole angle, hole angle had the lowest impact.
rheology
Rheology is only moderately effective at reducing cuttings bed height. The effect of rheology is
improved at high annular velocities and is greatest when one or more of the major variables are
optimised (i.e. AV, mud density and rpm. Cuttings bed heights tend to be lower at hole angles
between 75

and 90 with low rheology muds. The effect of rheology on bed height is less evident
in hole angles between 45 and 60. High rheology combines effectively with high rotary rpm at low
AV and reduces cuttings bed height. Bed heights occupy >40% of annular space with low AV and low
mud density and no rotation in high angle holes. Bed heights occupy <10% of annular space with low
rheology combined with high AV, low mud weight and no rotation in high angle holes.
cutting size
The impact of cutting size is dependent upon cutting density and feed rate (i.e. ROP). Doubling
the cutting size and ROP may double the bed height unless one or more of the major variables are
optimised (i.e. AV, rotary rpm and mud density). Doubling the size of cuttings generally halves the impact
of rotary rpm on hole cleaning.
drill pipe eccentricity
The eccentric position of drill pipe is desirable in high angle and horizontal wells when rotary
rpm is applied. The effect of rotary rpm on hole cleaning is greatest when pipe position is
eccentric. AV will tend to reduce cuttings bed height more effectively when drill pipe is concentric
or centred.
Figure 1: Eccentric Pipe Flow Patterns
4
Section
6adeviated drilling - hole cleaning
Drill pipe eccentricity:
Signicant effect on annular pressure drop
A skewed drill string can have innite number of eccentricities at the same time
Usually an unmeasured factor, but of great importance to hole cleaning
While sliding, equals tool joint stand-off
While rotating > 25 rpm, DP lifts off-bottom
Effect of Drill Pipe Eccentricity in Deviated Wellbore
Rapidly alters velocity distribution throughout the annulus
Flow in the annular narrow gap greatly reduced; ow in the wide gap greatly increased
Flow distribution largely controlled by uid ow index n
Flow prols can be generated in computer programs
feed concentration (rop)
Increases in ROP do not greatly impact cuttings bed height as compared to the major variables
(i.e. AV, rotary rpm and mud density). High ROP is sustainable in most cases if the cuttings size is small.
High ROP is not sustainable if the cuttings size is large unless the major variables are optimised (i.e. AV,
rotary rpm and mud density).
mud type
Mud type has marginal effects and does not interact with other variables. Results are more predictable
with OBM and bed sliding is normally more prevalent with OBM
drill pipe size
Drill pipe diameter has minimal effects on cuttings bed heights. Effectiveness of rotary rpm is
impacted by drill pipe diameter and cuttings size.
signifcant parameters noted for cuttings bed heights of <10%: angle 60 or
greater
High AV
High mud weight
Drill pipe centred
Lower mud rheology
Drill pipe rotating
signifcant parameters noted for cuttings bed heights of >50%
Low AV
No drill pipe rotation
Low mud wt
Horizontal ow
Higher mud rheology
Drill pipe centred
general
Studies consistently demonstrate the difculty of removing cuttings beds once they accumulate.
Under normal circumstances, as much as half the annular area may be lled by a cuttings bed.
Cuttings beds formed at angles of between 45 60 tend to continuously slide and tumble down
the low side of the hole.
At angles of between 60
o
and 90
o
, cuttings beds are static, with little tumbling and sliding behaviour.
The most signicant variables impacting cuttings bed height are AV, rpm, mud weight and hole
angle.
5
conclusions summary
It requires a heavy emphasis on AV and rotation to minimise the development of a cuttings bed.
Mud weight is subject to the predicted pore pressure gradients and therefore cannot be easily
manipulated to optimise hole cleaning.
Hole angle while subject to target location can to a certain extent be designed to optimise hole
cleaning.
Cuttings beds are easier to control during the drilling phase than they are to subsequently
remove at TD.
hole cleaning in deviated wells
Cuttings beds will form in high angle wellbores, regardless of how efcient the hole cleaning
practices are. How the cuttings are distributed in the hole will dictate the measures that are required
to move them. Management of the cuttings in the hole is a key to efcient drilling operations.
A wellbore does not have to be 100% clean, or free of cuttings to be clean. Every high angle
wellbore will have a cuttings bed of some kind. A cuttings bed that is clean for drilling is not
necessarily the same as that for tripping a BHA, running casing or running wireline logs. When
approaching hole-cleaning issues it is important to understand the behaviour of cuttings beds at
different hole angles.
Hole cleaning in general can be divided into 3 categories which have quite different strategies and
circumstances.
0 - 45 wells
45 - 60 wells
60 - 90 wells
In a vertical to 45 well cuttings are brought to surface by combating cuttings slip velocity where
the cutting must fall thousands of feet to reach the bottom of the hole.
Figure 2 shows dynamic cuttings bed behaviour at 45, the cuttings bed takes on a dune formation
as cuttings are continually picked up and brought into the mud ow by pipe rotation. After some
distance the cutting again falls to the low side of the hole where it is again picked up and transported
further up the wellbore, this process is continually repeated until the cutting is nally discharged
onto the shale shaker screen at surface.

Major impact on cuttings bed
Annular Velocity
Pipe Rotation
Mud Density
Hole Angle
Moderate impact on cuttings bed
Rheology
Cuttings Size
Eccentricity
Minor impact on Cuttings bed
Feed Rate (ROP)
Type of Mud
Drill Pipe Size
6
Section
6adeviated drilling - hole cleaning
In wells with inclinations in the range of 45 - 60, cuttings begin to form dunes as the distance for
them to fall to bottom is now measured in inches. Due to the hole angle there is a constant
tendency for cuttings beds to tumble and slide during the drilling process, and once ow stops
cuttings beds will immediately slide.
Inclinations of 60 - 90 present a different set of operational circumstances. Here the cuttings fall
to the low side of the hole and form a long continuous cuttings bed. Although the challenges
associated with an avalanching dune have gone away, hole cleaning in this environment is actually
more difcult and time consuming.
Figure 3 shows dynamic cuttings bed behaviour at 90
o
, beds quickly become packed and bed height
remains stable over time (with constant rpm / gpm).
Figure 2
Figure 3
good hole cleaning practices
Good tripping and drilling practices are critical to ensuring acceptable hole cleaning. The benets
of a powerful, purpose built drilling rig can easily be negated by poor or inappropriate drilling practices.
mud and rheology guidelines
Regardless of the mud type the overall objective is to maintain a pumpable uid with low-end
rheology that is high enough to keep cuttings moving out of the hole. The use of 6 rpm readings
as a primary indicator of hole cleaning capability and maintaining low PV (plastic viscosity) for
pumpability is widely accepted. Generally maintain 6 rpm Fann readings at 1.0 to 1.5 x hole diameter.
Maintain high rheology, YP = > 25 lbs/100ft
2
to achieve good primary hole cleaning.
Try to avoid pumping low-vis / hi-vis pills. The focus should be on primary hole cleaning to minimise
the formation of cuttings beds in the rst place. It is thought that such pills lead to uneven mud
properties and pack offs, contributing to the hole instability.
90 degrees
Flow
7
Low-vis pills create turbulent ow (intended to stir up cuttings) in the wellbore but this has a number
of detrimental effects. The turbulent ow may contribute to the erosion of shales and the turbulence
creates localised shifting patterns of lower than average and higher than average pressure which
can give rise to shale splinters. These shale splinters are often interpreted as pressure cavings and
the mud weight is increased, increasing PV and exacerbating the problem.
Hi-vis pills are likely to pick up large quantities of cuttings and cavings, which can result in pack-off.
fowrates and hydraulics
Pump at the maximum available owrate at all time. This will be limited by formation pressure integrity.
Use the ECD as a guide to maximum owrate possible without compromising hole integrity.
Flowrate is the key parameter for hole cleaning rate, as shown in the gure 4. The faster the pump rate
the quicker the hole is cleaned, so long as the rpm is sufciently high, preferably >120 rpm.
There is a minimum hurdle owrate that must be exceeded if there is to be any hole cleaning in a
high angle wellbore. Field experience also suggests that there is a point of diminishing benet for
owrate increases. It is important to appreciate that as long as cuttings are moving up the hole at a
faster rate than they are being generated, then the hole is being cleaned. Flowrate will affect the rate
of cleaning and allow faster cuttings generation to be tolerated.
When discussing the desired owrate for highly deviated, say 1,000 1,200 gpm in 12-1/4 hole, it
is not unusual to be told that such high owrate will wash out the hole. Many people have concerns
that turbulent ow will result in erosion of the wellbore. This is a misnomer for several reasons.
For all intents and purposes, it is impossible to get turbulent ow in the drillpipe annulus, regardless
of the owrates with the viscous mud systems that will be used in highly deviated wells.
Figure 4 - Flowrate Effect on Hole Cleaning
8
Section
6adeviated drilling - hole cleaning
Such high owrates, 1,000 1,200 gpm (3785 - 4543 L/min) in 12-1/4 hole will give theoretical
AVs (Annular Velocities) of 196 231 ft/min (60 - 70 m/min) across 5 drillpipe and 235 277 ft/min
(72 - 85 m/min) across 6-5/8 drillpipe. When you consider that walking pace is approximately
350 ft/min (107 m/min) (4 mph / 6.4 kph) it is difcult to visualise that such relatively low velocities
can erode the wellbore.
drillpipe rotation
High speed drillpipe rotation is critical for good hole cleaning in the high angle portion of the well.
Flowrate alone is ineffective unless the pipe is being rotated fast enough to stir the cuttings into the
ow regime. When slide drilling the drilling uid is near stationary on the low side of the hole where
the cuttings are so no hole cleaning takes place.
Figure 5: Annular Fluid Movement in High Angle Wells
High Velocity Fluid
Low Velocity Fluid
on Low side of Hole
Cuttings bed on low side of hole will be
disturbed by uid ow unless stirred up by
pipe rotation
Fluid moves almost uniformly throughout
annulus in a vertical wellbore. Cuttings move
evenly in annullus
Vertical Wellbore High Angle Wellbore
Field experience suggests that there are key rotary speeds that produce step changes in hole cleaning
performance on highly deviated wells. The mechanics of why these key speeds occur is unclear, especially
since they remain relatively constant for variations in hole size, drillpipe size and mud systems.
Step changes in cuttings returns occur at 100 120 rpm and again at 150 180 rpm as shown in the gure
6 overleaf.
Figure 6 - Effect of Pipe Rotation on Hole Cleaning
0 25 50 75 100 150 125 175 200
Rotary Speed

(rpm)
Step changes in cuttings return occur at 100

120 rpm and again at 150 180 rpm.
Fine tuning of rotary speed from 60 80
rpm is generally not meaningful.

The hurdle

speed of 100 120 rpm must be exceeded

for significant improvement
Cuttings Return Variation with Pipe Speed
0 25 50 75 100 150 125 175 200
Rotary Speed

(rpm)
Step changes in cuttings return occur at 100

120 rpm and again at 150 180 rpm.
Fine tuning of rotary speed from 60 80
rpm is generally not meaningful.

The hurdle

speed of 100 120 rpm must be exceeded

for significant improvement
Cuttings Return Variation with Pipe Speed
C
u
t
t
i
n
g
s

R
e
t
u
r
n
9
If possible slide only in the middle of a stand. This will result in rotating before and after the sliding
period to move cuttings deposited during the sliding period well away from the BHA prior to making a
connection. Also less angle will be lost when reaming the stand.
monitoring hole cleaning performance
rop
Historically, there have been two different schools of thought on drilling ROP in high angle hole
sections. Some choose to drill at maximum instantaneous ROP and then perform remedial hole
cleaning operations as required. Alternately some nominate a safe ROP at which the hole can be kept
clean as it is drilled ahead.
High instantaneous ROP and remedial hole cleaning are likely to result in periods when the well
unloads cuttings at a rate that cannot be handled by the containment system.
torque and drag monitoring
This is one of the primary methods of monitoring hole cleaning as the information is readily available
and easily interpreted on the rig oor.
Surface torque and drag monitoring involves taking torque, rotating string weight, pick and slack-
off weights at every connection. As the well is drilled deeper the values for up weight, rotating weight
and down weight will all slowly increase, as will the difference between them. When the up and down
weight lines diverge away from the predicted trends, i.e. up weight increases and down weight
decreases it can indicate build up of cuttings beds in the well and a requirement to stop and circulate
clean. Examples of these trends are shown in gure 7 below.
Figure 7 - Torque & Drag Monitoring
Stri ng Wei ghts
60
70
80
90
100
110
120
130
140
2400 2600 2800 3000 3200 3400 3600 3800
Measured Depth

(feet)
Up W e ig h t
R o t a t in g W e ig ht
Do wn W e ig h t
Up & Do wn we igh t s d iv e rg in g ,
in dica t in g p o o r h ole c le a nin g
St o p p ed dr illin g &
circ u la t e d w ell c le a n
Up & D ow n we ig h t s d iv e r g in g ,

in d ic a t ing p oo r h o le c le a n in g .
S t o p d r illin g & circ u la t e clea n

The theoretical predictions that the actual data is compared to must be of good quality. Not only
is the software model important but the input data must be of good quality and continuously
calibrated with actual measured values. Most importantly, the data must be collected in the same
manner for each data point to ensure consistent, reliable output.
10
Section
6adeviated drilling - hole cleaning
It is important to trust the torque and drag modelling but it is just as important that its limitations
are well understood. Torque and drag modelling has proven to be an excellent tool for monitoring
cuttings bed build up but there are many actions that may be occurring that will not necessarily
show up or may be misinterpreted. Differential sticking, key-seating and wellbore instability effects
should not be misinterpreted as cuttings build up. The symptoms of these problems are different
and their identication underlines the importance of collecting and interpreting the torque and drag
data in conjunction with centrally monitored drilling parameters on an ongoing basis.
clean-up practices
Effective hole clean-up practices are essential to successful and risk free tripping. It is vital that the
hole is cleaned adequately prior to POOH. This does not mean that there should be no cuttings at
all but simply that any cuttings bed height is sufciently low and evenly distributed to allow the bit
and BHA or casing to pass through without problems. The introduction of the top drive system has
lead to many operators choosing not to invest time in cleaning the hole prior to tripping since they
have the ability to backream if necessary. This has developed into a time consuming and risky practice.
Generally, prior to POOH, the hole should be circulated with maximum available owrate and
maximum allowable pipe rpm while working the last stand on bottom. Do not stop circulating as the
sudden reduction in owrate may induce avalanching of cuttings, leading to pack-off and stuck pipe.
Avoid circulating at the same depth for an extended period to prevent the creation of ledges but do
not lay out stands unless absolutely necessary.
When reciprocating the pipe do not run the pipe up and down between the same depths, as this
will create ledges at these depths. The consequence of this is that the rotating bit will damage
the lowermost stand of the wellbore. As the rest of the section is likely to have washouts anyway
this is deemed acceptable but the impact of any loss of inclination may have to be determined.
Circulation and rotation should continue until the hole cleans up. Do not stop circulation after a
nominal 1 or 2 bottoms up. Good cuttings return in highly deviated wells does not actually commence
until after 1 to 2 bottoms up, and for the shakers to clean up may take 4 bottoms up.
The cuttings return volume will also vary erratically with time as the hole is cleaned up, especially if
periods of slide drilling have been used. Slide drilling will create dunes of cuttings in the wellbore,
which as they are circulated out will give the appearance that the hole is unloading.
Regardless of the length of time that it takes to clean the hole up prior to POOH, it is worth the
investment.
tripping practices
Tripping practices should be tailored specically for high angle wells. As the inclination increases
and cuttings beds form, these can be very problematic. If tripping procedures do not account for
this phenomenon, then back reaming through tight hole will result in an inappropriate, time consuming
and sometimes dangerous operation.
The primary rules are:
Always assume that any tight hole or overpull is due to cuttings and hole cleaning related.
Clean up the hole using maximum rotation and circulation for the minimum number of bottoms
up as calculated using the lag model and then until the shakers are clean.
Do not assume that cased hole is a safe haven for tight hole avoidance. It is not unheard of for stuck
pipe to occur inside casing, either just inside the shoe or many thousands of feet inside casing.
11
POOH without pumps or rotation.
If tight hole is encountered, progressively increase overpull ensuring that the string is free to
move down at each stage before increasing the overpull. If the string cannot be pulled through
the tight hole proceed as per the guidelines in the Section Guidelines For Back Reaming Through
Tight Hole.
back reaming and pumping out
Although back reaming may be considered an appropriate practice in vertical wells and
conventional low angle deviated wells. Back reaming and pumping out of hole are not appropriate
practices for high angle well bores when tight hole is encountered or as a primary hole cleaning tool.
Back reaming and pumping out of hole are not only considered to be very inefcient but can also
be very risky on highly deviated wells.
Whereas tight hole in vertical wells is likely to be due to wellbore conditions, tight hole in highly
deviated wells is likely to be due to hole cleaning and cuttings. Back reaming and pumping out
of hole through a cuttings bed can very easily lead to packing off, stuck pipe and possible loss of the
string and wellbore.
The reason that back reaming or pumping out is so dangerous in high angle wellbores is that the
process completely cleans the hole below the bit/BHA rather than leaving a small cuttings bed
along the bottom of the hole. The cuttings instead are deposited in a dune just above the top of the
drill collars. This signicantly increases the chance of packing off as the top of the drill collars is pulled
into the cuttings bed.
Figure 8 : Effect on Cuttings Bed of Back reaming or Pumping Out

Acceptable Cuttings Bed for Tripping
A cuttings bed exists but the hole is acceptably
clean to allow trouble free tripping. Cutting
are left below the bit.
Harmless cuttings
are left below the bit
Cutting Dune is created
above the BHA
When back reaming or pumping out the hole is completely cleaned
below the bit and the cuttings deposited as a dune above the top
of the BHA. The dune represents a signicant pack-off/sruckpipe
risk.
Situation During Back Reaming or Pumping OOH
No cuttings are left
below the bit
12
Section
6adeviated drilling - hole cleaning
A feature of high angle wells that utilise back reaming is that the wellbores often seem to deteriorate
over time, especially if any tight hole occurred whilst back reaming. When a well packs off whilst
back reaming or pumping out of the hole, the wellbore below the pack-off is subjected to a very rapid
increase in pressure as the rig pumps are still running. This can force mud into the shales creating
micro-fractures and consequently cavings, which add to the hole cleaning problems.
back reaming guidelines
If back reaming is necessary the following recommendations are made:
Pumping out of the hole will not be carried out as the pumping out process creates a cuttings
dune above the BHA but provides no hole cleaning ability in the drill pipe annulus above the BHA.
Back reaming should only be performed with ideal parameters. Even at low owrate the
process will still clean the wellbore extremely well around the BHA, creating a cuttings dune
above the BHA. However without sufcient owrates and rotary speed the cuttings dune cannot
be cleaned away from the BHA sufciently.
The pulling speed is a critical parameter, too fast and the top of the drill collars will be pulled into
the cuttings dune, creating a pack off and possibly leading to stuck pipe. The process needs to be
based on surface torque readings by the driller as a means of determining pulling speed.
guidelines for back reaming through tight hole
It should always be assumed that any tight spot during a trip is a cuttings related problem. If a tight
spot is encountered while POOH then the following guidelines should be followed.
1. If the hole is sufciently tight that the string cannot be pulled through, RIH 3 to 5 stands until the
BHA is clear of the obstruction and circulate with maximum owrate and rotation for 30 minutes.
2. Never commence pumping or rotation while the BHA lies in or close to the obstruction. If the
BHA cannot be moved down, perhaps because it is close to bottom, then gradually start rotation
prior to bringing on the pumps slowly.
3. POOH again without pumps or rotation. If the tight spot has disappeared or moved up the hole
then the tight hole was probably due to a cuttings bed. The BHA should then be tripped back
into hole and the well circulated clean with maximum owrate and rotary speed.
4. If the tight spot is in the same place, then it may be assumed to be something other than
cuttings alone and careful back reaming may be necessary until past the restriction.
5. If back reaming has taken place, great care should be taken when beginning to POOH again
as a cuttings dune may have built up above the BHA and may cause a pack off and stuck pipe. Consider
circulating the hole clean again before resuming tripping.
guidelines for precautionary back reaming
On occasion, it may be necessary to back ream in an highly deviated well for precautionary reasons.
1. Prior to precautionary back reaming, the hole should be cleaned up with maximum owrate
and rotation.
2. The is some danger that cleaning up the hole before back reaming may be seen as a waste of
time, given that the hole is to be back reamed anyway. However, the intent of circulating clean
is to get the cuttings level down to a more manageable, lower risk level, before commencing
a relatively high risk operation (i.e. back reaming).
3. Back ream slowly out of the hole with maximum allowable owrates and pipe rotation. If
owrate is limited it may be advisable to back ream in stages with several stops to clean the hole
to a safer level of cuttings or at least redistribute them away from the BHA.
4. It must always be remembered that a potentially dangerous cuttings dune exists above the
BHA. The driller should be vigilant for indications (e.g. increased torque) that the BHA is being
pulled into this cuttings dune and that a pack off or stuck pipe is imminent if appropriate action
is not taken.
13
remedial hole cleaning
It is better to stay on bottom at an optimised ROP, controlled to match hole cleaning and cuttings
containment capacity than it is to drill in short fast burst and then use remedial operations to clean
the hole.
If drilling practices and parameters are optimised, it is generally possible to drill for very long intervals
and very long periods without any wiper trips or any other remedial measures.
However, there may be occasions where some remedial actions may be required, e.g. equipment
failure, deteriorating wellbore condition or suddenly poor mud properties. Any remedial operations
should be based on clear torque and drag and cuttings return trends. Furthermore, the effectiveness
of the remedial operations should be observed and quantied before and after the operation.
use of sweeps
If the correct mud properties are maintained and drilling practices include high rotary speeds
then the mud system will clean the hole. Once the mud system is right the use of sweeps only
acts to cause deterioration of the ideal mud properties.
In highly deviated wells mud rheology is already difcult enough to keep within specication without the
detrimental effect of sweeps being absorbed into the system. Furthermore, their use in highly deviated
wells has proven largely ineffective, regardless of the sweep design.
In an highly deviated well with the uid ow along the top of the hole, even the most viscous of
pills will allow cuttings to fall to the bottom of the hole. Also as the pipe is rotated and the uid
ow prole takes effect, mixing of the sweep with the drilling uid is inevitable. The most common
result is that a sweep is never detected back at surface.
A further concern is that sweeps may pick up cuttings in concentrated amounts, which can have a
detrimental effect on ECD.
On the rare occasions that sweeps do bring cuttings back it is unlikely that they come from very
far down the hole. Almost certainly, the cuttings recovered are from the build or vertical section of the
well.
stop drilling and circulate
Picking up off bottom and circulating should be looked upon as the rst remedial hole cleaning
option once changes in the drilling parameters and ROP have proved ineffective. As discussed
previously this operation should be performed with maximum owrate and rotary speed.
Remember off bottom owrate and rotary speed may be higher than that used for drilling.
If hole cleaning is a problem consider circulating prior to connections for 10 minutes while rotating
at maximum speed and gently reciprocate the string to minimise hole damage in one spot. This
will ensure that cuttings are well above the BHA so that when the pumps are turned off they will
not avalanche back across the BHA and pack it off.
14
Section
6adeviated drilling - hole cleaning
wiper trips
Generally, it should be possible to make precautionary and remedial wiper trips for hole cleaning
unnecessary. It has been proved that if good practices and strategies have been used throughout
then long high angle hole sections can be drilled without wiper trips.
It may still be necessary to wipe a hole for other reasons, e.g. swelling shale interval.
back reaming
As discussed previously, back reaming is a time consuming and risky practice on highly deviated
wells. It should not be used as a general practice or tool. If back reaming is to be performed as a
remedial option due to tight hole then it should only be performed after determining that cuttings
are not the problem.
A signicant cuttings bed will probably be created above the BHA after back reaming, therefore,
it is important to clean the hole up via circulation and rotation prior to POOH after back reaming.
It is accepted that there is a time an place for back reaming, such as across a depleted reservoir or
through a swelling shale.
running casing
Should it be required to circulate casing, the well should be circulated clean. Otherwise, cuttings
will just be deposited as cuttings beds higher up in the well. The casing will be run deeper past the
trouble spot. The cuttings higher up in the wellbore may now avalanche down and pack-off the casing.
section 6b
barite sag
introduction 2
barite sag fandamentals 2
key parameters 2
infuencing factors 3
symptoms 3
awareness & planning 3
mud properties & testing 4
prevention 5
management of sag problems 5
monitoring 5
operational practices 6
section 6b
Scomi Oiltools
2
Section
6bdeviated drilling - hole cleaning
introduction
Barite sag is recognised as a signicant hazard in deviated wells using both weighted oil and water
based drilling muds. Detailed research has been conducted into the underlying fundamentals
and key inuencing factors causing barite sag. The following guidelines will detail how good planning
and job execution will ensure the drilling uid does not allow barite sag.
barite sag fundamentals
Barite sag is the result of dynamic and / or static slumping of weight material in the annulus.
The majority of sag occurs under dynamic conditions in deviated wells.
Barite beds caused by dynamic sag tend to slump down the well during static periods, causing
density variations. Sag beds behave differently and have different characteristics to cuttings beds.
At low solids concentrations, settling occurs in a segregated way, whereas in dense concentrations
settling occurs block-wise at relatively low velocity. During sag, the denser, larger particles settle
rst, causing the overlying uid to be lighter and more buoyant. This reduces the settling velocity
of the smaller particles in the higher buoyed uid over time.
Sag can occur in any well deviated by more than 30
o
. The effect is most pronounced in wells with
a deviation of between 60
o
and 75
o
. Sag beds formed at angles below 60
o
slump faster than those
at higher angles.
Sag can occur in any uid type and at any density range where weight material is present. Generally,
the higher the density the greater the risk. Sag increases with time
Sag can occur dynamically where it is absent or minimal under static conditions.
Local settling at the top and low sides of the well during low-rate circulations and static periods
causes a pressure imbalance, forcing lighter mud upwards and accelerating the sag process, known as
the Boycott effect.
The 4 zones of barite sag beds are, from bottom to top, the slump bed, sediment bed, suspension
zone and claried uid zone.
Volume gains / losses can be induced by sag due to annular density variations.
key parameters
Hole Angle & Length
Annular Velocity
Drill Pipe Rotation
Flow Regime
Mud density
Mud Rheology
Weight Material
Particle Size & Shape
Particle Concentration
Time
deviated drilling - barite sag
3
infuencing factors
Barite sag is principally controlled by dynamic ow.
Flow rate & drill pipe rotation are the most important drilling parameters which inuence sag.
Low annular velocities induce sag, especially when the drill pipe is eccentric & not rotating.
Mud rheology is a key sag control mechanism.
Sag impacts upon critical wells with close pore pressure & fracture gradients.
High temperatures generally thin muds, increasing the sag potential of uids.
Sag potential depends upon the mass of weight material.
Casing design impacts sag potential when small gauge holes coincide with large annular diameters
in the well, reducing the annular velocities in the broader zones.
The higher the O/W ratio of an oil mud, the greater the sag potential.
Over-treatment of wetting agents can thin uids and increase sag potential.
Fluid loss reducers and other additives can reduce mud rheology and increase the sag potential.
In water base uids, there is a greater potential for solids agglomeration of smaller particles.
Particle size distribution is a key determining factor.
Excessive solids control processing can increase sag potential by reducing particle size variations.
symptoms
Mud Weight Fluctuations
Any inexplicable variations in mud weights might indicate a sag problem. Heavy spots can often be
correlated with slugs pumped. Light spots are often the rst indications of barite sag.
Stand Pipe Pressure Variations
Fluctuations can occur as light and heavy spots pass through the drill pipe and nozzles. Variations
can occur due to mud hydrostatic differentials and frictional pressure losses. These are often cyclic in
nature.
Increased torque & drag
Settled barite beds may increase torque and drag in a similar way to cuttings beds in deviated wells.
Mud losses and gains
Unexpected losses may occur when heavy spots reach the near-vertical section of the well, causing
increases in the uid hydrostatic pressure. The opposite may occur, when light spots reduce the
hydrostatic, causing the well to ow.
awareness & planning
Awareness and planning are essential prerequisites to eliminating sag problems. Anticipate and
plan for potential barite sag in all deviated wells above 30
o
, especially for 60
o
- 75
o
wells.
Be aware that well planning, well type, well environment, well prole, casing design and hole size,
will directly inuence the potential risk of sag.
Where necessary, conduct pre-well uids testing to assess the potential for barite sag and
incorporate specic mud property and engineering guidelines in uids programs. Program for, and
provide, the relevant additional uids testing equipment and reporting guidelines for well site
engineers.
In ERD wells, recognise that constraining factors, such as the need to control ECD values and
SPP limitations, may restrict the ability to manipulate anti-sag mechanisms such as rheology
adjustments and ow rates.
4
Section
6bdeviated drilling - hole cleaning
Recognise that barite sag beds are different from cuttings beds in their behaviour and that sag
beds may be readily dispersed by correct application of ow rates and rotary.
mud properties & testing
rheology
Primary Mechanisms
The primary mud property control mechanism for barite sag is manipulation of the low shear rheology,
Fann 6 and 3 rpm values, for dynamic sag and the initial 10 sec gel strength for control of static sag.
Well-bore temperatures affect rheology and well-site measurements need to properly account for the
effects of bore hole temperatures on rheology.
Low Shear Rheology
Elevating the low shear rheology and establishing the correct relationship between these two
variables is a proven mud control mechanism for eliminating dynamic sag. A rheology value known
as the Low Shear Rate Yield Point (LSRYP), obtained by the formula 2 x 3 rpm 6 rpm, may be used
to measure the uid sag-control condition. In general, LSRYP values in the range 7 - 15 lb/100ft
2
have
been shown to eliminate sag but the optimum range of LSRYP values for a specic uid should be
arrived at by experience.
Gel Strengths
The 10 sec gel strength should be high enough to deter static sag. Values below 7 have been shown
to result in greatly increased static sag potential. Again, testing and eld experience will indicate
the correct range of values for a specic uid. The 10 min & 30 min gels do not form sag control
mechanisms.
Temperature Effects
Higher temperatures thin muds and generally lower the rheology, especially oil base systems.
Rheology measurements need to account for temperature effects.
mud weight
Mud weight measurements are a key area for monitoring sag. To ensure accuracy, measurements
should be taken frequently, especially after trips, using a pressurised mud balance, which should be
regularly calibrated.
Plotting mud weights against other variables such as time and SPP can often reveal cyclic and other
trends in sag behaviour.
oil / water ratio
Increasing the O/W ratio tends to thin oil based muds and increase the sag potential or sag
rate. Increasing the low shear rate modier concentration will help combat this problem.
particle size distribution
Particle size variations are benecial in deterring sag. Conversely, uniformity of particle size
encourages sag. Measurement of the particle size distribution and other particle properties helps
to understand sag problems and provides information that may be used correctively.
sag testing
Various apparatus exist for sag measurement for use on high temperature ERD wells. It may be
prudent to provide well-site sag testing apparatus such as this for critical wells, where the results
can then be used as a guide to treatments.
5
prevention
Ensure that adequate pre-well uid testing has been conducted and that the sag potential of the
uid has been identied.
Avoid using old uid that has been identied as problematical. If using an old uid, ensure that it
has been properly re-conditioned and contains as broad a spectrum of particle sizes as practicable.
Ensure that the uid has a sufcient LSRYP to deter sag and that the LSRYP is maintained within
the desired range.
Ensure that all organophilic clays are exposed to high temperature and pressure shear. This
is important for them to achieve full yield and therefore effectiveness. This type of shear is
usually accomplished either by a special HTHP surface shear system or by circulating through the
bit.
Maintain the 10 sec gel strength within the desired range and avoid low static barite sag.
Avoid excessive dilutions, which lower rheological values and encourage sag.
Avoid excessive solids control techniques, which degrade the solids and reduce the particle
size variation. Where protracted centrifuging is necessary to control LGS, replenish the uid with
fresh weight material and suspension agents.
Maintain an adequate concentration of low shear rate (LSR) modier, i.e. premium grade clay,
especially when diluting.
Avoid using low shear rate (LSR) liquid rheology modiers, which have been shown to be less
effective sag control mechanisms than solids.
Levels of surfactant or oil wetting agent must be sufcient to prevent barite agglomeration into large
clusters.
Avoid increases in the O/W ratio unless specically required to reduce or minimise pump
pressures.
Avoid over thinning uids prior to running casing and preferably do not thin until casing has been
run.
Ensure that the uid is in condition prior to any extended low-shear operations such as running
casing or logging.
Maintain strict QC testing of weight materials, LSR modier, LSR liquid rheology modiers and
suspension agents.
Avoid over-treating with additives and surfactants which are known to encourage sag.
Avoid prolonged periods of non-rotational slow circulation, especially where annular velocities
in critical deviated intervals fall below 50 ft/min.
Regularly calibrate mud testing equipment and use a pressure balance to measure the uid
density.
Periodically conduct particle size analysis in order to provide a early warning of impending sag.
The use of sub API grade (325 mesh) barite has proven benecial.
management of sag problems
Sometimes, it is not possible to prevent a sag problem. Therefore, it is necessary to manage it. Success or
failure will be governed by the well conditions and by well-site actions.
monitoring
It is important to monitor the variables appropriately in order to be able to determine if there is a
problem and to judge the effectiveness or otherwise of any remedial actions.
Mud Weights Monitor mud weights closely and ensure that a pressure balance is used for accuracy.
Plot graphs of mud weight against other variables to determine any cyclic behaviour.
Stand Pipe Pressure Monitor the SPP and record any unexplainable uctuations. Fluctuations
could be caused by density variations inside the drill string, barite beds leading to slumping and
partial pack-off or density variations in the well resulting in U-tubing differentials.
6
Section
6bdeviated drilling - hole cleaning
Torque & Drag High torque and drag may indicate the presence of a barite sag bed. Remember
that, unlike cuttings beds, sag beds behave as liquids and ow down the well bore.
Volumes Monitor volumes closely. Barite sag can become a well-control problem, caused by density
variations in the upper near-vertical annulus, leading to down-hole losses and gains.
operational practices
Circulating & Conditioning - If barite sag is observed, attempt to remedy by stopping operations
to circulate and condition the uid for as long as necessary. Ensure sufcient circulating time to allow
for any rheology modications to be effective and to balance out any density variations. Premium
grade clay viscosiers, e.g. CONFI-GEL HT, require both shear and temperature to fully develop the
rheology. If there is no impediment, ensure maximum annular velocity and rotary during circulations.
Adjusting the LSRYP Where possible, adjust the LSRYP to a higher value by additions of low shear
rate modiers and allow time for treatments to be effective.
Rotary Vs Sliding Sag is greater when the pipe is stationary and otationis a proven deterrent
mechanism. If slide drilling, especially on ERD wells with angles between 60 and 75, attempt to
compensate with high annular velocities. Supplement this technique where necessary by pulling back
one stand and rotating at high speed, especially after prolonged periods of slide drilling. Design the
BHA for this contingency.
Trips Recognise that sag increases with time. Consider rotary wiper trips to stir up barite beds
and consider staging into the well following trips and static periods in order to minimise the effect
of reintroducing settled weight material into the system.
Additional Mud Testing - Determine if there are additional tests, site or shore-based, or mud
testing methods that may help to indicate the way to reduce or even eliminate the sag problem.
fne grind weight materials
Traditional weight materials used for high density uids are primarily API barite and occasionally
haematite. Recently interest has been growing in the use of specialty materials including ne grind
barite (HyPR-BAR) and manganese tetraoxide (HYDRO-MAX). These ne grind materials do not readily
settle or sag but support the formulation of reduced viscosity high density uids which allow lower ECD
values in critical wells.
HyPR-BAR is an economical non API sub-400 mesh barite which typically exceeds API quality
specications for mineral quality. HyPR-BAR is specically ground for formulation and maintenance
of drilling uids in which barite sag is virtually eliminated in all uid types and densities. HyPR-BAR
with its inherently low contribution to viscosity provides a solution for wells with narrow mud density
windows.
HyPR-BAR is useful for the design of economical reservoir drill in uids which readily ow back
through and are non-damaging to production screens. This characteristic also allows use of up to API
325 mesh screens on surface equipment. Drilled solids build up is greatly reduced, dilution may be
reduced by up to 75%, and reduction in overall mud cost can more than compensate for the modest
increase in cost of this material.
7
HyPR-BAR grind size is in the range of:
D
10
1 - 3
D
50
7 - 12
D
90
27 32
Maximum 3% > 44
(as measured with Malvern PSA)
Compared with API barite:
D
10
2 4
D
50
18 25
D
90
60 68
Maximum 3% > 74
(as measured with Malvern PSA)
HYDRO-MAX, average particle size of about 1 micron, is a high purity precipitated manganese
tetraoxide. The density of 4.8 SG is superior to that of the highest quality barite available. High density
uids formulated with HYDRO-MAX have lower solids content than conventional barite systems. Lower
solids content generally allows improved (lower) rheological properties, with potential improvement in
ltration control, and typically higher penetration rate.
Note: As with all critical wells and applications, uids using these products
should be formulated and tested before being used in the eld.
section 6c
lubricity
introduction 2
friction coefcient 2
types of lubricant 2
liquids 3
solids 3
lubricant selection 3
summary 3
lubricity truisms 4
section 6c
Scomi Oiltools
2
Section
6cdeviated drilling - lubricity
introduction
Understanding the relative lubricity of a particular mud system and knowing what factors affect
and control lubricity are all-important areas of mud technology. This is a brief summary of how
lubricity is tested, what factors can affect and control lubricity and other key issues concerned with
the subject.
friction coefcient
General - The friction coefcient (FC) forms the basis for measuring relative mud lubricity. This
is important for understanding comparison tests and judging relative differences in lubricity. For
any given system, the base line default FC values should be established in controlled tests. These
in turn may be used to make direct comparisons with known systems and for developing and
improving lubricity.
Test Apparatus - There are many different apparatus & test rigs used to measure FC. For more
dependable test results, the larger scale testers should be used, although accuracy with regard to
eld calculations is still questionable. As a result, the FC should be used as a guide only when applying
data to the eld.
Inuencing Factors - The main factors affecting the FC are:
Wellbore geometry
Surface type & roughness
Contact pressure
Mud type & density
Time
Temperature
Lubricant effects
Well & string design
Wellbore stability
Cuttings bed thickness & type
Filter cake characteristics
FC Values For OBM & WBM - FC values for oil based muds are generally low, in the range 0.11 0.15,
whereas for weighted WBM the range is generally 0.25 0.35 and for unweighted WBM the values
are still higher at between 0.35 0.50. It is well proven that increasing the O/W ratio of a given OBM
will lower the FC and that different oils exhibit different lubricity values. Tests show that WBM
FC values are lower in fully formulated systems where mud additives such as polymers and barite
have a measurably benecial effect. In both cases, friction coefcients are highest against sandstone,
with shales showing lower values and smooth steel surfaces such as casing producing the lowest
range. For any mud system, lab tests measuring the contribution mud additives make to the FC is
important in understanding and improving the lubricity potential.
types of lubricant
There are two types of lubricant, liquid and solid, which may be used singly or in various
combinations. Environmental concerns preclude the use of some of the more effective lubricants,
such as oils, while mud compatibility and other problems preclude others.
deviated drilling - lubricity
3
liquids
Liquid lubricants are almost always added to WBM and only recently, in a limited extent, to OBM.
Often, blends of different liquid lubricants are most benecial, whereas a single liquid may be
sometimes all that is required. Occasionally, liquids may be used in conjunction with solids to good
effect.
Oils added loosely to a WBM tend to be effective FC reducers, whereas adding an emulsifying
agent to bind in the oil greatly reduces this effect. Although the FC for waters, brines and very simple
water base muds is almost always reduced by the addition of a liquid lubricant, only fatty acids and
a blend of alcohols and triglycerides have been found to be effective liquid lubricants over the wide
range of WBM systems .
Lubricants may work well in one type of WBM system and fail or make matters worse in another,
so that the selection process is very much system specic. The FC of a WBM may be reduced by as
much as 68% by the correct application of liquid lubricants.
solids
Although sometimes effective in reducing the FC, solid lubricants suffer from the disadvantage of
being screened out or physically degraded in a mud system. As a result, solids lubricants can be much
more expensive to maintain. In many cases, solids additives have been seen to reduce torque and drag in
the well but have not shown up well in tests.
Other solids not intended as lubricants (e.g. cellulosic bres, biopolymers, etc) have been seen to
produce benecial effects in torque reduction in the eld.
Proven solid lubricants include synthetic graphite, HYDRO-SEAL G, and asphaltines, HYDRO-
PLAST. Generally, other mud solids have a negative impact on mud lubricity by entering the contact
space between surfaces to break any established lubricity-enhancing lm present. Liquid lubricants
are also generally adsorbed onto solid surfaces and may be depleted by high solids loading within
the mud system.
lubricant selection
Factors affecting lubricant selection include:
general mud compatibility
foaming
formation of unwanted emulsions
stability within the system
environmental concerns
elastomer compatibility
formation uorescence masking
formation impairment.
summary
A working knowledge of the range of friction coefcients for a base mud and its constituent parts
is a necessary precursor to tackling the lubricity capabilities of that uid. Once these values are
known, further lab testing gives a guide to the compatible lubricants and their type and optimum
formulation. This is in turn is used to help improve the mud lubricity in the eld where necessary.
4
Section
6cdeviated drilling - lubricity
Successful application will also depend upon the extraneous inuences and variables such as well
design, surface types and roughness, time, temperature, contact pressures, well bore stability, etc, etc.
In certain cases, test results obtained in the lab may give incorrect guidance due to the difculty of
simulating eld conditions in particular identifying the tendency of a lubricant to cause a foaming
problem. In this respect, certain lubricants may also prove to be successful in the eld but indicate
otherwise during lab testing.
Certain lubricants may be precluded due to, for example, environmental considerations. Mud
solids should be controlled to as low as practically where mud lubricity is a problem. Problem muds
include silicate systems, which, despite detailed research, continue to defy a solution to the lubricity
issue.
lubricity truisms
Certain proven truisms concerning lubricity can be listed as follows:
1. Oil base muds have lower friction coefcients than water base muds
2. Increasing the O/W ratio leads to a lower friction coefcient
3. Ester based systems have lower friction coefcients than mineral oil or other synthetic inverts
4. The friction coefcients of water base muds can be reduced with the appropriate additive(s) and
can be as low as some OBM systems
5. Unweighted WBM systems exhibit the greatest response to lubricant treatments
6. Above 1.50 SG, addition of a lubricant to a WBM has a minimal effect
7. Liquid lubricants have a greater effect on steel/steel friction than on steel/rock friction where
solids lubricants are the more effective
8. Oil based muds are less lubricating as temperature increases
9. Lab lubricity test gear results do not always correspond to full scale rig results
10. String rotation is a signicant factor in drag reduction
11. The most effective liquid lubricants for WBM are based upon esters, amines, fatty acids and some
glycols
12. Lubricant selection is system specic
w
e
l
l

c
o
n
t
r
o
l
pressure control
section 7
section 7a - pore pressure predictiion
section 7b - well control
section 7a
pore pressure prediction
introduction 2
pore pressure 2
pore pressure detection 4
planning 4
ppd during drilling 5
drilling parameters 5
mwd 7
pore pressure plotting 8
section 7a
Scomi Oiltools
2
Section
7apressure control - pore pressure prediction
pressure control - pore pressure prediction
introduction
Sedimentary rock contain uids trapped in the voids, pores space, fractures and vugs etc., The
uids in these sediments are under some pressure, from compaction and density of the overlying
rock. This is known as the formation pressure. As the sediments are drilled the formation pressures
are controlled by the density of the drilling uid column, the pressure applied by which is known
as the hydrostatic pressure. Normal formation pressures at any depth are the equivalent pressure
of a column of water and higher pressures are known as abnormal pressures.
If the applied hydrostatic head from the drilling uid is less than the formation pressure, formation
uids will start owing in the wellbore, therefore, while drilling the density of the drilling uid is
maintained at a sufcient level to provide a hydrostatic pressure greater than that of the formation.
In effect the difference in the pressure, between the hydrostatic and the formation is kept positive.
If a formation is penetrated with a higher formation pressure than the hydrostatic pressure of the
drilling uid, then DP will become negative resulting in an inux of formation uids into the well, the
scale of the inux depending on size of the pressure differential.
The inux of formation uids, especially oil or gas into the wellbore, if not adequately controlled,
can result in blow outs, which have been a major cause of loss of life, equipment and environmental
hazard in oil and gas well drilling operations.
In order to avoid well control activities during drilling operations, it is necessary to predict pore
pressures in advance and plan the well accordingly. To be able to predict pore pressures requires some
fundamental knowledge of the causes of formation presssure, in particular abnormal pressures.
pore pressure
All clastics have some pore or void spaces which contain uids, water containing salts, crude oil, gas,
associated or dissolved, or different combinations of all. The uids in the pore spaces of the rock
support the overburden along with the grains of the rock. Pore pressure or formation pressure is that
part of the overburden which is supported by the uid in the pores.
All sedimentary rocks have voids (pore spaces) which are lled with uid. The density of any formation
will depend on the rock type plus the extent and size of voids and the type of uid in the voids.
The average density of clay, sand or shale without any pore space is 2.6 SG. A formation with 20%
pore space containing 1.021 SG water will have an SG of 2.284. Table -1 indicates how rock density
varies with porosity and water salinity:

lb/gal SG
8.38 1.004 10 2.44
8.38 1.004 25 2.20
8.51 1.02 10 2.445
8.51 1.02 25 2.21
8.99 1.08 10 2.448
8.99 1.08 25 2.22
Water Density
Rock - SG Porosity %
Table. 1- Rock Density Variation
3
As the depth of burial increases so does the overburden pressure compacting the formation and
forcing the connate uids from the pores spaces, thus decreasing the pore volume. The overburden
pressure is then supported both by the grains of rock (intergranular pressure) and the remaining
uid in the pore spaces.
Po = Pg + Pf alternatively
Pf = Po - Pg
Where Po = Overburden pressure
Pg = Pressure supported by grains/matrix of the rock
Pf = Pressure supported by uid or formation pressure
When the uids cannot escape from the formation due to closure during compaction, e.g. clays
sealing the formation, then more of the overburden pressure is supported by the pore uids. This
increases the formation pressure over and above the expected normal pressure at the depth.
The normal pressure gradient at a depth is taken as water gradient at that depth which varies
depending on the salt concentration in water. The fresh water gradient for inland areas is generally
is 0.433 psi/ft (9.79 kPa/m), water density 8.34 lb/gal (1.0 SG

) while the gradient in marine basis
is 0.465 psi/ft (10.51 kPa/m), 8.9 lb/gal (1.07 SG

) salt water. Formations with such gradients are classied
as normal pressure.
Abnormally pressured formations may have pressure gradients from the normal values to > 1 psi/ft
(22.61 kPa/m).
0
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
3500
4000
4500
5000
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000 14000
Normal Pore Pressure-0.465psi/ft Abnormal Pressure-1 psi/ft
D
e
p
t
h

(
m
)
Pressure in psi and (kPa)
(13790) (27580) (41370) (55160) (68950) (82740) (96530)
Figure: 1 Normal & Abnormal Pressure vs. Depth
Metamorphic rocks are eroded to sand, silts and clays by environmental weathering and are
transported by water or air to the depositional sites where the pore spaces are lled with the water
which may contain dissolved salts depending on the terrain traversed by the water. Lime-stones are
chemical rocks, CaCO
3
, in which porosity and permeability is created by water percolating through
the rock dissolving or eroding the formation. Permeability in lime-stones is characterised by fractures
and vugs.
During deposition these sediments can form alternate layers, intermixed layers or any of the multiple
combinations possible. Typical depositional characteristics are dependent on the terrain traversed
and distance of transportation before the sedimentation process.
Pressure vs Depth
4
Section
7apressure control - pore pressure prediction
As further sediments are deposited, the formations compact and uid is driven from the pore spaces.
If the uid cannot escape due to impermeability barriers then the uid begins too support more of the
overburden density and the formation pressure increases.
Over a geologically large period of time and under conditions of pressure and temperature
hydrocarbons are formed in clays and shales from organic materials deposited along with the clay
particles. The hydrocarbons migrate during the compaction process and accumulate in porous and
permeable sedimentary rocks known as reservoirs, often sealed by a clay / shale formation. The
compaction process and the ability of the uids to escape will determine the pressure regime of the
hydrocarbon reservoirs.
Due to sub-surface tectonic activities formations with normal pressures may be uplifted resulting
in high pressures than normal for a particular depth. Tectonic activity can also result in the
sealing of the normal exit routes of the formation uid leaving them trapped and over geological
time leading to abnormal pressures.
Abnormal pressures may be caused by:
1. Entrapment of pore uids under compaction.
2. Tectonic activities up-thrust; faulting; massive salt intrusion.
3. Structural causes, normal pressures on anks of an anticline may manifest as abnormal on the
crest of the same structure.
4. Physical and chemical changes resulting in volume increases which causes abnormal
pressures for instance dia-genetic transformation of anhydrite to gypsum. Due to water
absorption, volume increase can be up to 40%.
5. Sub surface blow outs leading to charging of shallower formations from deep uid bearing
formations. This process can also occur as a normal geological phenomenon through migration
along a fault or through a seal in the network of micro-fractures.
6. Swamp or marshy gases due to bio-chemical process. They are at shallower depths and are one
of the major hazards to drilling operations.
pore pressure detection
Existence of abnormal pressure is usually characterised by:
1. Porosity in shales changes from normal trends, in particular porosity increase with depth.
Normally porosity decreases with depth (due to compaction) as a linear function.
2. Formation uids undergo changes in terms of content and density.
3. Sound velocity is slower than expected for the depth and area.
Based on the likely causes of abnormal pressures and associated characteristics a number of techniques
have been developed to assist in predicting abnormal pressures both during the planning and drilling
stages of a well.
planning
The initial source of planning information is the seismic data which is combined with the information
from the offset wells.
1. Seismic:
The velocity of the sound waves is measured in the different sub surface formations and converted
to formation interval transit time Dt. High speed processing of the data is used to plots trend lines
of Dt with depth which are calibrated for pore pressure gradient specic to the area. Velocity depends
on two factors - type of formation or constituents and density or compaction.
5
Transit time will vary with litho-logy and as such petro-physical variations and heterogeneities can
lead to less accurate information. As a continuous process litho-logical data of an area should be
updated and corroborated with the recorded Dt. Normally the Dt decreases with depth as the
formation undergoes compaction. In the case of abnormal pressures there is under-compaction of the
formation whereby the velocity of sound is reduced increasing the Dt. Variations from the trend line
can indicate the existence of abnormal or subnormal pressures. An increase of transit time compared
to the trend indicates abnormal pressures where as decrease in the Dt is indicative of subnormal
pressures.
Formations with gases have a tendency to absorb the sound waves. The formations above the gas
zone will relatively be highly reective, thereby giving a Bright Spot effect for the gas bearing
formations. This property is also used for detecting hydrates associated with gas in deep water
drilling which show as a Bright Spot Reector (BSR).
2. Offset Well Data:
Drilling and Log data from offset wells is examined for evidence of abnormal pressures. Electric logs
are the best and most accurate source of data.
Neutron/Gamma logs provide porosity and density data of formations. In case of a normally
pressured structure there is a continuous decrease in porosity and an increase in density with depth.
All the values will be on straight line, however, in the case of abnormal pressures there will be a
increase in porosity and a decrease in density which will show on the graph as an anomaly compared
with the trend for the area.
Sonic logs provide Dt similar to the seismic data. Sonic / pressure gradient plots can indicate
the pressure prole. Dt is plotted against depth and a normal trend is established. In the case of
abnormal pressures, compaction is reduced which increases the transit time, indicative of abnormal
pressures.
ppd during drilling
Abnormal pressure has an impact on drilling parameters, an impact which provides a excellent tool
for pore pressure prediction, taking into account other factors which also impact the drilling
parameters. Measurement While Drilling tools, MWD, provide resistivity data which is used for
predicting pore pressures with new developments such as look ahead VSP providing very accurate
data on transit times for pore pressure prediction:
drilling parameters
1. Rate of Penetration. ROP is one of the most commonly used tools for identifying abnormal
pressures. In shale formations the ROP decreases with depth due to compaction. Abnormal pressure
in shale is characterised by under compaction as such increase in ROP, be an indication of
increasing pore pressures. However, there are other factors which also impact the ROP:
Bit type
Bit Condition
Bit weight
Bit diameter Hole size
Rotary speed
Hydraulics Bottom-Hole cleaning
Type of formation
Drilling uid parameters specially density
6
Section
7apressure control - pore pressure prediction
The impact of these varying parameters are taken into account in a mathematical model called
the d-exponent.
The ROP is not only dependent on the drilling parameters but is also dependent on the
compaction; density and porosity of the formation which is described in the following Bingham
formula:-
ROP
=
C
(
WOB
)
d
RPM D
Where
ROP = Rate of Penetration
RPM = Rotary speed
WOB = Weight on Bit
D = Bit diameter
C = Constant
d = exponent
It is established that there is an inverse relationship between the ROP and the pressure
differential across the formation DP, i.e. the difference between drilling uid hydrostatic and
formation pressure. The normal trend is an increase in DP with depth meaning that the ROP
decreases with depth. In the case of abnormal pressure DP will decrease resulting in an increase of
ROP. On the other hand a decrease in formation pressures below normal, known as subnormal
pressures, may be indicated by a decreasing d-exponent.
When ROP is plotted against depth, the other drilling parameters remaining the same, a trend line
will emerge and a deviation from the trend may indicate abnormal or subnormal pressure.
The Bingham equation can be solved for d exponent and putting the units will result in the
following equation:
d = [log(ROP/60*RPM)/log(12*WOB/10
6
* D)]
where


If the calculated value of d is plotted against depth a trend is established and a deviation indicates
abnormal pressure.
Subsequently the equation was modied to factor the drilling uid density and is known as the
modied d exponent or d
xc
where:-
d
xc
= d*(normal drilling uid density / actual drilling uid density)
(normal drilling uid density is the normal pressure gradient for the area)
This modication led to very good results and made it possible for graphic determination of pressure
gradients.
log
(

)
ROP
60 x RPM
log
(

)
12 x WOB
1000 x D
Oileld units
d =
Where
ROP = ft/hr
WOB = lbs
D = inches
S.I units
d =
Where
ROP = m/hr
WOB = kg
D = mm
log
(

)
ROP
60 x RPM
log
(

)
67 x WOB
1000 x D
7
2. Shale Density increases with depth linearly due to compaction. In the case of abnormal
pressures, due to under compaction or uid retention in shales, the shale density will decrease
and is clearly identied if plotted against depth and a trend line generated.
3. Cutting size and shape depends on the type of bit used. Normal cuttings are small and at
depending on shale reaction with the uid whereas pressured shale cuttings are larger, sharper
and rounded. The Drilling Fluid Engineer must make it a habit of closely observing the cuttings
both to assist in determining mud treatments and also to identify abnormal pressures indicators.
4. Gas in Drilling Fluid. Gas is released into the drilling uid as rock containing gas is drilled
and ground up releasing the gas in the pore spaces. This is known as drill gas and a background
level will be established for each well. This gas level may also show peaks known as connection
gas. The connection gas is due to slight reduction in hydrostatic when the pumps are switched
off to connect a pipe. Increases in background or connection gas are excellent indicators of
potential overpressures.
NB. There are gassy shales which sustain high levels of gas in the mud system due to the large
volume of gas trapped in the shale. In this case high gas levels may not be a reliable indicator.
Gas is soluble in base oil, therefore, background and trip gas levels may not be detectable at a level
to provide good indicators.
5. Connection Fingerprinting in Non Aqueous Fluids. Base oils used for and SBM are compressible
and there may be a slight ow back of uids during connections when the pumps are off and
the pressure on the mud is reduced, allowing the uid to expand. This ow back of volume versus
time is ngerprinted by the mud loggers and an increase in volume or time indicates an increase
of formation pressure.
6. Chloride ions. An increase in mud chloride content can indicate changes in formation pressure
due to the higher salinity of trapped water, and can be recorded by resistivity tools and mud checks.
7. Flow line temperature. Flow line temperature increases with depth, due to the geothermal
gradient of the earth. It is also dependent on the number of hours of circulation, the treatment
being given to the drilling uid, solid content, bit torque and variations in ambient temperatures.
Rapid increase in circulating temperature may indicate an increase in the geothermal gradient
often associated with abnormal pressures.
mwd
Various downhole tools are placed in the drillstring to record formation characteristics while drilling.
This equipment is known as Measurement While Drilling MWD or Logging While Drilling LWD
tools
1. Porosity/Density Tool. Neutron/gamma log is utilised for ascertaining the formation porosity /
density. Shale density / porosity data can be used for identifying the presence of abnormal
pressures. MWD/LWD tools are placed 15 20 meters above the bit so the data recorded is from
the formation some meters above the bit position.
2. Resistivity. This resistivity tool is valid only while using water base uids and is a part of the MWD
/ LWD package. The tool measures the shale resistivity. A deviation from the trend may indicate
presence of abnormal pressures.
3. Sonic. This tool records sound velocity from the formation which can be converted to Dt for
identifying presence of abnormal pressures.
8
Section
7apressure control - pore pressure prediction
4. Look Ahead VSP. A sonic tool is placed on the bottom hole assembly which transmits sound
waves ahead of the bit. Sound velocity from the formation yet to be drilled is recorded and
processed as transit time. As discussed in seismic proling Dt is plotted and presence of any
abnormal pressure detected. This is an online tool which provides Dt values a few meters ahead of
the bit allowing immediate action in case of any indication of abnormal pressures.
pore pressure plotting
Data, based on the fact that compaction due to overburden increases with depth in a consistent
manner, is plotted and compared to the standard trends for the area. Properties plotted include
density; porosity; interval transit time and the conductivity.
These properties when plotted on a semi-log paper against depth show a straight line for normal
pressures. Any changes from the trend of these parameters will give indications of the abnormal /
subnormal pressures and the pressure gradient in terms of equivalent mud weight.
section 7b
well control
introduction 2
kick detection 3
determining the drilling fuid density requirement 3
well control calculations 4
controlling the well 5
wait and weight method 6
drillers method 7
concurrent method 7
volumetric method 7
barite plugs 7
section 7b
Scomi Oiltools
2
Section
7bpressure control - well control
pressure control - well control
introduction
The primary control of formation pressure is provided by the hydrostatic head of the drilling uid.
Secondary control is provided with the use of a mechanical barrier - the Blow Out Preventors (BOP).
When a well inux (a kick) occurs, the formation uid ows into the well bore and primary control from
the drilling uid is lost. The BOP is closed to provide well control while actions are taken to regain the
primary control by increasing the density of the drilling uid. If the ow becomes large and unmanageable
e.g. failure of the BOP or undetected ow, a blow out can occur with disastrous results.

Well control signies that the well has become active or a kick has been taken and a series of steps are
required to circulate out the kick and take remedial action to re-establish hydrostatic control of the
formation pressures.
The following steps are required, the well control strategy:
1. Detection of a kick.
2. Ascertaining the drilling uid density requirement to re-establish control.
3. Raising the density of the drilling uid to the required value.
4. Circulating out the kick.
Well inuxes typically occur during the following drilling operations:
1. Drilling: If abnormally pressured formations are encountered while drilling, an inux will occur, if
the hydrostatic head provided by the drilling uid is less than the formation pressure. Kicks may
also occur during lost circulation events due to a drop in the uid height in the annulus causing a
reduction in the hydrostatic head.
2. Tripping out: One of the most common causes of well control events is not keeping the hole
full while tripping the drillpipe out. As the pipe is pulled from the well, the volume of the steel
removed must be replaced with drilling uid, or the uid level in the annulus will drop and
the hydrostatic head will become less than the formation pressure. Hole ll up must be closely
monitored to ensure that the correct volume of uid is being used to keep the hole full at all times.
While pulling out of hole it is possible that formation uids may be swabbed into the hole, as the
drillpipe pulls uid off bottom, reducing the hydrostatic pressure in the wellbore. This can occur
due to balling of the bit, or balling of drill collars which reduce the annular clearance such that the
drillpipe acts like a piston as it is pulled up the wellbore. High uid viscosity or reactive (swelling)
formations can also cause swabbing during drill pipe removal from the wellbore.
Swabbing is indicated if the volume of mud required to ll up the hole is less than the volume of steel
removed. Trip speeds should be controlled and if required maintain the drilling uid below the bit by
pumping through the drill pipe or slowly pumping out through a Top Drive System (TDS).

3. Tripping in: The speed of running the drillstring into the hole can result in pressure surges ahead
of the string which can break down the formation causing downhole losses with subsequent loss
of hydrostatic head and formation inux. Tripping speed needs to be controlled to preserve uid
column integrity.
Fluid returns from the well while running in are closely monitored to ensure the correct volume of
uid is being returned. Too little ow indicates losses may be occurring while too much ow is an
indication that the there has been an inux.
3
Industry studies have shown that the majority of well control activities occur during tripping in
development wells, and in the early morning hours between 0300 to 0500. The major cause being
crew inattentiveness from a decreased level of alertness or overcondence.
kick detection
Wells become active when the hydrostatic head of the drilling uid becomes less than the formation
pressure and formation uids enter the wellbore and are detected by the following indicators:
1. Drilling Break: A sudden increase in ROP may be due to abnormal pressure or a change in litho-
logy. It is advisable to perform a ow check and observe the well before drilling ahead.
2. Flow increase: When the formation uids ows into the wellbore there is an increase in the mud
volume resulting in an increase in the return ow at surface. Return ow rates are constantly monitored
to detect these changes.
3. Pit Gain: An inux will also increase the volume in the pits which should be closely monitored.
Accurate measurements will determine the inux volume if detected quickly.
A trip tank is used to monitor the volume of uid used to ll the hole while tripping out and volume
of uid displaced while tripping in. These are small tanks, with volume measurements, allowing
detection of small changes in volume.
4. Reduction In Pump Pressure: As an inux rises in the annulus the pump pressure available to
lift the drilling uid up the annulus is increased. This will show as a reduction in pump pressure. Note
that this can also be an indication of lost circulation.
5. Gas Level in the Drilling Fluid: As has been noted in the pore pressure prediction section, increases
in gas levels in the drilling uid occur due to increased gas content of the rock being drilled or
due to an inux. Increasing trends both in background gas and connection gas levels are closely
observed. Frequently they are an excellent indicator of drilling close to balance with little margin
between the hydrostatic and formation pressures.
determining the drilling fuid density requirement
After a kick has been detected it is important that the well be shut in immediately, rstly to ensure
integrity and well control and also to be able to correctly determine the drilling uid density required
to control formation pressure and regain primary well control.
When the BOP is closed on the wellbore, the pressure on the drill-pipe and the casing at surface will
increase. The drill-pipe surface pressure reading is used to determine the actual downhole formation
pressure and, therefore, drilling uid density requirements.
At this point the uid in the drill string is uncontaminated mud and the inux uid is in the annulus.
The pressure exerted by the formation on the drill pipe is the difference between the formation
pressure and the drilling uid hydrostatic head. This excess pressure shows up as Shut in Drill Pipe
Pressure SIDPP. The formation pressure is the sum of the hydrostatic pressure from the mud plus
the SIDPP. This is calculated as an Equivalent Mud Weight (EMW), which is the required mud weight to
safely control the formation pressures and drill ahead.
The drilling uid in the annulus is contaminated with the formation uid. The pressure on the annulus
side consists of three elements:
The drilling uid gradient
4
Section
7bpressure control - well control
The formation uid gradient (depend on inux type and height)
A U tube effect from the drill string pressure differential.
This pressure is the Shut In Casing Pressure (SICP) which is higher than the SIDPP due to the loss of
hydrostatic head from the kick uid.
The height of the inux can be determined from the inux volume recorded at surface, and the
pressure gradient of the inux calculated. This gradient will indicate the inux type, water, oil or gas.
Quick kick detection and closing of the BOP will lead to the most accurate determination of SIDPP
and SICP. The more accurate this data, the easier it is to regain well control.
well control calculations
Oileld units
Hydrostatic pressure (psi)
= depth (ft) * mud weight (lb/gal) * 0.052
Drilling uid gradient (psi/ft)
= hydrostatic pressure (psi) / depth (ft)
Formation pressure (psi)
= hydrostatic pressure (psi) + SIDPP (psi)
Equivalent mud weight (lb/gal)
= formation pressure / (depth (ft) * 0.052
Inux height (ft)
= kick volume (bbl) / annulus vol (bbl/ft)
Inux (psi/ft)
= Drilling uid gradient [(SIDPP (psi)
SICP (psi) / Inux Height (ft)]
S.I units
Hydrostatic pressure (kPa)
= depth (m) * mud weight (SG) * 9.81
Drilling uid gradient (kPa/m)
= hydrostatic pressure (kPa) / depth (m)
Formation pressure (kPa)
= hydrostatic pressure (kPa) + SIDPP (kPa)
Equivalent mud weight (SG)
= formation pressure / (depth (m) * 9.81
Inux height (m)
= kick volume (m
3
) / annulus vol (m
3
/m)
Inux (kPa/m)
= Drilling uid gradient [(SIDPP (kPa)
SICP (kPa) / Inux Height (m)]
well control calculation - example
An exploratory well took a kick while drilling a 6 (152 mm) hole at 8000 ft (2438 m) with 10.2 lb/gal
(1222.23 kg/m
3
) drilling uid. SIDPP was 600 psi (4138 kPa) and the SICP was 800 psi (5516 kPa). Pit
increase was 10 bbl (1.6 m
3
). Company policy is to drill with a safety margin of 150 psi (1034 kPa).
Oileld units
Drilling Fluid Hydrostatic
= 0.052 x 10.2 x 8000 = 4243.4 psi
Drilling Fluid Gradient
= 4243.2 / 8000 = 0.5304 psi/ft
Formation Pressure
= 4243.2 + 600 = 4843.2 psi
EMW
= 4843.2 / (0.052 X 8000) = 11.64 lb/gal
EMW + 150 psi
= 11.64 + [150 / (0.052 x 8000)]
= 12.0 lb/gal to drill with safety margin
S.I units
Drilling Fluid Hydrostatic
= 9.81 x 1.22 x 2438 = 29178 kPa
Drilling Fluid Gradient
= 29178 / 2438 = 12 kPa/m
Formation Pressure
= 29178 + 4138 = 33316 kPa
EMW
= 33316 / (9.81 x 2438) = 1.40 SG
EMW + 1034 kPa
= 1.40 + [1034 / (9.81 x 2438)]
= 1.44 SG to drill with safety margin
5
Identifyng the inux uid
< 0.14 psi/ft (3.17 kPa/m) = Gas
0.14 0.442 psi/ft (3.17 9.99 kPa/m) = Mixture of gas, water or oil
0.442 0.52 psi/ft (9.99 11.76 kPa/m) = Saltwater
Annular volume with 4
3
/
4
(122 mm) DC = 0.091 bbl/ft (9.96 L/m)
Oileld units
Inux height
= 10 / 0.0191 = 524 feet
Inux Fluid Gradient
= 0.5304 - [(800 600 / 524]
= 0.148 psi/ft indicating gas
S.I units
Inux height
= 1590L / 9.96 L/m = 159.6 m
Inux Fluid Gradient
= 12 [(5516 4138.2) / 159.7]
= 3.37 kPa
controlling the well
Circulating out the kick and raising the uid density to the desired value are actions requiring a thorough
understanding of the engineering involved. These processes together are the key parts of all well control
procedures
During the process of circulating the kick to surface, the inux uid will undergo temperature and
pressure changes. While temperature variations have a limited effect on the inux uid, pressure changes
can have dramatic effect if the inux is gas. As the uid moves up the wellbore the hydrostatic pressure
decreases and the gas volume will increase.
Circulating out a water or oil kick can be a straightforward process depending on the type of well control
procedure followed as there is little change in pressures or temperatures as the uid is circulated out.
Gases follow Boyles and Charles law:
P
1
V
1
= P
2
V
2

where P
1
& P
2
= initial and nal pressures
V
1
& V
2
= initial and nal volumes
Pressure & Volumes are inversely proportional - as the pressure decreases the volume increases and
vice versa e.g.
If P
2
= 0.5 P V
2
= 2V
1
In this case, the gas volume has doubled as the pressure decreased. If the well was not closed in with
the BOP, this would result in large volumes of mud being ejected from the wellbore, due to the expansion
of gas volume reducing the hydrostatic, and allowing more gas to ow into the wellbore.
With the BOP closed and the gas circulated up the annulus without being allowed to expand,
the surface pressures will increase beyond the casing shoe pressure limit, the burst pressures
of the casing, and possibly the pressure limits of the BOP. This will cause failure in the ability
of the wellbore design to handle the high pressures that will develop. For this reason, proper well
control procedures have to be followed for safe removal of the gas inux from the wellbore.
6
Section
7bpressure control - well control
Kill mud, depending on the well control procedure being followed, is pumped to bit in a carefully
controlled operation, using a predetermined Slow Pump Rate. When the mud has reached the bit the
SIDPP should equal zero. As the heavy mud circulates up the annulus the choke is regulated to maintain
the required pressure by bleeding off volume at higher or lower rates as the inux uids expand on their
way to surface.
A kill sheet is used to show the pressures required at all stages of the operation.
The Slow Pump Rate is recorded every tour due to the change in drilling uid density, uid ow
properties, and well depth. The initial circulating pressure, ICP, is the sum of SPR and SIDPP.
There are three main methods of well control involving circulating out of kick and pumping
the required density of drilling uid to regain primary control. All of the methods are based on
maintaining a Constant Bottom Hole Pressure. The fourth method is basically when the bit is not at
bottom that is the well activity during tripping operation or when the string is out of hole.
A) Wait and weight method
B) Drillers method
C) Concurrent method
D) Volumetric method
wait and weight method
This is also known as Engineers method of well control. The well is closed in and monitored while
the drilling uid is weighted to the required density. No operation is carried out until the required
volume and density of uid is available. The weighted uid is then pumped and the well killed in one
circulation. This method is preferred in most cases. The kill mud is pumped to the bit holding an ICP
as calculated above. Once the kill mud is at the bit the mud is circulated at a constant Final Circulating
Pressure (FOP) and the kick circulated out as per the pressure schedule in the kill sheet.
FOP = Slow Pump Rate Pressure * Kill Mud Weight / Original Mud Weight
When the weighted mud reaches surface the adjustable choke pressure should = FOP and on stopping
the pumps SIDPP = SICP = 0
Advantages:
a) Maximum pressure exerted on weakest point, i.e. the casing shoe, is the lowest of the
methods with less chance of lost circulation.
b) Requires only one circulation and least time to regain primary control.
c) Well is exposed to lower pressures.
Disadvantages:
a) if the well is not clean, i.e. loaded with cuttings pack off and stuck pipe can occur.
b) Gas migration up the annulus during waiting period may cause problems.
7
drillers method
With this method the kick is circulated out before heavy mud is circulated. A constant bottomhole pressure
is maintained using the adjustable choke throughout the circulation until. The well is shut in with back
pressure equal to the SIDPP recorded earlier to avoid any more inux. During this time the drilling uid
is being weighted. Once the heavy uid is ready it is pumped in the well maintaining a constant casing
pressure. May be used in HPHT wells.
Advantages:
a) Less chance of pack off.
b) Gas migration not an issue.
c) Maintain well control while waiting on materials or weather.
Disadvantages:
a) Requires multiple circulations.
b) Exposes casing shoe to relatively higher pressures.
concurrent method
In this method the drilling uid is weighted while circulating out the kick. It is not a preferred method for
well control.
volumetric method
This procedure is followed when a kick is taken while tripping in or out of the well and also if the well
ows when the string is out of the hole. The main objectives are to get the bit to the bottom while
ensuring that the back pressure or SICP is sufcient to avoid further inux without breaking down
of the formation. Pressure is maintained by bleeding off volume through the choke as an equal volume
of drilling uid is pumped down the drillpipe to keep the hole full. Simultaneously the string is stripped
in the well through the closed BOP. Once the bit is on bottom standard well control techniques are
followed to regain primary control.
barite plugs
During well control operations the increase in mud weight and hydrostatic pressure may be sufcient
to exceed the fracture gradient and cause loss of circulation. In this case the inux will ow into the loss
zone in a situation known as an underground blow-out. The placing of a heavy barite plug is usually
done in order to stabilise the borehole for running casing. It is not recommended to drill ahead after
inducing loss of circulation, unless the losses can be cured.
Barite plugs seal the wellbore in the following ways:-
They are designed with low viscosities and zero uid loss so that the barite may dehydrate and settle to
form a solid plug in the hole.
The high density increases the hydrostatic head and may prevent additional inux of formation uid.
The high uid loss and lack of inhibition may also cause the hole to collapse and bridge itself.
Barite plugs in water based mud
Barite slurries are usually mixed and pumped with the cementing unit. The pills are mixed in freshwater
and thinners such as SAPP and or lignosulphonate (HYDRO-SPERSE) are added to keep the slurry thin
and promote settling. It is extremely important to pilot test rst as high concentrations of these products,
SAPP 0.2 1.0 lb/bbl (0.57 2.85 kg/m
3
) and/or HYDRO-SPERSE up to 10 lb/bbl (28.53 kg/m
3
) may be
required to allow the barite to settle. At these very high densities barite can support itself.
8
Section
7bpressure control - well control
Weight/Volume Relationships
(Barite Specic Gravity = 4.2)
Slurry Slurry Volume/
Density Water Barite 100 lb (45.4 kg) sack Sack of Barite
kg/m
3
lb/gal L/m
3
gal/bbl sacks/m
3
sacks/bbl m
3
/sack bbl/sack ft
3
/sack
2157 18 640 26.9 33 5.30 0.0300 0.189 1.060
2277 19 602 25.3 37 5.94 0.0267 0.168 0.945
2397 20 564 23.7 40 6.43 0.0247 0.156 0.873
2516 21 529 22.2 44 6.95 0.0228 0.144 0.807
2636 22 490 20.6 47 7.50 0.0212 0.133 0.748
Table 1. Barite slurry (water base)
Mixing
1. Choose a slurry weight and barite/water requirements between 18 and 22 lb/gal (2.16 & 2.64 SG) from
Table 1.
2. Determine how many feet/metres of barite plug in the open hole are desired.
3. Calculate the bbl (m
3
) of slurry and sacks of barite required, and add an extra 10 bbl (1.6 m
3
).
4. Mix the slurry and pump it into drill pipe.
5. Displace the slurry so that the height of the barite plug in the drill pipe is 2 bbl (0.3) m
3
higher than the
top of the barite plug in the annulus.
6. Break connections and pull up immediately above the plug. If possible circulate on top of the plug,
if possible circulate for several hours.
Barite settling can be very slow with unpredictable results. In many cases numerous pills may be set before
well control is regained.
Example
Open hole = 8.5 inches (216 mm)
Height of barite plug desired = 500 ft (152.4 m)
Weight of slurry = 18 lb/gal (2.16 SG )
1. Volume of barite slurry =
Oileld units

x 500 ft = 35 bbl
2. Total volume required =
Oileld units S.I units
35 + 10 = 45 bbl 5.57 + 1.59 = 7.16 m
3
8.5
2
1029
S.I units
215.9
2
1.273 x 10
6
x 152.4 m = 5.59 m
3

9
Oileld units
Water
= 26.9 x 45 = 1121 gal = 29 bbl
SAPP
= 0.5 x 29 = 14.5 lb
Caustic Soda
= as needed
HYDRO-SPERSE
= as determined from pilot test
DRILL-BAR
= 5.3 x 45 = 239 x 100 lb/sx
= 23,900 lbs
Total slurry volume
= 239 x 0.189 = 45 bbl
S.I units
Water
= 640 l/m
3
x 7.16 m
3
= 4579.2 l = 4.6 m
3
SAPP
= 1.423 kg/m
3
x 4.58 m
3
= 6.53 kg
Caustic Soda
= as needed
HYDRO-SPERSE
= as determined from pilot test
DRILLBAR
= 33 sxs/m
3
x 7.16 m
3
= 239 x 45.4 kg/sxs
= 10828 kg

Total slurry volume
= 239 sxs x 0.0300 m
3
= 7.16 m
3
3. Materials to mix 45 bbl (7.16 m
3 )
slurry:
Barite plugs in non aqueous uids
The mixing procedure for an NAF Barite plug is to water wet the barite in order to provide viscosity
and barite suspension, then to oil wet the Barite just prior to pumping, allowing the barite to settle out
and form a solid plug.
Barite is added to a mix containing primarily base uid with a small quantity of water and water
wetting surfactant, HYDRO-KLEEN or equivalent, as quickly as possible. This mix will become very
thick. Before the mix becomes un-pumpable a small amount of oil wetting agent, CONFI-WET, should
be added to thin the mix back so that more barite can be added, it is important not to over-thin the mix
at this point. More barite should be added until the mix becomes very thick again and more oil wetting
agent added, this process continuing until the desired weight is achieved.
Just before pumping, a drum of oil wetting agent should be added, this will thin the mix dramatically
and allow the barite to settle rapidly. The exact amount of oil wetting agent required should be
determined by pilot testing, the amount of base uid used in the mix, from table 2 below, should then
be reduced by this amount.
Plug density Base Oil Barite Water Surfactant
(kg/m
3
) (lb/gal
3
) (L/m
3
) (gal/bbl) (kg/m
3
) (lb/bbl) (L/m
3
) (L/bbl) (L/m
3
) (L/bbl)
2157 18 593 24.9 1682 588 6.29 1 0.629 0.1
2277 19 557 23.4 1828 639 6.29 1 0.629 0.1
2397 20 521 21.9 1959 685 6.29 1 0.629 0.1
2516 21 486 20.4 2131 745 6.29 1 0.629 0.1
2636 22 452 19.0 2274 795 6.29 1 0.629 0.1
2756 23 417 17.5 2422 847 6.29 1 0.629 0.1
2876 24 381 16.0 2571 899 6.29 1 0.629 0.1
Table 2 Product requirements for various density barite plugs (less oil wetting agent)
10
Section
7bpressure control - well control
Mixing and Pumping Procedure
The mixing pit and mix lines must be free of mud before mixing this plug, contamination with mud will
result in the plug not thinning properly at the end of the mixing process.
1. Fill slug pit, mix tank or batch tank with the required volume of base uid.
2. Add 1% of the nal pill volume of water.
3. Add 0.5% of the nal pill volume of HYDRO-KLEEN or similar water wetting agent.
4. Add barite at the maximum possible rate with maximum agitation, including gun lines if possible.
5. Just before the mix becomes so thick it is un-pumpable, add sufcient oil wetting agent CONFI-WET
to thin the mix but not enough to cause the barite to settle.
6. Repeat steps 4 & 5 until the required density is achieved.
7. Just before pumping, sufcient oil wetting agent should be added to thin the mud dramatically, 1 x 55
US gallon (1 x 208 l/drm) is usually sufcient in a 50 bbl (7.95 m
3
) plug.
Spacers
A base uid spacer can be pumped ahead and/or behind the plug but is not absolutely necessary, as
mixing of the plug and oil based mud will not result in a particularly high viscosity mixture.
non-aqueous fuid (NAF) fundamentals
N
A
F
section 8
general description 2
NAF applications 4
disadvantages of NAF 6
NAF products description 6
properties of base fuids 10
mixing procedures 11
NAF mud properties 11
trouble shooting NAF 14
spacers for displacing NAF 15
displacing NAF to the hole 15
displacing NAF out of the hole 16
cementing with oil based muds 16
types of NAF base fuids 18
oil base mud (obm) 18
enhanced mineral oil base mud (emobm) 18
synthetic base mud (sbm) 18
environmental performance 22
which drilling base fuid is best for the
environment? 24
section 8
Scomi Oiltools
2
Section
8NAF fundamentals
general description
In recent years the industry has sought new terminology to properly describe oil based mud systems
and has adopted the term non-aqueous uid or NAF, to cover non-water based systems, in general
use today. Generally speaking, much of our industry is changing terminology to emphasize that
NAF are not necessarily formulated from environmentally noxious diesel or crude mineral oils. From
a performance standpoint, however, NAF and traditional oil-based mud formulations are virtually
identical.
A non-aqueous uid or NAF might be dened as a drilling uid which has a natural or synthesized
hydrophobic uid or oil as its continuous or external phase and has water, if present, as a dispersed
or internal phase. The solids in a NAF are oil wet, all additives are oil dispersible and the ltrate
of the mud is specialized non-aqueous base uid (NABF) or oil. The water, if present, is emulsied in
the oil phase, or we can call it, NABF phase.
There are two basic classications of NAF; invert emulsion NAF and water free NAF. The amount of
water present will describe the type of NAF. The base uids used can range from crude oil, rened
oils such as diesel, mineral oils, olens and parafns, to the non-petroleum organic uids i.e. esters
that are currently available and silicone oils. The latter type uids - variously called inert uids, pseudo
oils, non-aqueous uids and synthetic uids - are considered more environmentally acceptable than
diesel or mineral oil based NAF.
Conventional all-oil muds (water-free NAF) have a non-aqueous external phase but they are designed
to be free of water when formulated or in use. Since water is not present, asphaltic, polymeric, or
lignitic type materials may be required to control the uid loss and viscosity. Since there is no
water added to this system during the formulation and water additions are avoided if possible while
drilling, there is only a minimum requirement for emulsiers.
All-oil muds, water-free NAF, can withstand small quantities of water; however, if the water
becomes a contaminating effect, the mud should be converted to an invert emulsion. If the water
is not quickly emulsied, the solids in the mud can become water wet and will cause stability
problems. The water wet solids will blind the shaker screens and loss of whole mud will occur.
Invert emulsions are NAF that are formulated to contain moderate to high concentrations of water
which is an integral part of the invert emulsion and can contain a salt; commonly calcium or sodium
chloride.
In a mixture of oil and water the interfacial tension between oil and water is very high, consequently
if the liquids are mixed together mechanically they usually separate once the agitation ceases.
NAF fundamentals
3
Any emulsion that does form from this will be a direct emulsion with water as the external
continuous phase. Lowering the interfacial tension with a surfactant (surface active agent) enables
one liquid to form a stable dispersion of ne droplets in the other. The two uids however remain
immiscible. The lower the interfacial tension, the smaller the droplets and the more stable the
emulsion. The interfacial tension between mineral oil and water is approximately 50 dynes/cm
2
, and
a good emulsier will lower this to about 10 dynes/cm
2
.
Besides lowering the interfacial tension, the emulsier stabilises the emulsion through adsorption
of its molecules at the oil/water interfaces thereby forming a skin around the droplets. The skin acts as a
physical barrier preventing the water droplets, in the case of an invert, from coalescing when they
collide.
The surfactants, emulsiers, consist of an oil soluble, lipophilic, chain of atoms linked to a water
soluble (hydrophilic) chain. The lipophilic portion dissolves in the oil side of the interface and the
hydrophilic in the water side. Whether the emulsion formed is direct (oil in water) or invert (water
in oil) depends upon the hydrophilic/lipophilic balance (HLB) which is the ratio by weight of the
hydrophilic part of the molecule to the lipophilic.
Because the creation of new surfaces, requires energy, some degree of mechanical agitation or
shear is required to form an emulsion. The lower the interfacial tension the lower the amount of
energy required.
Under the high shear conditions which exist for example at the drill bit, the internal phase breaks into
increasingly smaller droplets which effectively act as a solid providing some viscosity and uid loss
control.
4
Section
8NAF fundamentals
The uids characteristics can be varied to achieve desired specications by the addition of varying
amounts of emulsiers, viscosiers and ltrate reduction products,
An invert emulsion can contain as much as 60% of the liquid phase as water. Special emulsiers
are added to tightly emulsify the water as the internal phase and prevent the water from breaking
out and coalescing into larger water droplets. These water droplets, if not tightly emulsied, can
water wet the already oil wet solids and seriously affect the emulsion stability.
Special lignite derivatives or asphaltines are used as the uid loss control agents, and bentonite
derivatives are used to increase the viscosity and suspension properties of the system. Invert
emulsions are usually tightly emulsied, low uid loss NAF. An improvement in drilling rates has been
seen when the uid loss control of the system is relaxed, thus the name relaxed invert emulsion.
The relaxed invert emulsions uids use less emulsier than regular invert emulsion systems.
NAF applications
NAF offer many advantages over water based muds. The high initial cost of the oil based mud can be
a factor in not selecting this type of mud system. However, if the overall drilling costs are considered,
the costs accompanying the use of an oil mud are usually less than that for a water mud. Some of
the applications of oil-based muds will be described below.
Shale Stabilisation
NAF are most suited for drilling water sensitive shales. Formulated with the proper salinity, NAF can
prevent water movement from the mud into the shale. In some cases, water can actually be drawn
from the shale and could result in strengthening. However, it is also possible to draw too much water
from the shale, with too high a salinity, and cause a shale to be less stable. It is desirable to have
enough salinity to prevent water migration into the shale but not to allow dehydration of the shale.
This is the balanced activity concept. The required salinity is usually determined through eld
experience. Shale cores that have not been altered by the oil mud are necessary to accurately determine
the salinity requirements.
Optimise Rate Of Penetration
NAF, as a general rule, deliver faster ROP than WBM while providing improved shale stability.
Relaxed ltrate invert emulsions usually have a high oil to water content and some of the additives
used to control uid loss are omitted. These systems do not use the primary emulsiers, which have
been shown to reduce drilling rate, and they do not have the same temperature stability as
conventional NAF. The relaxed type NAF are especially suited to drilling with PDC bits.
High Temperature Wells
NAF have the ability to drill formations where bottom hole temperatures exceed water base mud
tolerances, especially in the presence of contaminants. NAF have been used at temperatures
approaching 550 F. NAF can be formulated to withstand high temperatures over long periods
of time, unlike water muds, which can break down and lead to loss of viscosity and uid loss control, as
well as corrosion.
Drilling Salts
Invert NAF will provide gauge hole and do not leach out salt. The addition of salt to the water phase
will prevent the salt from dissolving into the emulsied water phase. Water-based mud, even up to
saturation and over saturation does not assure that the salts will not be leached out.

5
Coring Fluids
Special NAF provide a native state coring uid with minimum wettability changes. These uids are
usually water-free and thus require only a minimal content of emulsiers. Oil mud emulsiers are
very strong oil-wetting agents and can cause oil-wetting of the formation. Oil-based coring uids
will not introduce any water into the core, so determination of water saturation can be more
accurately determined.
Packer Fluids
Oil mud packer uids are designed to be stable over long periods of time and when exposed to
high temperatures. NAF provide long term stable packer uids under conditions of high temperature
since the additives are extremely temperature stable. Since oil is the continuous phase, corrosion is
almost negligible compared to water base muds under the same conditions. Properly formulated,
oil mud packer uids can suspend weighting material over long periods of time.
Lubricity In Deviated Wells
The high lubricity offered by NAF makes them especially suited for highly deviated and horizontal wells.
Differential Sticking
An oil mud has a thin lter cake and the friction between the pipe and the wellbore is minimised,
thus reducing the risk of differential sticking.
Low Pore Pressure Formations
The ability to drill low pore pressure formations is more easily accomplished with NAF as the mud
weight can be maintained at a density less than water with densities as low as 7.5 lb/gal (0.90 SG) being
achieved.
Corrosion Control
Corrosion of metal is controlled since oil is the external phase and coats the pipe. NAF offer exceptional
corrosion protection due to the non-conductive nature of the oil, and corrosion cells cannot
develop since the metal surfaces are oil wet. The products used in oil mud are very thermally stable
and do not degrade to produce corrosive products. Bacteria do not thrive in NAF.
Hydrate Formation Prevention
There is a greater risk of forming gas hydrates in WBM than NAF. Gas hydrates are, relatively, stable solids
that can plug lines and valves. They form under certain conditions of pressure and temperature in the
presence of free gas and water. These conditions can occur during critical well control operations
and may present a risk to operations, especially in deep water. For this reason, chemicals, salt,
methanol, and/or glycol, are often added to WBM used for deepwater wells to prevent hydrate
formation. The water phase of a NAF does not normally contribute to hydrate problems, because it is
present in a relatively low concentration (20% or less by volume) and it generally has a high salt content,
primarily for shale inhibition.
Re-Cycling
NAF are well suited to being recycled and reused as they can be stored for long periods of time. The
oil mud can be conditioned before being used again by reducing the drill solids content with
mechanical removal equipment instead of relying on dilution.
6
Section
8NAF fundamentals
disadvantages of NAF
The initial cost of oil mud is high, especially formulations based on mineral or synthetic uids.
The high cost can be offset by oil mud buy-back or leasing from the mud service company.
Kick detection is reduced compared to that of water-based muds due to high gas solubility in the oil
phase.
NAF are costly when lost circulation occurs.
Greater emphasis is placed on environmental concerns when using NAF as related to discharge
of cuttings, loss of whole mud and disposal of the oil mud.
Special precautions should be taken to avoid skin contact which may promote allergic reactions.
Inhalation of fumes from NAF can be irritating.
NAF can be damaging to the rubber parts of the circulating system and preclude the use of special
oil resistant rubber.
NAF pose potential re hazards due to low ash points of vapours coming off the oil mud. Mineral
oils and synthetic base uids typically have higher ash points than diesel and crude oils. Crude oils
should be weathered before using in NAF.
Additional rig equipment and modications are necessary to minimise the loss of NAF.
Electric logging must be modied for use in NAF. NAF are non-conductive therefore resistively
measuring logs will not work in NAF (SP, resistivity, Dipmeters). Imaging logs (FMI) are also less
effective in an oil mud.
NAF require emulsiers that are very powerful oil-wetting materials, which can also change the
wettability of the rock to an oil-wet condition.
NAF type muds are more compressible than water muds, and, therefore, the downhole density
may vary considerably from that measured at the surface.
NAF products description
NAF require special products to ensure that the emulsion is stable and can withstand conditions of
high temperature and contaminants. NAF products must be dispersible in the external NABF or oil
phase.
Primary & Secondary Emulsiers
These products reduce the surface tension between immiscible liquids to allow the formation of
dispersions as described above.
Besides lowering surface tension the emulsiers stabilise the dispersion by adsorption of emulsier
molecules at the oil/water interface forming a skin around the discrete droplets. This skin forms a physical
barrier preventing coalescence on inter-particle collision. The stability of an invert emulsion increases
with increasing viscosity of the continuous (oil) phase as the frequency of collisions between internal
phase droplets decreases.
7
Calcium soaps are generally the primary emulsier in NAF. These are made in the mud by the reaction
of lime and long chain, C-16 to C-22, fatty acids. Soap emulsions are very strong emulsifying agents
but take some reaction time before emulsion is actual formed. Wetting agents prevent solids from
becoming water wet while the emulsion is forming.
Secondary emulsiers are very powerful oil wetting chemicals. Generally these products do not form
emulsions as well as the primary emulsiers, but oil wet solids before the emulsion is formed. They are
used to readily emulsify any water intrusions quickly.
Oil Wetting Agents
Oil wetting agents are added to NAF to prevent the water wetting of drilled solids and barite.
Water wet solids in NAF tend to agglomerate, blinding shale shaker screens and settling out in
mud pits. Most oil wetting agents consist of a negatively charged phosphate group attached to a
positively charged quaternary amine. The phosphate group has a non polar hydrocarbon tail
which dissolves in the oil phase. Most metal and minerals carry a negative surface charge which attract
the positively charged amine group. The oil attached to the non polar end of the molecule is thus
attached to the metal or mineral surface.
Since the majority of un-dissolved solids are contained in the continuous NABF phase of an invert,
the uids solids tolerance can be increased by increasing the oil/water ratio. It follows that signicant
increases in density (i.e., weighting agents) should generally be accompanied by increases in oil/water
ratio.
Note: A balance must be found between emulsication and oil wetting, since if emulsication is too
strong, oil wetting may not be adequate and if the oil wetting action is too strong excessive oil will
be lost on cuttings.
Fatty Acid Emulsiers and Lime
Lime, Ca(OH)
2
is added to form calcium soaps with tall oil fatty acid type emulsiers.
+ Ca
(OH)
2
O
2R -
C O
H
O
R -
C
O
Ca
2
+
+ 2 H
O
2
O
R -
C
O
The Role of Lime in OBM
Saponication reaction with
fatty acid type emulsiers
R - Long chain
hydrocarbon
Calcium soaps do not offer stability in the presence of magnesium or acid gas contamination and are
no longer generally used without addition of oil wetting agents or other more powerful emulsiers.
A new generation of non-soap emulsiers do not require lime. Lime, however, is helpful to rapidly
stabilise properties, particularly HTHP ltrate control, at elevated temperatures. A high alkalinity is
maintained in the water phase to provide a degree of safety and stability in the presence of acid gas
inuxes.
8
Section
8NAF fundamentals
Organophilic Clay
While some viscosity is imparted to invert emulsion by the water droplets in the internal phase,
a the key rheological prole is obtained from the addition of clay. Untreated clays such as
montmorillonite and hectorite will not readily disperse or yield in the non polar environment of
the NABF phase. Clays are pre-reacted with oil wetting agents, aliphatic amine salts and quaternary
ammonium salts to form a clay-organic product which can be dispersed in oil. High levels of shear
are required to develop full yield and viscosity from these clays. This is initially only partially achieved
in mud plants using vigorous blending with centrifugal pumps. Complete yield is most rapidly obtained
by circulation through the drilling bit nozzles.
Montmorillonite is most commonly used and is compatible with diesel and mineral oils up to 350 F
(177 C). For temperatures above 325 F (163 C), especially in synthetic uid and mineral oil formulations,
hectorite based clay should be used.
Polymeric Viscosiers
Polymeric viscosiers are additives that increase the viscosity of NAF in the presence of orgonophilic
bentonite, especially when the orgonophilic bentonite performance is reduced by high temperatures;
they work up to 400 F (204 C). A high molecular weight sulphonated polystyrene becomes effective
only when the temperature exceeds 250 F (121 C).
Rheological Modiers
Rheological modiers are low molecular weight fatty acids which provide an increase in viscosity
at low shear rates, 3 and 6 rpm. Barite can sag or slide down the hole, especially on deviated wells;
these additives will aid in minimising or eliminating this sag providing there is a good base
rheology from organophilic clays. Increases in total mud viscosity are minimised when using these
additives.
Amine Lignite
Lignite is treated in a similar process to clays to make it dispersible in oil. High temperature ltration control
is improved by plugging of the lter cake by the lignite particles. It can be used at high concentrations
without causing excessive viscosities ( 20 lb/bbl or 57.2 kg/m
3
).
Asphaltic Fluid Loss Additives
Asphaltic uid loss additives generally consist of gilsonite or asphalt derivatives. Gilsonite has high
temperature stability 400 F (204 C) whereas asphalt is not as temperature stable 250 F (121 C). High
concentrations can cause excessive viscosity and gelation of the mud. Treatment level will not usually
exceed 15 lb/bbl (43 kg/m
3
).
The Internal Water Phase
Water, or more commonly, brine is dispersed throughout the continuous oil phase in the form
of discrete droplets ranging in size from submicron to a few microns in diameter. In general, the
tighter the emulsion, the smaller will be the droplets. These droplets perform as a solid in the uid
imparting basic viscosity and ltration control. The viscosity of an emulsion increases with increase
in the proportion of the dispersed phase. By calculation the maximum packing of spheres of uniform
diameter is 74% of the gross volume. This can however be exceeded, as the droplets are not of uniform
size and are deformable. It is largely this deformable nature that produces the ltration characteristics
of invert emulsions. In practice this maximum packing is not approached. Some 40:60 OWR inverts
have been run successfully in the eld (at low mud weights).
If the continuous oil phase is of relatively low volume (i.e. 60/40 compared to 85/15) there is little room
for insoluble solids i.e., these systems offer poor solids tolerance.
9
Water in the internal phase is not completely isolated from the formation but may interact by osmotic
movement of water across the layers of surfactants between the oil and water phases. An efcient
osmotic membrane, or semi-permeable membrane, offers little resistance to transit by water, but
restricts movement of solutes, especially salts and high molecular weight sugars.
This layer acts as a semi permeable membrane which will allow any imbalance in osmotic pressure to
equalise by movement of water molecules.
Essentially the tendency will be for strong brines to be diluted by the intake of water molecules from
lower salinity uids. Consequently, salts are added to the water phase of inverts in attempts to prevent
undesirable osmotic movement of water. If the brine is of higher salinity than the formation, interstitial
water will be drawn from the formation which may cause dehydration and instability. In practice this is
not as signicant a problem as water transfer from the invert brine phase to the formation which can
destabilise clays/shales by hydration.
Salinity levels actually correspond to the relative humidity (RH) or activity of the brines and this process of
adding salt to invert brine to equal the RH of the in situ formation brine is known as balanced activity.

The Role of Salt (CaCl
2
or NaCL) in OBM
To prevent hydration of clays, reduce volume of
high cost oil phase and activate organophilic day
Formation OBM
Migration of
water from the
dilute solution
to the concentrated
solution
OSMOSIS OSMOSIS
Semi permeable membrance
Semi permeable membrance (skin) of emulsier molecules formed on the face
of the well bore
X
Formation OBM
No migration of water
Chloride concentration balanced ie in a state of equilibrium between
formation and the mud
10
Section
8NAF fundamentals
Calcium chloride is usually selected to adjust brine phase activity. Activities as low as 0.32 can be
achieved with saturated CaCl
2
. Osmotic pressure in excess of 10000 psi (68970 kPa) has been achieved
and measured. Saturated sodium chloride has an RH of 0.75 and consequently offers less exibility.
Continuous Oil Phase
Almost any NABF can be used as the external phase of an invert emulsion. Historically for drilling
uid purposes the most common oil used was diesel oil. Increasing environmental awareness has
resulted in the replacement of diesel by mineral oils of low aromatic content referred to by the
general term low toxicity oils or synthetic oils. It is the oil phase that accommodates all the insoluble
solids. As plastic viscosity is directly related to interparticle action of these insoluble solids it follows
that for a given solids content, higher oil/water ratios will produce lower plastic viscosities.
Weighting Agents
Weighting agents are used to increase the density of the oil mud. The most commonly used weighting
agent is barite. A mud weight of around of 21.0 lb/gal (2.52 SG) is the highest achievable with barite.
Hematite, with a S.G. of 5.0 can also be used to increase the density of the oil mud. A mud weight of
around 24 lb/gal (2.88 SG ) can be achieved with ne grind hematite.
properties of base fuids
The properties of base uids can have a signicant effect upon the physical properties of the oil mud.
The properties of the oil which are tested are:
Flash Point - a measure of the volatility of the base uid. The higher the ash point of the
oil, the less likely the oil mud will catch re. The ash point of an oil will change with age as
the more volatile components of the oil vaporise into the atmosphere. In practice, once the oil
is incorporated into an invert mud, the water phase provides an extinguishing effect greatly
increasing ash points. The ash point of the oil should be greater than 150 F (65.6 C).
Aniline Point - This is dened as the minimum equilibrium solution temperature for equal
volumes of aniline and solvent which, in the case of invert emulsions, is the base uid.
The aniline point relates to the percentage of aromatics in the base uid - the lower the
aromatic content the higher will be the aniline point. In general high aniline point, and
therefore low aromatic content oils are desirable to minimise damage to rubber parts in
pumps and downhole tools. This is a simplication as other factors, particularly temperature
are involved in the deterioration of rubber. The aniline point should be at least 140 F (60 C).
Certain oil mud products such as the organoclay viscosiers are affected by the amount of
aromatic components in the base uid. As the aromatic content is decreased, more viscosier
will generally be required or a different viscosier will have to be used.
Kinematic Viscosity - In general, base uids which exhibit low viscosity within a stipulated
temperature range are preferred as they allow reductions of mud viscosity with dilution if
required. High viscosity oils tend to form viscous muds especially at low temperatures (e.g.,
in marine risers) which impair hydraulics efciency and can cause induced fracturing of
formations and increased oil retention on cuttings. Crude oils usually have very high viscosities
because of higher asphaltic components, whereas the rened oils have considerably lower
viscosities. Addition of brine and solids to an oil increases its viscosity substantially, but
the viscosity of any mud is generally proportional to the viscosity of the base uid.
Aromatic Content - a measure of the quantity of aromatics or benzene-like compounds in
the oil. These are the compounds that will affect the toxicity of the base uid with the higher
content of aromatics, the more toxic the oil mud will be. Most of the mineral oils and synthetics
now used in NAF have a aromatic content less than 1% by weight. Other factors such as sulphur
content affect toxicity. Toxicity testing is performed before governmental approval for use is
granted.
11
mixing procedures
The addition of components in their proper sequence when initial mixing an oil mud will optimise the
performance of each product. The order of addition as listed below is the most common procedure for
preparation of NAF, though each mud system may require some modication of this procedure.
The mixing time may vary depending upon the amount of shear either at the rig or at the liquid mud
plant. Organophilic viscosiers require a considerable quantity of shear to fully develop their viscosity.
Therefore, more of this additive may be required on initial mixing.
As the oil mud is used over the rst couple of days, improvement in the emulsion stability and uid
loss control will vastly improve compared to what the mud was when it was initially mixed.
1. Add the required quantity of base uid to the mixing tank.
2. Add the primary emulsier and secondary emulsier as required.
3. Add organophilic viscosier as required.
4. Add ltration control additives if required.
5. Add lime as required.
6. Add required amount of water to the above mixture. If brine is to be used, then add brine after the
lime additions.
7. Add calcium chloride powder if brine is not used. If calcium chloride powder is not available, then
mix the calcium chloride akes into the water and add as a brine.
8. Mix above for several hours to ensure a good emulsion is formed.
9. Add weighting material as required for the desired density.
The viscosity contributed by the organophilic gellant will be higher if it is added to the mud after the
water is added and before the calcium chloride is added. If brine is used, then the gellant is added after
the brine and the viscosity will generally be lower.
The electrical stability of the mud after mixing will initially be lower if brine is used compared with adding
calcium chloride to the mud after the water is added.
The electrical stability and uid loss control will improve after use due to the shear generated during
circulation.
NAF properties
Mud Weight and Solids Content
In a correctly formulated oil mud drilled solids will not hydrate or chemically disperse. Fine solids can still
be produced by mechanical attrition. This being the case use of centrifugal pumps must be minimised.
Centrifuges should be fed by positive displacement pumps and mud cleaners should not routinely be
used. The recent development of vortex type centrifugal pumps may in future alter this approach as
attrition by an impeller does not occur in this type of pump.
In the non polar environment of an oil continuous uid polar actions between charged particles cannot
occur; consequently all solids essentially become inert. This is why NAF generally exhibit far better solids
tolerance than water based muds. Even so it is still essential to control low gravity solids to:
12
Section
8NAF fundamentals
minimise chemical additions - the mechanical degradation of solids produces large surface areas
with a high requirement for surfactants.
minimise plastic viscosities - again the attrition of drilled solids produces increased mechanical
interaction of solids within the oil phase which in turn produces increased plastic viscosities.
reduce the necessity for centrifuging and reconditioning in mud plant. Disposal of centrifuge
discard is becoming increasingly difcult on land.
It is important to remember that as virtually all non dissolved solids are contained in the continuous
oil phase of an invert emulsion increased solids tolerance and improved ow properties are
achieved with increased oil/water ratio. Consequently, when high mud weights are required or when
particularly good rheology (i.e., high YP/PV ratio) is required for efcient cleaning of deviated holes,
a high oil/water ratio must be selected.
Mud weight in NAF is temperature dependent for instance a uid with a weight of 10.2 lb/gal
(1.22 SG) at 80 F (26.7 C) can be expected to be 10 lb/gal (1.2 SG) at a ow line temperature
of 140 F (60 C). This is due to the high thermal expansion of the base uid used in the formulation of
the uid. Under downhole conditions this decrease in mud weight with temperature is largely overcome
by increases in density with pressure.
Plastic Viscosity
In a water based uid plastic viscosity, PV, is directly related to the solids content. In an oil mud however
this relationship is complicated by the brine droplets of the internal phase that have a similar effect as
solids. For a given yield point the PV will effectively nd its own level and signicant reductions can
best be achieved by increasing the oil content, hence reducing interparticle action, i.e., of water
droplets and drill solids.
While drilling ahead a judicious combination of centrifuging and dilution should be used to control
the plastic viscosity. Eventually solids will be broken down by attrition to below the cut point of the
centrifuge and dilution with base uid or newly formulated mud is the only means of subsequently
reducing this parameter.
Yield Point
The yield point, YP, as with all other rheological parameters is measured at 120

F (48.9 C). Increases are
made with an organophilic clay which is specially treated to be dispersible in the continuous oil phase.
To avoid over treatment with viscosier it should be remembered that organophilic clays may,
depending upon type and shear conditions, take a considerable time to fully yield.
While it is of course necessary to ensure that the yield point is sufciently high to promote efcient
hole cleaning, it should also be remembered that unnecessarily high viscosities can cause excessive
pump pressures and inefcient solids separation. This in turn results in increases in oil retention
on cuttings and dilution requirements.
Reduction of YP can be achieved with oil mud thinners or base uid additions.
Low Shear Rheology
The importance of maintaining good low shear rheology (6 RPM readings) increases with increasing
hole deviation.
Cuttings which tend to settle on the low side of the hole will only be removed efciently by a uid
with high low 6 RPM readings, or by a uid in turbulent ow.
13
High Temperature/High Pressure Filtrate
Filtration control in NAF is largely related to emulsion stability. The emulsied water droplets
act as colloidal solids that deform under pressure and, in conjunction with solids in the uid,
form effective lter cakes. The HTHP ltrate should be all oil. However, by running the test 25 F (14 C)
above BHT and accepting a trace of water in the ltrate overtreatment is avoided.
The theory is that if only a trace of water is in the ltrate at, say 250 F (121 C), the ltrate at a lower
temperature would be all oil. If no water was present at 250 F (121 C), the uid could be considered to
be over specication and therefore over treated. Specically designed products such as amine treated
lignite are available should particularly low ltrate rates be required. The standard test is at 250 F (121 C)
and 500 psi (3449 kPa) differential pressure. An occasional test should be run at a lower temperature, say
200 F (93.3 C), to conrm that an all oil free ltrate is produced at prevailing down hole temperature.
If BHT exceeds 250 F (121 C) perform standard tests at 300 F (149 C) with check test for water in ltrate
at 250 F (121 C).
Oil/Water Ratio
The prime consideration when selecting an oil/water ratio is, as previously explained, mud
weight. Other factors should be considered; primarily the likelihood of water or brine inuxes.
Sufcient oil should be in the system to accommodate such inuxes. Low oil/water ratio uids
may offer the benets of lower cost and marginally lower oil retention on cuttings, they are however
less tolerant to solids and brine/water inuxes.
High oil/water ratios are selected for highly deviated wells to provide maximum lubricity and to
provide the high YP/PV ratio required to ensure efcient hole cleaning.
Alkalinity and Excess Lime
Claims are made that many modern emulsication packages do not require lime to function
correctly. There is however strong eld evidence to show that lime does improve product function
particularly at high BHT, above 300 F (149 C). Lime is also added to buffer the system against inuxes
of the acid gases H
2
S and CO
2
.
Generally an excess lime content of 3 lb/bbl (8.58 kg/m
3
) is sufcient but if hydrogen sulphide is
expected this should be increased to 5 lb/bbl (14.3 kg/m
3
).
Electrical Stability
Known as ES, this test measures the voltage required to break down the continuous oil phase and
allow the passage of current across two electrodes via the brine phase. Stability is related to the size
of brine droplets which in turn is related to the concentration of emulsier present and the energy,
shear, applied to the emulsion.Different NAF uids exhibit markedly different ES levels and it is
difcult to specify a denitive minimum value. Essentially this test should be used in conjunction
with the HTHP ltrate test to establish adverse trends in the emulsion stability allowing corrective
treatment to be undertaken. This test becomes particularly unreliable when drilling massive salt
sections because the salt suspended in the uid interferes with conductivity.
Oil Wetting
The major advantage of continuous oil phase uids is that formations are only contacted by the non
polar oil. Most emulsiers supply a degree of oil wetting and many invert formulations include a
specic oil wetting agent. Should sufcient oil wetting surfactants not be present in a system
problems may occur when drilling water wet formations. Water wet cuttings can be generated and
may associate through polar action to produce high viscosities, solids settling and blinding of
shaker screens. Similar problems can occur if insufcient surfactant is present to satisfy the surface
requirements of barite additions. In general the addition of emulsiers and wetting agent will thin an
invert containing water wet solids. Avoid overtreatment as excessive thinning of rheology may occur.
14
Section
8NAF fundamentals
Note: Difculties exist in weighting new NAF beyond 15.0 lb/gal (1.8 SG) in mud plants. When
heavier muds are required increases must be made at the rig site. It is imperative that the surface
requirements of the barite additions are met with adequate oil wetting agent and emulsier additions.
A small excess is preferable to undertreatment.
Salinity
Salinity Measurements of calcium and sodium chloride are performed on the whole mud.
Undissolved calcium chloride can cause water wetting problems and should be dissolved by adding
water or oil mud premix with no salt in the water phase. Insoluble sodium chloride can be reduced
in the same manner, but it does not cause water wetting of solids.
Sulphides
Sulphides in the oil mud are measured with the Garrett gas train. A sample of whole mud is used
instead of ltrate. Zinc oxide is the preferred compound to treat for soluble sulphides. Increased
lime additions are also necessary when H
2
S is present.
trouble shooting NAF
PROBLEM
Low
viscosity
High
Viscosity

Water Wet
Solids
Low ES
High Solids
High Filtrate
Acid Gas
SOLUTIONS AND INDICATORS
Add water and emulsier, add gellant. If high temperature add polymeric
viscosier. All of these affect the low-shear viscosity, gel strength and yield
point more than the plastic viscosity.
Remove low gravity solids with solids control equipment and/or dilution.
Increase o/w ratio if water content is too high. Add oil wetting agent to reduce
viscosity.
Remove water wet solids and add oil wetting agent and oil. Ensure that there
is no insoluble calcium chloride in the mud. Water wet solids will blind
screens and give low E.S. readings.
Suspected water wet solids added to water will disperse easily.
Water wet solids, un-dissolved solids, inadequate concentration of emulsiers,
inadequate concentration of lime for emulsiers, and some weighting agents
(such as hematite) generate low electrical stability readings. All except hematite
require chemical treatment.
Most muds made with mineral oil will have lower electrical stability than those
made with diesel. Low viscosity muds usually have low electrical stability
readings.
Mud viscosity will increase and electrical stability readings will decrease
even though emulsier concentration is adequate. Improve solids removal
efciency. Use dual centrifuge to remove drill solids while recovering the
barite and oil phase.
Add additional emulsier if water appears in ltrate. Organo-lignite will also
emulsify water and lower ltrate. Ensure mud has excess lime. Newly formulated
mud may have high HPHT until properly sheared. Sometimes small amounts of
water will lower HPHT in high O:W ratio muds. Organo-lignites are not effective
when bottom hole temperature is less than about 150 F (65.6 C)
Detected in mud by drop in alkalinity. If H
2
S is detected by the Garrett gas
train, alkalinity has decreased so increase lime additions. Maintain lime
additions and add sulphide scavenger such as zinc oxide. If carbon dioxide is
present, add lime.
15
PROBLEM
Mud Losses
Free Top Oil
SOLUTIONS AND INDICATORS
If loss is not complete, use oil-wettable brous material or solid bridging
material such as calcium carbonate. Use same technique for seepage losses
to minimise thick lter cake and differential sticking. If losses are complete,
consider organophilic clay squeeze, cement or displacing to water based mud
until loss zone is cased off.
After periods of inactivity, free oil may cover the surface of the pits. Agitate the
mud in the pits or add organophilic clay to increase viscosity.
spacers for displacing NAF
displacing NAF to the hole
In the typical situation, top hole sections are drilled with water based mud and the uid to be displaced
out of the casing afterwards is usually seawater.
In this case the density difference between the two uids and the zero gel strengths of the seawater will
ensure that channelling does not occur.
If weighted water based mud is to be displaced from the hole efforts should be made to thin the uid
immediately ahead of the oil mud.
To summarise the two situations described above:
Displacing Seawater out of hole
No spacer is generally required. However, if pit space allows, 50 bbl (8 m
3
) of active mud with organophilic
clay, 10 lb/bbl (28.5 kg/m
3
), can be viscosied and pumped ahead of active mud.
Displacing Water Based Mud out of Hole
Thin one pit of water based mud with water (if hydrostatic head requirements allow) or chemical
thinners (FCL, Desco or SAPP) if hydrostatic must be maintained.
Thicken 50 bbl (8 m
3
) of active NAF with organophilic clay, 10 lb/bbl (28.5 kg/m
3
).
Recommended pumping sequence:
Thinned WBM
Viscosied NAF
NAF
Note:
Pump as fast as possible while displacing.
Rotate pipe 60 rpm while displacing.
Since the majority of displacements are within cased hole, accurate calculation of pump strokes
required for displacement are possible. When the WBM/NAF interface is due at surface slow mud
pumps and observe owline/header tank.
Ensure the header tank (possum belly) is empty during displacement. This avoids mixing of NAF
and WBM in header tank when NAF arrives at surface.
At rst appearance of NAF shut down pumps and line up gates and shakers to begin circulation
of NAF.
16
Section
8NAF fundamentals
displacing NAF out of the hole
The usual problem with this type of displacement is that the NAF is being displaced with a lighter
density water based uid of low viscosity over considerable annular lengths.
All of these conditions are liable to promote channelling of the displacement uid.
If reverse circulation is possible these problems will be avoided.
If conventional circulation is necessary it is advisable to reduce the viscosity of the NAF and to ensure
good separation by use of a viscous water based spacer.
Thin one pit of NAF with base uid (if hydrostatic head requirements allow) or thinner if hydrostatic
head must be maintained.
Prepare 50 bbl (8 m
3
) of viscous water base spacer, 3 lb/bbl (8.6 kg/m
3
) HEC or Xanthan Gum in brine or
seawater).
Recommended pumping sequence:
Thinned NAF
25 bbl (4 m
3
) base uid*
50 bbl (8 m
3
) viscous HEC/Xanthan spacer
Seawater / brine / WBM
* If pit space, or cement unit, is available. If not follow thinned NAF with HEC/Xanthan spacer.
Note:
a) Pump as fast as possible while displacing to minimise time for annular migration of lighter
displacement uid.
b) Reciprocate and rotate pipe ( 60 rpm) while displacing to break gel structures in NAF.
c) Displace NAF to mud pits/boat together with base uid spacer and any contaminated interface.
d) Ensure header tank (possum belly) is empty immediately prior to interface arrival. This avoids
mixing of WBM with NAF in the header tank.
e) The thinned mud/base uid spacer should be recognisable at surface. Slow pumps and shut down
when high viscosity HEC/Xanthan pill is observed. Line up gates and shakers for circulation of water
based uid.
cementing with oil based muds
Many factors are involved in achieving a good cement job with oil based mud in the hole. Of prime
concern is the displacement of mud from the length of annulus to be cemented and subsequent water
wetting of the casing. To achieve this a suitable spacer uid must be selected. The spacer should ideally
meet the following criteria:
a) Compatibility with mud and cement. A spacer that severely thickens the mud at the interface could
produce signicantly increased pump pressure.
b) High surfactant concentration to water wet casing.
c) Rheological properties conducive to a turbulent ow regime.
d) Sufcient suspension characteristics to suspend weight material.
To meet these requirements the following procedure is recommended:
Pump 10 bbl (1.6 m
3
) of base uid. Its low viscosity should ensure turbulence while it is being
pumped. The oil in turbulent ow will thin the NAF adhering to the casing and facilitate its removal
by the surfactant spacer.
17
Pump sufcient surfactant spacer to ensure a contact time of at least ten minutes e.g., 50 bbl
(8 m
3
) if pumping at 5 bbl/min (795 L/min). This spacer should be formulated at a weight
midway between the weights of the mud and the cement. Xanthan Gum should be used as the
viscosier; this produces a highly shear thinning uid yet possesses good suspension characteristics.
This spacer should be of the minimum viscosity that is capable of suspending barite. A typical
formulation for 50 bbl (8 m
3
). pumpable is:
Seawater 55 bbl (8.75 m
3
)
Caustic Soda 0.5 lb/bbl (1.43 kg/m
3
)
Xanthan 0.75 lb/bbl (2.15 kg/m
3
)
Barite As required
Surfactant 12 x 25 litre cans
The Surfactant should be added directly to the slug pit immediately prior to pumping to avoid foaming.
It is preferable to use the cement unit to pump both the base uid and the surfactant spacer. This
ensures that all the spacer goes ahead of the cement. Using the rig pumps will result in a loss of some
of the spacer in the lines from the pump to the rig oor.
High displacement rates will result in a better displacement. However, pump rates might be limited
by increasing ECD values which can result in formation breakdown and subsequent loss of large
volumes of mud.
When pumping and displacing cement careful observation of the active pit must be maintained to
detect mud losses. If losses occur a reduction in pump rate should be considered to reduce the rate
of loss.
During displacement of the cement, pipe movement, both rotation and reciprocation, will enhance
mud displacement as will correct centralisation of the casing.
In the event that cement is not planned to come to surface a suitable volume of water based spacer
treated with caustic soda and corrosion inhibitor can be pumped ahead of the surfactant spacer
to displace all of the NAF out of the annulus. Prior to formulating this spacer consideration must
be given to formation type and hydrostatic requirements. An allowance should be made for over
gauge hole resulting from mechanical erosion or solution of salts. This is of particular signicance on
deviated wells where the increase in hole size due to mechanical erosion can be substantial.
Any cement and spacer seen at the surface should be separated and disposed of. Great care must
however be taken to ensure that oil based mud is not dumped. If contaminated mud is detected this
should be diverted to a separate pit and reconditioned or disposed of in the proper manner.
Reverse circulation to clear the pipe of excess cement will greatly reduce contamination of the
drilling uid system.

When the cement job is completed an inspection of the owline and shaker area, particularly the
header box, must be made to ensure these areas are free of cement.
Prior to a cement job, particularly a large one, calculations should be made to ensure enough spare
pit volume is available to receive displaced mud. This should be calculated well in advance of the job as
it may be necessary to organise a boat for back-loading oil based mud prior to or during cementation.
18
Section
8NAF fundamentals
types of base fuids
There are three main types of invert emulsion mud systems, based on the chemical composition of the
base uid in the mud. These are oil based muds (OBM), enhanced mineral oil based muds (EMOBM),
and synthetic based muds (SBM).
oil base mud (obm)
OBM contain diesel fuel or conventional mineral oil as the continuous phase. They are the least
expensive invert emulsion systems and were the only ones in use until the late 1980s. Mineral oils
were developed as low-toxicity replacements for diesel fuel in the OBM in an attempt to reduce the
environmental impacts of discharge of OBM contaminated drill cuttings.
enhanced mineral oil base mud (emobm)
EMOBM contains an enhanced mineral oil as the continuous phase. Enhanced mineral oils are
conventional parafnic mineral oils that have been hydrotreated or otherwise puried to remove all
aromatic hydrocarbons.
Enhanced mineral oils generally contain less than about 0.25 percent total aromatic hydrocarbons
and less than 0.001 weight percent total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. One of the enhanced
mineral oils evaluated contained less than 1 mg/L benzene. Aromatic hydrocarbons, including polycyclic
aromatic hydrocarbons, are considered to be the most toxic components of OBM.

synthetic base mud (sbm)
what does synthetic mean?
In order to really dene synthetic, as it applies to drilling uids, it is necessary to review the non-
aqueous uid (NAF) offshore disposal regulations as legislated in several parts of the world. This
includes NADF regulations from Europe (OSPAR, 2000), the United States (USEPA, 2001), Canada
(CNOSP, 2002), and Australia (DoIR, 1999). Also included is a review of NADF by the International
Association of Oil and Gas Producers (OGP, 2003).
Base uid Process Europe Canada US Australia OGP

(2000) (2002) (2001) (1999) (2003)
diesel renery
extraction OBM
1
OBM OBM OBM OBM
mineral oils/ renery OBM OBM OBM OBM OBM
parafns extraction
mineral oils/ renery SBM
2
EMOBM EMOBM NA
4
EMOBM
parafns extraction and 3
severe
hydro-treatment
synthesised Fischer - Troph SBM SBM SBM NA SBM
parafns or LAO
hydro-formulation
linear alpha ethylene
olens oligomerisation SBM SBM SBM SBM SBM
internal olens LAO SBM SBM SBM SBM SBM
ethylene
esters condensation of SBM SBM SBM SBM SBM
fatty acids and
alcohol
1
OBM = oil base uid
2
SBM = synthetic base uid
3
EMOBM = enhanced mineral oil base uid
4
NA = not addressed
19
As the chart shows, all the regulatory bodies and organizations agree that diesel, mineral oil and
parafns extracted from reneries are oil base muds (OBM). They also agree that synthetic base muds
(SBM) include parafns produced via Fischer Tropsch (gas to liquids) or linear alpha olen hydro
formulation processes, linear alpha olens, internal olens, and esters.
Controversy, however, continues over uids extracted from renery streams that are severely
hydrotreated. Hydrotreatment is a processing step used to convert aromatics in uids to parafns. In
the process, some minor chemical reactions occur as the aromatics are treated. Europes OSPAR
classies such uids as synthetic. The US EPA, CNOSP and OGP classify these products as neither
an SBM nor an OBM, but instead create an entirely new category known as enhanced mineral oil base
mud (EMOBM).
The EPA (EPA 1996) denes a synthetic material, as applied to synthetic based drilling uids, as:
A material produced by the reaction of a specic puried chemical feedstock, as opposed to the traditional
base uids such as diesel and mineral oil which are derived from crude oil solely through physical separation
processes. Physical separation processes include fractionation and distillation and/or minor chemical reactions
such as cracking and hydro processing. Since they are synthesized by the reaction of puried compounds,
synthetic materials suitable for use in drilling uids are typically free of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
(PAH) but tests sometimes report levels of PAH up to 0.001 weight percent PAH expressed as phenanthrene.
The Norwegian regulatory authority denes a SBM as (Norway 1997):
A drilling uid where the base uid consists of non water soluble organic compounds and where neither
the base uid nor the additives are of petroleum origin.
characteristics of synthetic fuids
Base Chemicals
Synthetic base uids may be classied into four general categories:
synthetic hydrocarbons
ethers
esters
acetals
The chemistry of these basic classes of synthetic base materials is discussed in the following and
example chemical structures are shown in Table 1.
TYPE CHEMICAL STRUCTURE

Synthetic Hydrocarbons
Linear Alpha Olen (LAO) CH
3
- (CH
2
)
n
- CH = CH
2
Poly Alpha Olen (PAO) CH
3
- (CH
2
)
n
- C = CH
2
)
m
- CH
3


(CH
2
)
p
- CH
3
Internal Olen (IO)
CH
3
- (CH
2
)
m
- CH = CH - (CH
2
)
n
- CH
3
Linear Alkyl Benzene (LAB)
CH
3
- CH

- (CH
2
)
n
- CH
3


C
6
H
5

Other Synthetic Base Chemicals
Ether
CH
3
- (CH
2
)
n
- (CH
2
)
n
- CH
3
Ether
CH
3
- (CH
2
)
n
- C = O
O - (CH
2
)
m
- CH
3
Acetal
CH
3
- (CH
2
)
n
- O O - (CH
2
)
n
- CH
3

CH - (CH
2
)
m
- CH
3
20
Section
8NAF fundamentals
Synthetic Hydrocarbons
Polymerised olens are the most frequently used synthetic hydrocarbons in SBM today. Polymerised
olens include linear alpha olens (LAO), poly alpha olens (PAO), and internal olens (IOs),
Linear parafns (LP) (also sometimes called n-parafns) sometimes are included in this class; however,
they usually are prepared from a petroleum feedstock. Synthetic linear parafns are available
commercially for use in SBM, but are not widely used because of their cost. Synthetic parafns are
produced by the low-pressure Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, involving catalytic hydrogenation of carbon
monoxide. Because EPA classies synthetic parafns as SBM, synthetic LP cuttings are permitted for
offshore discharge in the Gulf of Mexico.
Linear Alpha Olens (LAO)
LAO are produced by the polymerisation of ethylene. Ethylene (C
2
H
4
), the smallest unsaturated
hydrocarbon, is oligomerised by heating in the presence of a catalyst and triethyl aluminium to produce
LAO with different hydrocarbon chain lengths.
Each LAO molecule has a single, double bond in the alpha position (between the rst and second
carbon in the chain) (Table 1). LAO have molecular weights ranging from 112 (C
8
H
16
) to 260 (C
20
H
40
).
The LAO mixture is distilled to produce different molecular weight blends. The physical-chemical
properties of the mixtures can be altered systematically by changing the chain lengths and
branching of the LAO molecules. Typical LAO mixtures used in SBM are LAO C
14
C
16
(a blend of C
14
H
28

and C
16
H
32
LAO) and LAO C
16
C
18
. In a typical LAO, about 28 percent of the molecules contain branching;
most branches are methyl groups (-CH
3
).
Poly Alpha Olens (PAO)
PAO are manufactured in a four- to ve-step process:
1. polymerisation of ethylene to form a series of linear alpha olens
2. distillation to isolate LAO of the desired chain length
3. oligomerisation of the LAO to produce PAO
4. hydrogenation to saturate the PAO (sometimes)
5. distillation to isolate PAO with the desired physical-chemical properties.
Typical LAO used to manufacture PAO include 1-octene (C
8
H
16
) and 1-decene (C
10
H
20
). PAO may
be hydrogenated, producing alkanes for some applications. However, the unsaturated PAO is more
biodegradable than the saturated alkane; therefore, unsaturated PAO are preferred to the saturated
congeners in applications where PAO cuttings may be discharged to the ocean.
Depending on the chain length of the LAO and the nature of the oligomerisation reactions, PAO can
be produced with varying degrees of branching and carbon chain lengths. In a typical PAO SBM,
more than 90 percent of the molecules have branching. The PAO uid may contain a mixture of several
PAO from C
8
H
16
to C
30
H
62
and sometimes to C
40
H
82
. The average PAO is C
20
H
42
(Eicosane) with a
molecular weight of 282.6 and an aqueous solubility less than 1 mg/L.
Internal Olens (IO)
IOs are formed by isomerisation of LAO in the presence of heat and a suitable catalyst. Isomerisation
shifts the double bond from the alpha position to a position between two internal (Table 1).
Isomerisation of a LAO decreases its pour point and ash point. Commercial IO usually has a chain length
of 16, C
16
H
32,
or 18, C
18
H
36,
carbons, and usually contain more than 20 percent internal branching.
21
As with LAO and PAO, the IO mixture may be hydrogenated to produce saturated hydrocarbons;
however, they are still referred to as LAO, PAO, and IO.
In todays market, LAO and IO usually are preferred over PAO. LAO and IO often is used in blends that
are designed to achieve a balance among the physical properties important to the drilling operation
(e.g. viscosity, pour point, ash point, etc.).
Ethers
Alcohols with different chain lengths are condensed and partially oxidized to produce mono- and di-
ethers. Ethers are saturated hydrocarbons with an oxygen atom in the centre (Table 1).
Hydrocarbon chain lengths and branching are selected to optimise drilling properties and
minimise toxicity. Ethers are more stable both chemically and biologically than esters or acetals.
Ether SBM have a high hydrolytic stability. This is an advantage during drilling, but results in low
biodegradability following ocean disposal of SBM cuttings.
At one time, ethers were used frequently in the North Sea; before September 1994, ether or acetal
SBM were used to drill 13 wells in the UK Sector of the North Sea. However, they are no longer used
in the North Sea. Ethers have never been used in U.S. offshore waters.
Acetals
Acetals are dialkylethers that are closely related to ethers. They are formed by the acid-catalysed
reaction of an aldehyde with an alcohol or carbonyl compound (One mole of aldehyde and two
moles of alcohol). A typical acetal in a SBM has the formula, C
20
H
42
O
2
, and has a molecular weight
of 314.3. Acetals are relatively stable under neutral and basic conditions, but may revert back to the
aldehyde and alcohol under acidic conditions. At one time, acetals were used frequently in the North
Sea; however, they are not used today. Acetals have never been used in U.S. waters.
Esters
Esters are formed by the reaction of a carboxylic acid with an alcohol under acidic conditions.
The ingredients of esters used in SBM include fatty acids (carboxylic acids) with 8 to 24 carbons and
alcohols with different chain lengths. 2-Ethylhexanol (C
8
H
18
O, molecular weight 130.2) is the alcohol
used most frequently, however, mono- and poly-hydric alcohols (glycerols) may also be used.
The fatty acids usually are derived from natural vegetable or sh oils. They also can be made by
oxidation of the terminal double bond of LAO. An example of ester used in SBM is a mixture
of C
8
through C
14
fatty acid esters of 2-ethylhexanol. The rst ester SBM system consisted of a mixture
of ve homologous fatty acid esters, of which the main component was 2-ethylhexyl dodecanoate.
A typical ester has a molecular weight of 396.4 and the chemical formula, C
26
H
52
O
2
.
Esters are somewhat polar and more water soluble than would be expected from their molecular
weights. Chain length and branching of the fatty acids and alcohol are modied to optimise viscosity,
pour point, and hydrolytic stability.
Esters also may be mixed with synthetic hydrocarbons (LAO, IO, or PAO) in an SBM to attain some
particular drilling performance characteristic. Esters are relatively stable under neutral conditions,
but may undergo hydrolysis and revert back to the acid and alcohol under basic or acidic conditions.
Esters are commonly used in the North Sea and have been used extensively in the Gulf of Mexico.
22
Section
8NAF fundamentals
environmental performance
By reviewing product classications, we learn that the synthetic label has little bearing on
environmental impact. There are differences between products labelled SBM, OBM, and EMOBM.
Even within a certain class of compounds (e.g. parafns), some products may have less environmental
impact than others.
Not all drilling base uids have equal environmental performance. Differences in physical/
chemical characteristics result in differences in key environmental performance criteria such as
aerobic biodegradability, anaerobic biodegradability, water column toxicity and sediment toxicity.
The environmental properties of base uids depend on the physical and chemical characteristics
of the material. Classication (e.g. whether a product is a synthetic) or point of origin does not
necessarily guarantee specic environmental performance. Field environmental fate and effects data
assessment is generally viewed as the best practice to understand the potential environmental impact
of a base uid.
In the absence of eld data, laboratory biodegradation and toxicity test data is recommended to
assess environmental fate and effect. An overall assessment of potential environmental impact can
only be completed when a full environmental data set is available. This includes both anaerobic
(absence of oxygen) and aerobic (presence of oxygen) biodegradation test data as well as water
column and sediment toxicity test data.
The following table illustrates typical toxicity test data of some drilling base uids for selected water
column species.
1
Seawater test
2
Freshwater test
Water column toxicity test results generally show that olen and parafn base uids are non-toxic to
water column organisms, but diesel base uids do exhibit toxicity.
When toxicity to sediment-dwelling organisms is considered, internal olen and some alpha olen
products have signicantly lower toxicity compared to most parafnic materials. The table that follows
illustrates typical relative sediment toxicity data for several types of base uids.
Compound Mysid SPP
1

Fathead Daphnia
96-h LC
50
Minnow
2

magna
2
(mg/L) 96-h LC
50
48-h EC
50

(mg/L) (mg/L)
internal olens > 1000
alpha olens > 1000 > 1000
synthetic parafn 1 > 1000 > 1000
synthetic parafn 2 > 1000
synthetic parafn 3 > 1000
diesel 100 - 300
23
Compound Relative sediment toxicity
1
1618 Internal olen 1.0
internal olen 2 0.6
alpha olen 1 28
alpha olen 2 1.0
synthetic parafn 1 15
synthetic parafn 2 16
synthetic parafn 3 19
synthetic parafn 4 6.0
synthetic parafn 5 1.0
diesel 18
1
Relative sediment toxicity compared to C16,18 internal olen.
Higher relative values indicate greater sediment toxicity.
The type of olen or parafn makes a difference. Most parafns and some olens that can be used as
base uids have signicant sediment toxicity, similar to that of diesel.
Biodegradation test data for both aerobic and anaerobic conditions are summarised in the table
that follows.
Compound Aerobic Anaerobic
biodegradation biodegradation
(%)
1
(%)
1

internal olen 1 50 - 55
internal olen 2 60 - 80 55 - 60
alpha olen 1 60 - 75 60 - 80
alpha olen 2 60 - 75 50 - 60
synthetic parafn 1 55 - 60 17
synthetic parafn 2 10
synthetic parafn 5 63
synthetic parafn 6 > 90
Diesel 60 - 75 3
1
Aerobic biodegradation assessed by OECD 301 or 306.
2
Anaerobic biodegradation assessed by modied ISO 11734.
The need to drill increasingly difcult deviated and deep-water wells, coupled with the desire to
discharge cuttings, led to the development of SBM. SBM is designed to be less toxic and degrade
faster than OBM, and they yield mud systems similar to OBM in drilling performance. Furthermore,
synthetics have certain technical and human health advantages over most mineral oils and diesel
fuel. For example, they are less volatile than OBM and their vapours are free of aromatic compounds.
Thus, the use of SBM can reduce vapour inhalation by workers in closed, poorly ventilated areas on the
drilling platform.
In many cases, SBM does not appear to have better drilling properties than OBM, although they are
much more expensive than OBM. However, if the discharge of cuttings associated with SBM is allowed
and the discharge of cuttings associated with OBM is prohibited, the higher cost of the SBM usually is
more than offset by the cost of onshore disposal of OBM cuttings.
24
Section
8NAF fundamentals
which drilling base fuid is best for the environment?
Unfortunately, theres no simple answer to this question. The full potential environmental impact
of a base uid can only be assessed with a complete environmental data set that includes water
column and sediment toxicity, aerobic and anaerobic biodegradation, and deposition of the cuttings
and base uid concentration in the sediment.
All olen and parafn base uids and diesel will biodegrade aerobically. However, under anaerobic
conditions, alpha olen and internal olen base uids biodegrade more extensively (> 50%) than
parafns and diesel (< 5 - 20%). As a result, parafn base uids may persist in the environment for
longer periods of time if they are not exposed to aerobic conditions.
The concentration of base uid in sediments may decrease with time after discharge by re-
suspension, bed transport, mixing, and biodegradation. In many cases, sediment-dwelling micro-
organisms are able to use base uids as a source of nutrition. However, biodegradation of base
uids in sediments may result in a decrease in sediment oxygen concentration. If the initial base
uid concentration is sufciently high, the sediments could become anoxic (oxygen depleted).
Ideally, base uids should be biodegradable under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions.
polymer chemistry
p
o
l
y
m
e
r
section 9
Introduction 2
polymer types 2
polyacrylate, polyacrylamide, and phpa 2
carboxymethylcellulose (cmc) and
polyanionic cellulose (pac) 3
hydroxyethylcellulose (hec) 4
starch 4
guar gum 4
xanthan gum 4
other naturally derived polymers 5
polymer uses 5
viscosity 5
bentonite extension 5
occulants 5
deocculants 5
surfactants 5
ltration control 6
shale stabilisation 6
polymer limitations 6
section 9
Scomi Oiltools
2
Section
9polymer chemistry
introduction
A polymer is a molecule consisting of a series of repeating units. The number of units can vary
from several to tens of thousands with corresponding variance in chain length and molecular weight.
The polymer can be linear or branched and can be synthetic or naturally derived.
The lower molecular weight polymers are used as deocculants; whereas, the high molecular weight
molecules are used as viscosiers and occulants.
The repeating unit need not always be the same. Copolymers consist of two or more different
groups joined together and may be random or block depending on how the groups are distributed
on the chain.
The two major mechanisms for manufacturing polymers are condensation, which alters the
makeup of the repeating units, and addition which utilises the presence of a double bond in the
reacting unit to form a long chain. The addition process will generally yield higher molecular weight
polymers than will condensation. The condensation process produces a polymer in which the
repeating units contain fewer atoms than the monomers from which they were formed. Frequently,
water is formed as a by-product of the process. The process requires two or more compounds which
react chemically and does not depend upon the presence of a double bond for propagation of the
chain.
This mechanism is susceptible to interruption by impurities or any outside inuence which would
reduce the efciency of the process.
Many commercially available polymers are not readily soluble in water. This is an undesirable
property for drilling uid chemicals. Fortunately, many of the polymers available have been chemically
treated in order to make them water-soluble. The solubility of these polyelectrolytes will be affected
by the chemical makeup of the drilling uid, pH, salts and presence of divalent cations, etc.
polymer types
Each type of polymer has aits own characteristics in terms of how it functions in a particular type of
drilling uid. Therefore, selection of the correct type of polymer is critical to good performance. Below
are listed ve general types of commonly used polymers.
polyacrylate, polyacrylamide, and phpa
Polyacrylates are used as dispersants (low mol. weight), uid loss reducing agents (medium mol.
weight) or occulants (high molecular weight). Simple ones are cheap, but calcium sensitive.
Copolymers are common, e.g. vinyl sulphonate vinyl acrylate copolymers used as high temperature
uid loss reducing agent.
High molecular weight, partially hydrolysed polyacrylamides (PHPA) are very effective shale
stabilisers, clay extenders, occulants, and encapsulating colloids. More correctly they are block
copolymers of polyacrylamide (c. 70%) and polyacrylate (c. 30%). The presence of excess PHPA can
be monitored via various tests and is reported on the mud report form.
polymer chemistry
3
n CH
2
= CH - C = N CH
2
- CH -
C = N n
Hydrolysis
alkali
Acrylonitrille
(Monomer)
Polyacrylonitrile (Polymer)
PHPA Polymer
CH
CH
Co
_
2
2
Na
+
CH
CH
Co
_
2
2
Na
+
CH
CH
Co
_
2
2
CH
CH
CONH
2
2
CH
CH
Co
_
2
2
Na
+
CH
CH
2
CH
Co
_
2
Na
+
CONH
2
carboxymethylcellulose (cmc) and polyanionic cellulose (pac)
These are widely used as viscosiers and uid loss reducing agents. Carboxymethyl cellulose and
polyanionic cellulose are both produced by carboxymethylation. The quality of the product is
determined by the degree to which the reaction is carried out (degree of substitution) and by whether
the salt by-product is removed or not. Viscosity can be either high or low depending on chain length.
When cellulose is reacted with sodium monochloroacetate, a sodium methylacetate group is
substituted on one of the three hydroxyl groups.
Cellulose Structure
HO H
H
H
OH H
1
CH
2
OH CH
2
OH
CH
2
OH H OH
4
O
O
H
H
OH
OH
OH
H.OH
OH
OH H
n
OH
H H
H
H
H
H H
H
H H
H
4
O
O
CH
2
OH
O
O
O
Carboxymethylcellulose Structure
HO H
H
H
OH H
1
CH
2
O CH
2
O
CH
2
O H OH
4
O
O
H
H
OH
OH
OH
H.OH
OH
OH H
n
OH
H H
H
H
H
H H
H
H H
H
4
O
O
CH
2
O
O
O
O
CH
2
COO
-
Na
+
CH
2
COO
-
Na
+
CH
2
COO
-
Na
+
CH
2
COO
-
Na
+
The degree of substitution (DS) refers to the number of hydroxyl groups upon which substitution
takes place divided by the number of repeating units in the molecule.
The degree of substitution will range from zero to a maximum of three. Generally, CMC will have
a DS in the range of 0.4 to 0.8 with 0.45 being required for solubility. The degree of polymerisation
(DP) will range from 500 to 5000. The polymers with the greater DP will impart more viscosity to
the uid. High DS on the other hand, will permit more tolerance to salts and cation contamination.
Thermal degradation accelerates above 250 F (121 C).
Polyanionic cellulose is similar to CMC but generally has a degree of substitution (DS) of about 1.0.
The PAC materials generally are more expensive than CMC due to higher processing costs, but show a
greater tolerance to hardness and chlorides. PAC begins to thermally degrade at 250 F (121 C).
Na
+
4
Section
9polymer chemistry
hydroxyethylcellulose (hec)
Hydroxyethyl cellulose. This is used mainly as a viscosier for completion uids. Its non ionic nature
means that it is not affected by salt. Key factors are purity and high acid solubility.
HEC is formed by causticising cellulose and reacting it with ethylene oxide which replaces one or
more of the hydroxyl groups present on the cellulose molecule.
Although HEC is non ionic, it is still water soluble due to the hydroxy ethyl groups. HEC imparts
high viscosity to water or brines but exhibits no gel strengths. It is prone to degradation through shear
or heat and has a maximum thermal stability of around 225 F (107 C).
starch
Widely used as uid loss reducing agents, particularly in salty muds. Can be potato or grain derived.
Quality and temperature stability can be improved by various processes.
The starches are pre-gelatinised in order to permit them to readily hydrate. Starches are peptised
chemically or by exposure to heat. The peptisation ruptures the microscopic sacks which contain the
amylose and amylopectin allowing them to contact with water and hydrate.
Starches are used mainly for uid loss control and are effective in a large range of uid systems,
such as seawater, saturated saltwater, KCl muds and lime muds. Starches are thermally stable to about
250 F (121 C). Starches, unless chemically modied are not resistant to bacteria and require a biocide
to prevent fermentation, except in saturated salt and high pH muds.
guar gum
Viscosier used to make spud muds. Derivatives (eg.hydroxy propyl guar) may be used in certain
completion /workover uids.
Guar gum is manufactured from the seed of the guar plant. Guar is a naturally occurring non ionic
polymer used as a viscosier in waters ranging from fresh to saturated salt (NaCl). High levels of
hardness and alkalinity will slow or even eliminate the hydration process and can cause a signicant
decrease in viscosity.
Guar has a maximum thermal stability of about 200 F (93 C) and a biocide is necessary to retard
fermentation.
xanthan gum
Excellent viscosier giving shear stable rheology with progressive gels. It is derived from bacteria.
Xanthan Gum is a biopolymer and is a product of the action of a bacteria (Xanthomonas Campestris)
on sugar. It may be used in a variety of brines and salinity levels. Xanthan gum begins to degrade
thermally at temperatures of about 225 - 250 F (107 121 C). Xanthan gum is the only polymer that
provides thixotropy, i.e., formation of gel structures.
Hydroxyeathylcellulose Structure
Cellulose +
Ethylene oxide
H H
H
H OH
OH
H
H
H H
H
H
n
H
H H
O
C C
Hydroxyethylcellulose
O
O
O
O
CH
2
OCH
2
CH
2
OCH
2
CH
2
OH
CH
2
OCH
2
CH
2
OH
OCH
2
CH
2
OH
OH
H
5
other naturally derived polymers
Other products which may loosely be described as polymers include:
Lignosulphate - used as a dispersant
Lignite - used a uid loss reducer and dispersant
Lignin (esp. polyanionic lignin) - used for uid loss control
Tannin/ Quebracho - used as dispersants
polymer uses
Some of the major uses of polymers in drilling uids are:
Viscosity
Bentonite Extension
Deocculation
Filtration Control
Shale Stabilisation
viscosity
Viscosity is due to the interactions between the polymer molecules and water, between the polymers
themselves and between polymers and solids.
The longer the molecules the greater the viscosity. The interaction between the polymers, water
and solids can be disrupted by applying energy or shear. The result is that the higher the shear,
the lower the viscosity.

bentonite extension
The bentonite extenders work by cross-linking bentonite particles to increase the physical interaction
between particles. There is a narrow band of concentrations which allow this cross-linking to occur,
but above which a viscosity decrease may occur.
focculants
These polymers are characterised by a anionic high molecular weight which will enable the
polymer to bridge from particle to particle. The ionic groups of the polymer will allow it to absorb
strongly on the ionic sites of solids and form an aggregate. The aggregates will settle or be removed
by shakers or centrifuges.
It is possible to have either total or selective occulation. Selective occulation removes some of
the drill solids.
defocculants
The deocculants or thinners are usually negatively charged polymers. These products absorb onto the
edges of clay particles resulting in an overall negative charge.
Deocculants are anionic polymers. Polymer deocculants are shorter molecules with a greater charge
density.
These characteristics facilitate adsorption onto the clay particle without causing cross-linking. These
polymers are sensitive to divalent cations and are less effective when hardness exceeds about 400 mg/l.
surfactants
These are discussed in the OBM Fundamentals section. They are polymers with a polar, water loving
end and a non polar oil soluble end.
These polymers will stabilise emulsions either direct or indirect depending on the length of each entity.
6
Section
9polymer chemistry
fltration control
Three mechanisms can be envisaged for polymers to act as uid loss additives.
a. Deocculants. These pack down the lter cake forming a atter, less permeable medium.
b. Viscosity of the ltrate. The thicker the liquid phase being forced through the lter cake, the lower
rate of ltration.
c. Colloidal particles. Compressible colloidal particles will deform to plug pores in the lter cake.
Often a combination of mechanisms will provide the most effective control.
Starches, CMC, PAC, and hydrolysed polyacrylates are effective ltration control agents.
Anionic polymers control ltration by viscosifying the water phase to restrict uid ow through the
lter cake. Non ionic materials such as the starches, some anionic materials such as PAC and CMC, work
by hydrating and swelling and physically plugging pores in the lter cake.
shale stabilisation
Shale stabilisation is provided through polymer attachment to the positively charged sites on the edge
of clay particles in shales. This attachment minimises water invasion into the clay particle and reduces
hydration and dispersion. These polymers have been used with success in conjunction with salt and
potassium-based muds for added inhibition.
polymer limitations
Polymers have many advantages, particularly for formulating drilling uids from sea water or salt
saturated brine or for making highly inhibitive muds such as the KCl/PHPA systems. They do have
limitations however.
Rheological Characteristics
Linear polymers such as CMC, PAC, HEC , produce almost ideal power law uids with poor viscosities
at low shear rates and at, low gel strengths. Thus suspension properties are poor. Xanthan gum is
the exception and has good suspension characteristics. Note, however, that gels increase as the low
gravity solids build up.
Tolerance to Contaminants
Most polymers tolerate salt or KCl very well, but the anionic ones e.g. CMC or PAC can be precipitated
by calcium if the pH is high. Cement is the worst contaminant. Calcium values over 1000 mg/l (as in,
for example, gyp muds) can be tolerated if the pH is below 10. Polymer yields are higher in fresh water
than in saturated salt.
Temperature
The polysaccharides have relatively poor temperature stability max. BHT 250 - 300 F (121 149 C)
depending on grade). This can be increased by using stabilisers. The synthetic polymers can tolerate
much higher temperatures (350 F 500 F or 177 C - 260 C).
Bacteria
Starch, guar gum and Xanthan gum are quite easily attacked. The use of a biocide is recommended.
CMC and PAC are more resistant to attack.
Shear Degradation/ Absorption
Some polymers do undergo shear degradation and are absorbed onto cuttings and drill solids.
Consequently their viscosifying effects are reduced (but inhibition is increased). High molecular weight,
linear polymers such as PAC and PHPA are most susceptible.
Cost
Polymer muds are generally more expensive in terms of cost/bbl than bentonite muds. However, the
advantages obtained by their use (better hole stability, ROP etc.) will normally outweigh the extra cost.
hole problems
h
o
l
e

p
r
o
b
l
e
m
s
section 10
section 10a - shale instability
section 10b - stuck pipe
section 10c - lost circulation
section 10a
shale instability
fundamentals 2
causes of shale instability 4
consequences of shale instability 4
classifcation of troublesome shales 4
hydratable and dispersing shales 4
brittle shales 5
abnormally pressured shales 5
tectonically stressed shales 5
shale stabilisation with drilling fuids 6
oil base muds 6
water base muds 6
ionic inhibition 7
encapsulation 7
physical plugging 7
pore-pressure transmission 8
process for selecting suitable drilling fuid 10
drilling depleted reservoirs or weak shales 11
section 10a
Scomi Oiltools
2
Section
10ahole problems - shale instability
fundamentals
Wellbore instability as a consequence of shale formations is a problem encountered all over the world.
Despite much experience and considerable research, drilling and completion operations continue
to be troubled by hole problems attributable directly to shale formations. Solutions to shale
problems are not a simple matter owing to the variety and complexity of the clay chemistry involved.
Shales are sedimentary rocks, which were generally deposited in marine basins. They are composed
of compacted beds of muds, silts and clays. In the soft or unconsolidated shale, mud or clay
predominates, and in the more consolidated formation it is shale or argillite. At increased depth
the shales become denser due to the compaction caused by overburden weight. Shales may also be
subjected to tectonic stresses, producing further alteration.
Much attention is paid to the degree of hydration of shales, and with the cementing materials
holding the shales together. As compaction occurs water is squeezed out of the shale. The degree
of compaction is proportional to the depth of the burial, provided that the water is free to escape from
the shale. If the water does not escape from the shale, then the water supports a portion of the
overburden and the shale becomes pressured. If the water does escape the shale, the rock becomes
dehydrated.
Shale problems are a direct result of the way in which the shale reacts with the water from the
drilling uid. Hydration from water tends to reduce their strength. Strength loss increases borehole
instability. Younger sediments soften, swell and disperse when mixed with water. Older shales, usually
having undergone diagenesis, may remain hard and will not easily disperse into water.
However, of equal importance with hydration are the inclination of the bedding planes and the
stresses acting within or upon the shale formation.
Shales contain various clay minerals which differ structurally. The more common minerals are:
Montmorillonite.
Illite.
Chlorite.
Kaolinite.
Some of these clay minerals will hydrate while others will not. Shales containing montmorillonite
will hydrate the most readily.
There are two basic building units from which all the different clay minerals are constructed :
The Octahedral Layer
This consists of two sheets of closely packed hydroxoyl ions in which aluminium, iron or magnesium
ions are embedded.
hole problems - shale instability
3
The Tetrahedral unit
In each tetrahedral unit, a silicon atom is located in the centre of the tetrahedron, equidistant from
the four oxygen atoms. The OH groups may replace the oxygen atoms, if needed to electrically
balance the structure.
Silica
(tetrahedral)
Octahedral
Oxygens Hydroxyis Silicon Aluminium
The montmorillonite clay group has a high base exchange capacity, where one cation will replace
another which can increase or decrease the tendency of the shale to hydrate. The degree of hydration
is inuenced by the type of cation involved and the pH of the uid. Mass action by a high concentration
of salts will suppress the hydration of clays.
The basic structure of illite is similar to montmorillonite but it does not hydrate readily in fresh
water. Both are composed of two silica tetrahedral sheets and a central octahedral alumina sheet.
Illite, however, develops a charge deciency, negative charge, from the replacement of silicon by
aluminium on the surface of the silica sheet. This charge deciency is largely satised by potassium
ions which t into the surface oxygen layers. The diameter of the potassium ion allows it to t the
locations in the surface permitting very close association of the clay layers and aiding in resistance to
swelling.
Chlorite clay minerals, which are also composed of three layers, are similar to illite and do not
noticeably hydrate.
Kaolinite is somewhat different from montmorillonite, illite, or chlorite. The clay structure is composed
of two layers instead of three: a single silica tetrahedral sheet and an alumina octahedral sheet. There
is no charge deciency and the particles are electrically neutral. Kaolinite does not swell but will
readily disperse.
The hydrating-type shales containing montmorillonite are found at shallow depths and are often
referred to as gumbo shales. At greater depths their ability to hydrate decreases due to modication
of the internal lattice structure. They tend to become a more illitic or chloritic type of clay.
4
Section
10ahole problems - shale instability
causes of shale instability
Shale instability can result from any or a combination of the following factors.
1. Mechanical Forces
Erosion (variety in size and shape of cuttings)
Pressure differential (pressurised shales resulting in narrow pointed sharp shale splinters)
Pipe whip (small mixed shapes from different formations)
Surge and swab (results in lost circulation or large quantities of ll and debris)
2. Overburden Pressure
3. Pore Pressure
4. Tectonic Forces
5. Water Adsorption (hydration)
The time the hole is exposed to the drilling uid is very important. Since most instability problems are time
related, the less time spent drilling with potentially unstable formations open, the lower the possibility of
developing a stability problem.
consequences of shale instability
The following are the potential consequences of shale instability:

Hole enlargement
Hole cleaning problems
Stuck pipe
Bridges and ll on trips
Large uid volume and treating costs
Poor cement jobs and increased cement requirements
Well logging problems running tools
Poor data quality retrieval
Tight hole
Increased torque and drag
Decreased rate of penetration (bit balling)
classifcation of troublesome shales
Various classication schemes for problem shales have been proposed, but problem shales can be
broadly classied by their mechanism of failure: hydratable and dispersing shales, brittle shales,
pressured shales and stressed shales.
hydratable and dispersing shales
The process of hydration (swelling) and dispersion are related, although each is affected by the amount
and type of clays in the shale. Some shales will swell signicantly with little dispersion while for other
shales, the reverse is true.
Hydration results from two distinct mechanisms, surface hydration and osmotic hydration. Surface
hydration is a slight expansion between compacted clay particles by the addition of several molecular
layers of water on the clay particle surfaces. Osmotic hydration is primarily the expansion of the structure
of the clay particle caused by the adsorption of water between the clay platelets.
Dispersion is a continual and often rapid disintegration of the shale surface, and results when the
strength of the bonds between particles is reduced by the entrance of water.
Various clays react differently when exposed to water. As previously stated, the clays that are most
commonly found in shales are kaolinite, montmorillonite, illite, and chlorite. Montmorillonites are
highly dispersible, readily disintegrate, and hydratable. Illites are non-swelling in the pure form.
5
Due to leaching and weathering, however, the exchangeable cation, potassium, can be replaced
with other cations which may permit some swelling. The chlorite group contains orderly stacks of
alternate layers of different types of clays. Disintegration tendencies are high since the layering
reduces the number of strong bonds between particles. Non-uniform swelling causes high hydrational
stresses and weakens the structure.
brittle shales
Brittle shales appear quite rm and competent, but fall to pieces when placed in water. The pieces
do not soften or swell in the water. Instability of brittle shales can be caused by either of two
mechanisms. The shale can be weakened by hydration of micro fracture surfaces, and bedding
planes, parting within the shale structure. The second mechanism results when a small amount of
clay is surrounded by a completely non-swelling quartz and feldspar matrix. Even slight hydration of
the clays will cause high differential swelling pressure, and will make the formation unstable. Many
brittle shales have a high percentage of kaolinite. Kaolinite may become unstable in the presence
of a high pH environment.
abnormally pressured shales
Shales are abnormally pressured when a layer of low-permeability compacted clay develops adjacent
to a sand, restricting the ow from the remainder of the clay body. Thus, in a thick clay formation,
the rate of uid expulsion is not able to keep pace with the rate of compaction, and the pore
pressure increases above that normal for the depth of burial.
Any sand body, either interbedded or contiguous with the shale, will also be geopressured if it is
isolated from the surface either by pinchout or faulting. Abnormally high pressures may also be
found in initially normally pressured formations that have been elevated above deposition level
by tectonic forces, and surface layers then eroded. Isolated sand bodies within such formations will
then have high pore pressures relative to their depth below the surface.
tectonically stressed shales
Stressed shales occur in areas where diastrophic movement has occurred. This is the process by
which the earths crust is reshaped, producing continents, oceans, mountains, etc. The shales may
incline considerably from the horizontal, having steeply dipping bedding planes. Forces may be
acting upon the formation which, when relieved, cause the shale to fall into the hole. The problem
may be further aggravated if the bedding planes become wet with water or oil.
It is agreed that formation stresses induced by diastrophic movement make these shales vulnerable
to sloughing. It is also recognized that the natural material cementing these shales is relatively
weak. It may be amorphous silica, an aluminium or calcium silicate, or an organic material that is
sensitive to oil. There is evidence that chemical inhibition is helpful in minimising the problem,
but it is not the entire answer. There is also evidence that slightly higher mud densities can be helpful,
but it does not seem to be the entire answer.
To more effectively control these shales a way has to be found to seal the formation against uid
invasion. This is typically accomplished by carefully controlling the high pressure, high temperature
ltration properties of muds. The improvement can be signicant but still does not completely solve
the problem.
Blended organic compounds, containing an emulsier and a sulphonated blown asphalt or modied
gilsonites are materials used in plugging the micro-fractures in shale. This minimises uid contact
along the fractures, and when combined with other remedies will generally reduce the severity of the
problem.
6
Section
10ahole problems - shale instability
shale stabilisation with drilling fuids
oil base muds
The hydratable, dispersible, and brittle shales are all sensitive to water. Instability can be partially
eliminated by preventing the water in the drilling uid from contacting the shale. One solution is to use
an oil-based uid where water is emulsied in the continuous oil phase.
The interfacial lm surrounding the emulsied water droplets in an oil mud can act as a semi-permeable
membrane and provide a mechanism for osmosis. Osmosis is the ow of water from a less concentrated
salt solution into a more concentrated solution through a semi-permeable membrane. Water will migrate
from the oil mud into the shale when the salinity of the water phase of the oil mud is lower than the
salinity of the water phase of the shale. There is evidence that dehydration of the shale occurs when the
reverse is true. No migration occurs when the salinities are equal. This is the ideal scenario as it means no
alteration of the state of the shale.
Although maximum shale inhibition is realized with oil muds, their use in some wells may not be
considered practical because of other factors. These factors must be carefully evaluated in relation to the
severity of the shale instability problem.
Some of the disadvantages of oil base muds can:
Limit quality data acquisition
Affect cuttings analysis
Increase logistic burden
Require special preparation and maintenance programs
Be environmentally unacceptable
Ineffective in fractured shales
water base muds
Stability is generally obtained in water-based muds from:
Ionic inhibition
Encapsulation
Physical plugging
The degree of stability will not be as great as with the oil base muds, but properly treated and run water
muds can be successfully used for even the most troublesome shales.
From a drilling efciency standpoint, the most practical, semi-inhibitive water-based muds are classied
as low-solids, non-dispersed uids. Their stabilising characteristics are obtained partially from soluble
salts and partially from low concentrations of polymer additives. These uids exhibit good rheological
characteristics and generally promote high penetration rates. Proper solids control is a key to using these
uids in the eld. High drilled solids content will create rheological problems, reduce the penetration
rate, and increase the costs of the mud system and the well.
Each mechanism may work independently or in a synergistic manner with one or more of the other
mechanisms dependent upon the mineralogy presented by a specic rock sample
7
ionic inhibition
Ionic inhibition is effective in reducing the dispersion and hydration of clays, therefore reducing
the instability of shales containing swelling clays. The degree of hydration is dependent on the type
and concentration of the inhibiting ion, for example, montmorillonite will swell only to about three
times its original volume when placed in a saturated NaCl solution. The hydration is greatly reduced,
but not eliminated.
The common clays described earlier are all bonded by cations. These cations bond the platelets that
make up the clay structure and can greatly affect the degree of hydration of the shale. The cation
associated with montmorillonite is usually either Na
+
,as in bentonite, or Ca
++
, as in sub-bentonite.
Illites contain K
+
in the pure form, but Na
+
or Ca
++
may have replaced the K
+
through time.
Clays, when placed in water, develop a strong negative charge imbalance on the surface of the
platelets. Any cations in the solution will be oriented to satisfy the negative charges. If the concentration
of the cation in solution is sufciently high, a base exchange with the bonding cation of the clay
will take place. The various cations behave differently because of ionic size and hydrational energy.
Potassium and ammonium are proposed as the most inhibitive ions for use in a drilling uid.
Their diameters are both very close to the available distance of 2.8 between the three-layer
packets of montmorillonites and illites. Potassium and ammonium have the lowest hydrational
energies, smallest hydrated diameters. The low energies produce inter-layer dehydration and layer
collapse, and help in forming a compact, tightly held structure.
Potassium cations are expected to perform best as an inhibitive cation on shales having a large
percentage of illite. The potassium returns the illite to the pure form which is a non-swelling structure.
encapsulation
Encapsulation is a chemical and physical interaction with the clay surfaces. Long chain polymers,
such as partially hydrolysedpolyacrylamide, PHPA, are believed to wrap around the particles.
This aids in the control ofsurface hydration and reduces the tendency to disperse anddisintegrate.
physical plugging
In some of the brittle shales, ionic inhibition and encapsulation may not sufciently reduce shale
instability. Even slight hydration of micro-fractures will make the formations unstable. Asphaltenes
have been effectively used in the eld to seal micro-fractures. Their use must be coupled with
proper uid loss control to minimise ltrate invasion into the fractures. The materials that are purely
oil soluble appear to be the most desirable for treatment of brittle shales. The asphaltenes that are
water soluble tend to further disperse into the formation water and reduce the sealing effect.
Gilsonite is another mineral product used effectively to maximise shale stabilisation. It is thought
that these materials minimise shale sloughing by sealing off micro-fractures and pores in the
shales and limiting exposure of the shale surfaces due to a plating action on the wellbore. In the
most severe cases of brittle shales, not even the use of asphaltenes will prevent instability. The
only alternative is to try a balanced activity oil mud.
When shales with abnormal pressure are encountered they must be balanced by hydrostatic
pressure or they will become unstable and cause borehole problems. An indication of an overpressured
shale is long sharp concave/convex splinters coming from the shale shaker. The amount of cuttings
coming over the shaker is also increased. A directional hole will usually require a higher mud density
than a straight hole in the same area or eld.
8
Section
10ahole problems - shale instability
Tectonically stressed shales may also require a higher mud density to stabilise the borehole.
The amount and appearance of drill cuttings may or may not change. The drag and torque of the
drill string may be increased dramatically when geo-pressured shales are encountered without
sufcient mud density. Frequently, long sections of hole must be reamed when running the drill
string in hole after trips. The borehole can become elliptical due to stress and appear to be under
gauge. A good drilling practice is to raise the mud density prior to drilling sections of hole which
are tectonically stressed. This will usually allow a lower nal mud density to be run compared to a higher
nal density if the hole is allowed to deteriorate and remedial action is required.
pore-pressure transmission
One of the major mechanisms which can cause shale failure is a formation pressure increase in
combination with swab/surge pressures. In permeable formations such as sandstones, the pressure
differential between drilling uid and pore uid (overbalance) generates a lter-cake on the bore-
hole wall that acts as an impermeable membrane. The mud pressure differential will be exerted on
the lter cake and provide effective mud pressure support to the borehole wall.
Shales are normally considered non permeable, but in fact have limited permeability in the order of
10
-6
to 10
-12
Darcy. In shales no lter cake can be formed, because the permeability of shales is lower
that the permeability of the normal lter cake. Thus the drilling uid pressure is directly in contact
with the formation and will equalise with the pore-pressure around the well-bore. With time the
drilling uid pressure will gradually reach further into the formation. This slow mud pressure invasion is
referred to as pore pressure penetration.
A slow pore pressure increase will reduce effective mud support and increase the rock stress level
around the well-bore. Stress levels may then become so high that compressive rock failure will
occur. Swab pressures temporarily lower the effective mud support even further, bringing the shale
or claystone close to failure or causing actual failure resulting in cavings or borehole collapse. An
initially stable wellbore can become unstable with time due to pore pressure penetration in
combination with swab/surge pressures.
Mud overbalance
Pore pressure penetration
Naturally
pressured
rock zone
Mud
pressure
zone
Filtrate
invasion
zone
The invasion of ltrate elevates the in-situ pore pressure in an extended zone around the well
bore, i.e. as the wellbore pore pressure increases the net effective mud weight overbalance
decreases resulting in reduced bore hole pressure support. This can lead in time to the necessity
to increase the mud weight in order to stabilise the well bore.
The degree of pore pressure penetration depends on:-
the type of drilling mud.
type of shale (permeability).
amount of overbalance.
9
Capillary Effect
Neither water based muds nor oil based muds forms a solid lter cake in shale. Under normal
mud pressures shales are permeable to water based uids but completely impermeable to oil.
The stable behaviour of shales whilst drilling with oil based mud or synthetic uids is a result of
capillary action. When oil enters a shale it has to overcome a threshold pressure caused by the
capillary effect between oil and the pore uid. The capillary pressure is in the order of thousands
of psi and thus is generally too large to be overcome by the mud pressure differential. The threshold
pressure therefore acts as an alternative mud lter cake providing effective mud support to the
wellbore.
Oil/Synthetic Based mud
Water Based mud
Wellbore
pressure
Wellbore
pressure
Water Pore Pressure Water Water Pore Pressure
Capillary Action in oil/synthetic muds versus water based muds
A consequence of the above is that shale instability with oil and synthetic drilling uids is normally
caused by lack of mud support i.e. too low a mud density.
Cloud Point
In recent years TAME glycols (polyols) have been used successfully to control pore pressure
transmission in water base muds. The mechanism used by polyols to do this is clouding out.
The cloud point of a polyol is the temperature at which it starts to change between being water
soluble and water insoluble. On increasing the temperature of the uid, the polyol starts to come out
of solution and an otherwise clear liquid starts to become opaque and cloudy. The temperature at
which this occurs is usually very precise and is particular to each polyol type. Control of the cloud point
is crucial to the drilling uid and wellbore performance. Cloud point is also a function of the following
variables:
salinity of the solution.
type of electrolyte.
molecular weight and type.
concentration of polyol.
There have been many theories put forward to explain the shale inhibition mechanism; of these the
following mechanisms are believed to be the most conclusive:
10
Section
10ahole problems - shale instability
It has been suggested that the main function of the polyol is to compete with water molecules
for adsorption sites on the clay minerals present in shales. They also conclude that when KCl is present,
there is a good correlation between inhibition and adsorption of polyol. Strong adsorption still occurs
from distilled water and, although polyol intercalates are formed, they have a slightly higher basal
spacing and the resulting complexes are much less stable in water.
Other research has studied the effects of clouding polyols in aqueous solutions with varying
salinities. They conclude that the formation of an aggregation of hydrophobic molecular droplets
contribute to the lowering of both static and dynamic ltration, thus achieving a reduction in
pore pressure penetration of invasive uids. They also demonstrate that a relatively narrow
operating band exists for optimum benet from clouding polyols in Thermally Active Micro
Emulsion (TAME) type muds.
The ideal environment for TAME type muds to operate is when the mud temperature is below
the cloud point and the formation temperature is close to or above the cloud point. In these
cases, pore plugging will occur just inside the rock matrix as the material clouds out within
the hotter environment, sealing the formation against further ingress. At this point, surfactant
- polymer interactions will also be at their greatest as well as any complexation of surfactant
with monovalent ions in solution such as potassium. Optimum benet for long term borehole
stability should occur in this scenario.
process for selecting suitable drilling fuid
The following table details the processes that can be used to identify a suitable uid for drilling a
particular shale. It involves analysing the shale to characterise it and understand it. It then subjects
the shale to uids to quantify its reaction.
Process Detail Specic Method
Sample Sample collection.
Sourcing,
Preparation and Preparation of samples.
Characterisation
Description of samples -
Colour, hardness, texture
and UV response.
Physicochemical Analysis
Reactivity Quantication
Mineralogy by XRD.
Identication of exchangeable
cations.
Water content.
Activity.
Methylene blue index - cation
exchange capacity
Dielectric constant - surface
area
Capillary suction time
XRD
IC
Water Content
Activity
MBT
DCM
CST
Process Detail Specic Method
11

Swelling, Dispersiveness and
Hardness Testing
Stability Testing
Inhibition Testing
Solids Tolerance
Swelling potential.
Dispersion tests.
Hardness - Penetrometer tests
Pore pressure transmission.
Fluid compatibility testing
Quantication of effectiveness
of alternative strategies to
inhibit hydration, swelling,
disintegration and dispersion.
Solids contamination tests.
Accretion potential - Evaluate
anti-accretion (bit-balling)
strategies.
Shale Wafer Test
Dispersion by Dynamic
Ageing
Durometer or Elf
Penetrometer
PPT
Fluid Compatibility Testing
Solids Tolerance
Accretion Testing
Process Detail Specic Method
drilling depleted reservoirs or weak shales
Many of us were taught as mud engineers that hydrostatic pressure provided by a drilling uid must
exceed pore pressure in reservoir rock to prevent inux of uids and to provide wellbore stability. This
incomplete concept has been for many years more often than not accepted without question. However,
as wells are drilled deeper, often in deep water, or through depleted zones, loss of circulation due to
fracture induction has become an ever increasing problem. Fracture induction has been most often been
observed when drilling relatively impermeable shale with non-aqueous uids. Most mud engineers
have experienced mud losses to a shale followed by return of most or all of that same uid after the mud
density was reduced a small amount, sometimes less than 0.2 lb/gal.
The same phenomenon exists in more permeable, especially depleted, reservoir rock when drilling
with non-aqueous uids because NAF uids do not readily penetrate pores of producing sands due
to capillary effects. Producing sands, whether oil or gas producing, are generally water wet. The entry
of a non-aqueous uid to the permeable matrix of reservoir rock is opposed by hundreds of pounds
per square inch of capillary pressure. The NAF mud or mud ltrate simply cannot easily push aside
the water sealing a reservoir rock and readily enter the porous permeable matrix. Thus, the hydrostatic
pressure exerted by the mud column cannot leak to the reservoir when grain separation occurs as the
wellbore dilates with increased ECD.
Drilling uids, with sufciently high hydrostatic pressure, can exceed the horizontal stresses of rock
and cause dilation of the wellbore. The rock may be shale or reservoir sand. Dilation of the wellbore
is seen as a slight increase in diameter of the bore and grain separation around the circumference of
the hole. Depending upon rock and drilling uid properties and components a simple winged vertical
fracture can develop in the direction of highest principal stress, or a few to myriad smaller fractures can
develop radially all about the wellbore. As small fractures develop radially about the wellbore, they will
be seen to turn in the direction of the highest principal stress.
12
Section
10ahole problems - shale instability
These initial fractures are called proto-fractures or juvenile fractures by some operators. The initial
fractures are conned to the near-wellbore and do not initially penetrate far into the rock. Juvenile
fractures may penetrate to a depth usually assumed less than one hole diameter before they begin to
propagate due to entry of mud pressurized to the full hydrostatic head of the mud column. To drilling
engineers, the near wellbore can be said to be about one hole diameter (this can be confusing because
a production engineer may see the near wellbore as hundreds of meters depending upon reservoir and
production characteristics).
In a barite weighted fully formulated mud, circulating loss will not be observed until the proto-fracture
exceeds about 150 microns in width. This means that barite itself is a StressCage material. When
formation proto-fractures begin to form using a barite weighted mud:
the hoop stress of the rock increases; (term widely used by many engineers BP and Shell and others)
the fracture-closure stress increases; (term perhaps more typically used by Exxon and others)
the tangential stress of the rock increases; (term typically used by Schlumberger and others)
the formation becomes Stress Caged (BP trademark and patented concept)
A leakoff test using a barite weighted mud can yield a 200 - 400 psi increase over a clear uid. Barite is the
mud engineers primary LCM and primary Stress Cage(d) material. In reality, barite is the FINE LCM we
heard about in mud school.
Barite will allow for an increase in fracture width of up to about 150 microns for each fracture which
develops. More fractures indicate a higher potential increase in fracture closure stress and more
StressCage effect. However, at some point a fracture will exceed 150 - 175 microns and the whole mud
will be lost to the far-eld more than the depth of well-bore diameter. At this point a larger sized LCM
must be selected to further extend formation strength.
Work by BP, Exxon, Conoco-Phillips, Texas A&M University/Shell Bellaire Research has shown that hard
granular materials are the most effective materials for sealing and closing fractures which are beyond
the sealing capacity of API barite. Prototype materials tested and found to be effective in lab and eld
were ne grind hard nut hull, ground petroleum coke, and synthetic graphite. Calcium carbonate can
also be used but the higher specic gravity and bulk density and less textured surface make it less
effective at any given concentration. The most effective size was measured (Malvern and Coulter particle
size analyzers) to be about:
D
10
of about 100 microns
D
50
of about 300 microns
D
90
of about 600 microns
Material must be tough, hard, rough surfaced, with a net spheroidal symmetry for the highest
effectiveness. Use of platey and brous materials with high aspect ratio WILL NOT INCREASE THE
STRENGTH OF A FORMATION. Likewise, smoothly spherical materials such as un-ground petroleum
coke or synthetic graphite act more like proppants, cannot seal a fracture and DO NOT IMPROVE
FORMATION STRENGTH OR SEALING.
Spheroidal symmetry describes the cubic, tetrahedral, and other regular symmetries seen in synthetic
graphite, petroleum coke, ground nut hulls, and other efcient fracture sealants. Spherical describes
ball symmetry. These terms are not equivalent.
Rules for effectively increasing strength of shale:
NAF muds are often more likely to fracture sands and shales than WBM because of capillary effects.
Bridging material should be in the mud before the loss zone is encountered.
Bridging material must be maintained in the mud system while drilling and until casing is set
and cemented.
13
Bridging material does not enter the fracture unless fracture penetrates to the far-eld.
Maintain HTHP ltration below 2 ml or as low as possible. Some premium ne brous materials
may help reduce dynamic ltration; this should be evaluated by pilot test.
If mud penetrates to the far-eld any hoop stress or Stress Cage increase is lost.
Bridging material will wash off the fracture unless continuously replenished in the mud system.
Material must be continuously replenished at pump suction OR
Shakers can be bypassed; OR
Screen size of + 40 mesh can be installed.
Do your best to ELIMINATE FINE, MEDIUM and COARSE from your thinking. These terms are largely
bogus concepts which only apply if you know what sizes you are talking about. There are no API or
standard industry sizes associated with FINE, MEDIUM and COARSE.
In most circumstances! - the size we can call FINE as used in the Stress Cage business is that of API
barite. To increase the strength of shale beyond that provided by API barite, a material one size larger
is selected. That material has:
D
10
of about 100 microns
D
50
of about 300 microns
D
90
of about 600 microns
DO NOT USE ANY MATERIAL LARGER THAN 1 mm. It will not seal properly.
Do not invent or improvise with materials with unknown particle size. It is best to forget FINE, MEDIUM
and COARSE unless you know the screen or measured size of those particles.
Scomi Oiltools markets the following Stress Cage materials which can increase wellbore strength as
measured by increased LOT and FIT measurements.
calcium carbonate or marble with d50 of 250 - 350 microns when drilling with API barite weighted
mud.
HYDRO-SEAL G, resilient synthetic graphite standard and ne. The standard grind size should be
used while drilling; the ne material can be added while tripping or running pipe.
sized ground nut shell (typically walnut and pecan) as described in publications by Fred Dupriest of
ExxonMobil. This size is typically called FINE, but make certain the d50 is close to 300 - 400 microns
with no particles above about 1 - 1.2mm.
other wellbore stability issues
As mud weight is increased the near wellbore can be put in tension. Tensile failure in vertical wells has
been the major cause of mud losses since rotary drilling with weighted muds began. Tensile failures can
cause mud losses and sometimes hole collapse in rubble zones when stretched broken shale can no
longer support itself.
The problems can rapidly become worse as hole angle increases. As hole angle deviates from 90 the
horizontal stresses opposing uid hydraulic pressure become a complex product of angle, overburden
pressure, formation Poissons ratio, and pore pressure. Hoop stresses about the wellbore become
distorted from an easy to comprehend near circular stress eld to one that puts the wellbore in tensile
stress in one direction and in compression at a near right angle around the wellbore. This means the mud
engineer may observe splintery cuttings typical of an underbalanced well, chunky cavings from tensile
failure, and mud losses all at the same time.
14
Section
10ahole problems - shale instability
Geomechanics problems in high angle wells can be a difcult to resolve and may require special well
designs which consider formation dip and hole direction to minimize the effect of unstable rock. As a
mud engineer we should be aware of these issues. When rocks bend due to salt intrusion, strike-slip faults,
thrust faults; if bedding plains dip; or when drilling high angles holes through any of these conditions;
frustrating and seemingly unpredictable rock failure can occur. In many or most cases mud chemistry is
a minor contribution to the problem.
Many companies offer services which (more or less!) accurately predict wellbore stability based upon
poro-elastic measurements and assumptions, rock strength measurements, mud properties, and hole
angle and dimension.
xed fracture and micro-fractured shale considerations
As depth increases overburden pressure increases at typically more than 1 psi/foot. At most depths the
overburden load exceeds the compressive strength of the supporting rock. Pore pressure contributes to
matrix stress of the rock and the formation can support a higher load than the strength of the rock itself
if the rock remains conned.
15
For this reason, natural fractures in most sands and shales are closed and non-conductive. It should not
be assumed that massive losses occur to open natural fractures, especially as depth increases. Natural
fractures may open or new fractures may be induced by the hydrostatic pressure of the mud column if
that hydrostatic pressure exceeds the minimum horizontal stress of the rock. Fracture opening or facture
induction can be resolved with thoughtful application of LCM of optimised size, shape, surface roughness,
and hardness BEFORE THE LOSS ZONE IS DRILLED. If a fracture is sealed as it begins to open, the faces of
the fracture will not feel the full hydrostatic head of the mud column and the fracture will not extend with
massive losses to the far eld of the formation, sand or shale. It will be caged.
Likewise, fractured limestones and hard tight sands which can support the weight of the overburden
despite loss of connement may have fractures conductive to gas, oil, and occasionally barite weighted
drilling uid, but in most cases those fractures also can be sealed with the same materials discussed
above. Always use these recommended sizes and concentrations before responding with those
irrationally shaped and sized LCM that we mud engineers have promoted for 100 years. Mica and other
platey type materials have been shown again and again to be ineffective and usually increase rate of mud
loss. Spherical materials can become proppants and increase mud loss.
Losses to vuggy and karsty limestone and fractured basalts are exceptions. When drilling through vugs,
caverns, or large fractures, especially in metamorphic rock, other techniques should be employed, see
section 10c. lost circulation
section 10b
stuck pipe
mechanisms of pipe sticking problems 2
diferential sticking 2
mechanical sticking 2
formation related sticki 3
prevention of stuck pipe 3
diferential sticking 3
mechanical sticking 4
formation related sticking 5
methods of freeing pipe 5
diferential sticking 5
reducing the mud weight 6
mechanical sticking 8
formation related causes 9
NAF 11
stuck pipe decision tree 12
section 10b
Scomi Oiltools
2
Section
10bhole problems - stuck pipe
mechanisms of pipe sticking problems
The occurrence of stuck pipe can usually be attributed to one of three major mechanisms: -
Differential Sticking
Mechanical Sticking
Formation Related Sticking
diferential sticking
Differential sticking is caused by, a positive differential pressure and a permeable formation. The
chances of becoming differentially stuck under these circumstances are increased by poor ltration
control, thick lter cake and poor drilling practices.
Differential sticking can occur when, in a permeable
formation, the hydrostatic pressure exceeds formation
pressure. This results in the drill string, particularly the
BHA, becoming embedded in the lter cake and the force
to free the pipe becomes excessive. It is characterised
by the ability to circulate but the inability to rotate or move
the pipe either upwards or downwards.
Conditions contributing to the likelihood of differential
sticking are:
High formation permeability.
High positive differential pressure.
Hole angle.
Undergauge hole.
Poor mud ltration properties.
The relative geometry of the pipe and the wellbore.
Period of time the drill string remains immobile.
The degree of drill collar stabilization. Conguration of drill collars may also be important.
Poor particle size distribution in the mud leading to formation of a thick high permeability lter cake.
mechanical sticking
Mechanical sticking occurs for a variety of reasons including inefcient hole cleaning, key seating,
under gauge hole, junk, collapsed casing and well bore geometry. The actual cause is often difcult to
ascertain as it may be possible to move the pipe either up or down, it may be possible to rotate and it
may be possible to circulate.
A key seat is caused by the drill pipe cutting or wearing a slot into the side of the borehole. The drill
collars, being larger than the drill pipe, can become wedged into this slot and stuck. The drill string is
usually stuck while pulling out of the hole. The drill collars are pulled into the key seat and stuck.
hole problems - stuck pipe
Example of Differential Sticking
3
Mechanics of key seat sticking are:
The number and severity of dog-legs.
Length of time that the uncased section of the wellbore is left exposed, especially in terms of
rotating hours and number of trips.
The drillability of the formation.
The relative size between the drill pipe tool joints and the drill collars. Very large collars are less
likely to pull into a key-seat and become stuck than are collars that are just slightly larger than the
tool joint outside diameter.
Rapid transition from a formation that is prone to wash out to one that remains close to gauge,
or the reverse. The washed out section no longer provides support for the adjacent formation
and thereby concentrates the wall stress exerted by the drill pipe.
The drill string can become stuck when drill cuttings are not adequately removed from the hole.
This type of sticking is usually accompanied by loss or partial loss of circulation caused by packing off.
formation related sticking
Formation related sticking occurs as a direct result of the nature of the formation. Unconsolidated
formations may collapse, fractured formations may give rise to ledges, geopressured formations may
expand into the well bore and reactive formations may swell to restrict the annulus. Again determination
of the cause may not be immediately, or ever, possible.
prevention of stuck pipe
diferential sticking
Differential sticking is probably the most preventable cause of stuckpipe as contact area, mud density
and lter cake thickness are all controllable. The use of spiral collars will minimise the contact area and,
in the event of sticking occurring, a micro annulus is present to facilitate spotting of the pipe freeing
agent across the stuck point. The differential pressure into the formation can be minimised by
running mud weights at or just above formation pressure providing other open formations permit.
The lter cake thickness and cake permeability can be controlled by minimising uid loss and
ensuring good particle size distribution to provide a compressible lter cake with good lubricity
characteristics. Graded Calcium Carbonate exhibits a good particle size distribution and can be used
in formations where offset data indicates the possibility of differential sticking.
Example of Key Seating
4
Section
10bhole problems - stuck pipe
Differential sticking generally occurs when the drill-string remains stationary opposite a permeable
zone.
To minimise differential sticking:
Drill with mud density as low as practical.
Keep hole as straight as possible.
Keep solids content of mud as low as possible.
Use bridging particles, e.g. CaCO
3
Keep static drill string time to a minimum.
Use extreme pressure (EP) lubricants.
Avoid long strings of drill collars where the diameter is larger than 65% of the hole diameter and/or
Use stabilisers or spiral drill collars.
Use an non aqueous uid (NAF).
mechanical sticking
Mechanical sticking can be prevented by a combination of mud parameter control, especially
rheology relating to hole cleaning, and good drilling practices. Inefcient hole cleaning is a major cause
of mechanical sticking especially in the larger diameter holes where annular velocities are governed
by available pump output. Sufcient yield point and low shear rheology values will minimise the
build-up of cuttings in the annulus which may not be apparent until the pipe is tripped, when the
hole may pack off. It is imperative for this reason to ensure the hole is clean prior to tripping and that
rates of penetration are controlled to avoid the annular cuttings concentration exceeding 4%.
To minimise key seating:
Drill with a stiff bottom hole assembly which tends to minimize the chance of severe dog legs.
Use key-seat wipers properly positioned in the string.
To prevent pipe sticking due to debris or cuttings accumulation and swelling or plastic movement:
Maintain drilling uid properties capable of good hole cleaning and general wellbore stability.
For high-angle holes (>35), rigs should have top drives, three mud pumps, advanced solids
control systems and well-trained crews.
Maximize rotary drilling especially for high-angle holes (>35).
A rough guideline for ow rate is that it should be 60 times the hole diameter in inches for high-
angle holes and about 1/2 as much for low-angle holes (<35). Typical annular velocities range
from 120 ft/minute for low-angle wells to greater than 200 ft/minute high-angle wells.
Both low and high viscosity uids have provided good hole cleaning indrilling operations. The
suitability of a particular rheology mud can be checked using a hole cleaning design program.
This provides minimum operating ow rates and corresponding maximum ROP with ECD
predictions.
Use routine hole-cleaning prevention methods such as back reaming, drillpipe rotation and
reciprocation, and circulation with bit off bottom. This is especially important in wells with hole
angles between 45 and 75 where bed slumping is likely and before tripping out of hole.
formation related sticking
Formation related sticking because of the variety of causes is more difcult to predict and prevent
without offset data. Unconsolidated formations may require adjustment to rheology proles and/or
mud weights to stabilise the hole. Formations prone to ledging may require rheology adjustments
to prevent washout of the less competent interbedded strata and perhaps more care on trips to
prevent breaking off of the ledges.
5
Geopressured formations may require increased mud
weights to stabilise the hole provided other exposed
formations are not prone to lost circulation. Reactive
formations may require increased levels of inhibition
or increased mud weights to overcome hydrational
forces.
To minimise formation related sticking:
Use the lowest mud weight consistent with wellbore
stability considerations, lost circulation.
Ensure proper selection of casing points to minimise
exposure time of formations to drilling uids.
Maintain sufcient mud density in pressured zones.
methods of freeing pipe
diferential sticking
There are two mud related techniques used to attempt to free the pipe. The rst is to reduce
the hydrostatic pressure of the mud column. This can be achieved by lowering the mud
weight of the entire active mud system during conventional circulation or by introducing
lower density uids into the annulus. The second method can incorporate the use of
stuck pipe spotting uids (conventional oil based or environmentally safe types for WBM; surfactant
types for NAF).
Example of Formation Related Sticking
This type of sticking requires an immediate action as, under static conditions, the lter cake thickness
will increase with time. Preparations for either of the mud related freeing options must begin
immediately.
6
Section
10bhole problems - stuck pipe
reducing the mud weight
a) Reduction of the mud weight in the entire active water based system is best achieved with measured
even additions of water. Chemical additions should be made to maintain other properties,
particularly uid loss. Use can also be made of centrifuges to discard solids and reduce weight.
b) Introduction of lower density uids into the annulus is a fast way to reduce the hydrostatic pressures
responsible for the differential sticking, i.e. U tubing.
c) If well condition permit use of an unweighted spotting pill spotted across the stuck zone will also
reduce the hydrostatic pressure
Well control considerations and assessment of the effect of reduced hydrostatic head on formation
instability elsewhere in the wellbore is a prerequisite to either of the above actions.
Other non mud related methods of freeing differentially stuck pipe include:
Working or jarring loose, washing over, using a taper tap or overshot, shing tools, etc.
Application of a drill stem test (DST) tool. The pipe is backed off and a DST tool with open-ended drill
pipe below is screwed into the sh. When the DST tool is opened, differential pressure is relieved,
freeing the pipe. This method depends largely on having a section of hole above the sh where the
DST packer will seal properly.
stuck pipe spotting fuids
1) Conventional Base Fluid Pills - WBM application
In the event of differentially stuck pipe where a mud weight decrease proves ineffective or impractical,
a conventional stuck pipe spotting uid will be used. This should be formulated with base uid
and seawater then weighted 0.2 lb/gal (0.02 SG) above the active system mud weight with barite. The
exact process involved in freeing of stuck pipe by base uid/surfactant pills is not fully understood
but is believed to be related to capillary pressure of the base uid, compression of the lter cake
and reduction of surface tension between pipe and the lter cake. None of these processes are
instantaneous and consequently patience must be exercised when using spotting uids.
Important: Up to 12 hours may be required for the pipe freeing processes to reach equilibrium.
Placement Procedures
Determine position of stuck pipe by pipe stretch coefcients or free point logging tool.
Calculate volume requirement. In the vast majority of cases it is the BHA that is stuck. Sufcient
volume should be pumped to cover the BHA with a 50% excess.
Spot the uid around the pipe leaving sufcient volume in the drill string to allow small periodic
displacements (1 or 2 bbl (0.16 or 0.32 m
3
)) every hour for up to 12 hours.
Scomi Oiltools Environmentally Friendly Stuck Pipe Solutions
D-FUSE
Unique blend of surfactants and food grade parafns for unweighted spotting uid.
Can be mixed in all types of non aqueous base uids and glycols.
Add 3 - 4 gals (11.4 15.4 liters) of D-FUSE per bbl (m
3
) of base uid.
7
Mixing instructions:
1. Clean slug pit and mixing lines
2. Add base uid
3. Add required volume of BREAK-FREE
4. Add required volume of water
5. Add DRILL-BAR as required
2) Surfactant Type NAF application
Despite the inherent low sticking risk characteristics of NAF, differentially stuck pipe remains a
potential problem when using this type of uid. In the event that mud weight decrease proves
ineffectual or impractical in freeing differentially stuck pipe with NAF in use, then the spotting of
a surfactant type pill should be considered. As with the conventional base uid type pill in WBM
applications patience must be exercised to permit the pipe freeing process to reach equilibrium.
It should be noted that unlike spotting an base uid / surfactant pill in water based muds this
approach does not present a new uid type to the lter cake, merely an increase in the surfactant
concentration. The envisaged mechanism is that the increased oil wetting capability of the uid may
produce penetration between pipe and lter cake thus reducing contact area. This approach cannot
be expected to produce as high a success rate as an base uid / surfactant pill in WBM where physical
shrinking and cracking of the lter cake occurs.
Placement procedures are essentially the same as described for the conventional WBM type pills and
consideration must be given to weighting the uid spotted to keep it in place and prevent upward
migration away from the area of sticking.
BREAK-FREE
Blend of surfactants, emulsiers and an oil soluble water emulsiable polymer.
Used where a weighted pill is required.
Normal treatment level is 5 gal (18.9 liters) of BREAK-FREE per bbl (0.16 m
3
) of nished spotting uid.
Recommended Formulation - 100 bbl (16 m
3)
Density BREAK-FREE Base Fluid Water Barite
SG (lb/gal) (55 US gallon drums) (m
3
) (bbl) (m
3
) (bbl) 25 kg (55.1 lbs) sacks
0.96 8 9 10.18 64 4.29 27 69
1.20 10 9 9.22 58 4.13 26 254
1.44 12 9 8.59 54 3.50 22 456
1.68 14 9 8.11 51 3.34 21 636
1.92 16 9 7.79 49 1.75 11 846
2.16 18 9 7.00 44 1.59 10 1036
8
Section
10bhole problems - stuck pipe
The surfactant type spotting uid for NAF applications should be formulated as follows :
Formulation for 50 bbl 8 m
3
(unweighted) Surfactant Type Spotting Fluid
Base Fluid : 45 bbl (7.16 m
3
)
Secondary Emulsier : 3 drum, 55 US gallon, approx. 25 lb/bbl (71.3 kg/m
3
)
Oil Wetting Agent : 1 drum, 55 US gallon, approx. 8 lb/bbl (22.8 kg/m
3
)
If the uid is to be weighted then a conventional free pipe spotting agent - capable of suspension
of barite - may need to be used instead of the secondary emulsier shown above. Formulations
for this type of pill will be essentially the same as those detailed in WBM applications with increased
levels of oil wetting agent being added.
N.B., Formulation may change according to mud weight, emulsier and oil wetting agent brands on
the rig.
mechanical sticking
inefcient hole cleaning
Preventing Stuck Pipe
It is possible to become stuck due to hole pack off both while drilling and tripping. It is critical to
ensure that the hole is circulated clean before tripping. This should not just be a calculated bottoms
up. The high slip velocity of cuttings often results in cuttings bottoms up being considerably
longer than that calculated for the mud. While drilling, pump around selected sweeps to check if the
hole is being cleaned. Refer to good hole cleaning practices in Section 6a, Deviated Drilling, Hole
Cleaning, for recommendations.
Additionally, wiper trips can help to clean the hole by disturbing the cuttings beds and removing any
bridges which may have formed.
Freeing Pipe
Packing off and hole bridging normally permit only limited rotation with no pipe reciprocation
or circulation. It is necessary to break down the pack off by applying limited pump pressure and
rotation, then waiting for pressure bleed off. Once circulation is established, the pack off can be
cleared using normal pump rates. At this point the hole ought to be circulated clean, using an optimised
viscosity pill as required.
key seating, undergauge hole, junk, collapsed casing, cement related
There are no mud property controls for prevention of these causes of stuck pipe.
wellbore geometry
This type of stuck pipe can be caused by several factors unrelated to mud, but the mud needs to be
tailored to overcome any problems of hole instability and insufcient hole cleaning, and to produce
efcient hydraulics.
Preventing Stuck Pipe
There are no hard and fast rules for mud property control to prevent this type of stuck pipe. In deviated
well bores it is usually necessary to have a higher mud weight to maintain borehole stability than for
a vertical hole. The addition of lubricants to reduce drag and torque should also be considered.
9
When an undergauge bit/stabilizer is pulled out of the hole great care must be taken when running
a new full gauge bit into the undergauge hole.
Freeing Pipe
The main reasons for sticking due to wellbore geometry are prole and ledges. Any changes in the
mud will be dependent upon the reason for the stuck pipe. Additions of lubricants or an increase in mud
weight can in many cases, reduce torque and drag and also stabilise the wellbore.
formation related causes
unconsolidated formations
The most common effect of unconsolidated formations is bridging or packing off.
Preventing Stuck Pipe
In vertical holes use high viscosity sweeps as a matter of course while drilling unconsolidated
formations. Often there will be surges of solids and cuttings at the shakers which will cause screen
blinding, which must be prepared for. While drilling these formations it is advisable to clean the hole
after a trip before drilling ahead, as ll is often found on bottom.
Freeing Pipe
Circulation will normally be lost if the pipe becomes stuck due to the collapse of unconsolidated
formations. Circulation must be regained, while working the pipe downwards to disturb the bridge.
The pipe will come free once circulation is regained, but the hole must be cleaned prior to drilling ahead.
At this point consideration should be given to raising the mud weight which may stabilise the hole.
fractured/faulted formations
Some unconsolidated formations respond to stabilising agents such as asphalts and gilsonite.
Ultimately it may be necessary to cement the zone and redrill it.
This type of formation when drilled will often produce ledges at the fault or washouts across the
fractured zone.
Preventing Stuck Pipe
Hole cleaning will be a problem where washouts and ledges have formed as cuttings will
accumulate in the washed out sections. Prior to tripping it may be necessary to circulate well
beyond calculated bottoms up because of the reduced annular velocities. Furthermore, faulting
gives rise to the risk of lost circulation, so an increase in the mud weight to stabilise the wellbore may
not be possible. This will often make it necessary to ream the hole on the way in. Checking hole
condition during wiper trips at programmed depths is advisable.
Freeing Pipe
The cause of sticking in fractured/faulted formations will usually be due to an obstruction falling
into the wellbore causing pack-off. Working the pipe to break up the obstruction or the pack-off will
be necessary.
Where fractured limestone has caused stuck pipe consideration may be given to the use of an
inhibited hydrochloric acid pill which can dissolve the obstruction.
10
Section
10bhole problems - stuck pipe
geopressured formations
These are formations which are pressured due to loading pressures from the rock above and below.
The rock and its associated uids will require higher mud weights for stabilisation. The signs of the
geopressured formations are usually pressure cavings and tight hole.
Preventing Stuck Pipe
Action must be taken to stabilise the wellbore at the earliest opportunity, since the situation will
usually deteriorate with time. There may be problems with annulus overloading and cavings at
the shakers. A rise in the mud weight will be necessary, but can only be carried out if other exposed
formations can tolerate the increased hydrostatic. The mud must have been within specications
throughout the section in order for proper interpretation of the problem.
Freeing Pipe
The mechanism for stuck pipe to occur will be hole pack-off due to geopressured shale splintering
into the annulus. With circulation established, a rise in the mud weight must be considered and
rheological parameters must be adjusted to facilitate removal of larger than normal rock particles.
reactive formations
In some instances reactive formations may swell and reduce the annulus sufciently to grip the
pipe. Historically this has often been nominated as the cause of stuck pipe. Recent studies suggest
that in many of these cases stuck pipe may in fact have been due to inefcient hole cleaning in the
reactive clay sections where rapid ROP occurs.
Preventing Stuck Pipe
Select a suitably inhibitive drilling uid and mud weight. Reactive formations tend to deteriorate
with time, consequently casing schemes should be designed to set casing as soon as possible to case off
the clays.
Freeing Pipe
This will usually be achieved by mechanical methods i.e., jarring. Once free, increase inhibition levels
and consider mud weight increases.
mobile formations
Two types of rocks which are known to readily deform under pressure are plastic shales and salts.
In the stuck pipe situation rotation may often be possible but up and down movement is usually very
limited.
Example of Deformation under Pressure
11
Preventing Stuck Pipe
If these formations are known to be present a rise in the mud weight will almost always be necessary
prior to penetrating the formation.
Because the formations are mobile, wiper trips will be advantageous to establish the condition
of the hole. In some situations however, e.g., mobile salts such as the European Zechstein Salt,
prevention of salt movement is not possible by increasing the mud weight since the required
density would greatly exceed the fracture gradient/shoe strength. In these instances wiper trips
and the use of freshwater pills to dissolve the salt, and other mechanical aids such as eccentric bits
are the usual techniques applied to minimize stuck pipe problems.
Freeing Pipe Stuck in Salt Water Based Mud
1) Pump 50 bbl (8 m
3
) freshwater. Displace with mud until the drill collars/open hole annulus is displaced
to freshwater.
2) Stage the remaining volume of freshwater around the BHA in 5 bbl (0.8 m
3
) increments allowing 15
- 30 min between stages, while continually jarring on the pipe.
3) If the pipe is not free after displacing all the water into the annulus, circulate out the water at
maximum pump rates continuing to jar.
4) Repeat 1 - 3 above until pipe becomes free.
NAF
The advantage of using NAF muds is that they are more inhibitive which, in itself gives rise to more
stable hole conditions, lowering the risk of many well problems including stuck pipe. Stuck pipe
is less likely to occur when using NAF because they exhibit:
Extremely high levels of inhibition.
Good lubricating properties.
Low uid loss.
Thin lter cakes.
Ability to drill with lower mud weights for wellbore stability compared with WBM.
The fact that all surfaces are oil wet and that NAF muds generally produce thin lter cakes reduces
the possibility of differential sticking. It is, however, still possible to become differentially stuck if
excessive overbalance is used. In such cases spotting a surfactant type pill may prove benecial if
mud weight reductions are ineffectual or impractical.

12
Section
10bhole problems - stuck pipe
section 10c
lost circulation
introduction 2
defnition and classifcation 3
type of losses 3
severity of losses 4
prevention and control 5
minimise annular loading 5
good drilling fuid properties maintenance 5
minimise surge and swab pressures 6
ecd minimisation 6
surface equipment 6
downhole equipment 6
locate and identify loss zone 6
avoiding stuck pipe 7
water base muds vs. non aqueous fuids 9
lost circulation materials 7
lcm types 7
lcm in productive zones 8
permanent remedial treatments 8
bridging / sealing of porosity and fractures 8
losses into porosity 9
losses into natural fractures 9
losses into induced fractures 9
responding to losses 10
basic strategy 10
seepage losses (< 10 bbl/hr or 1.59 m
3
/hr) 10
partial losses (10 to 30 bbl/hr or 1.59 to 4.77 m
3
/hr) 11
Severe Losses (30 to 100 bbl/hr or 4.77 to 15.9 m
3
/hr) 12
total losses (>100 bbl/hr or 15.9 m
3
/hr) 13
gunk squeezes 15
gel/polymer gunk squeeze 15
reverse gunk squeeze for use in obm 16
decision tree to identify losses 18
section 10c
Scomi Oiltools
2
Section
10chole problems - lost circulation
introduction
Lost circulation is one of the most common and potentially one of the most expensive problems
encountered in a drilling operation. In the best case results are often additional operating time
and increased mud and operating costs, in the worst case results are often blowouts and lost hole.
Lost circulation adversely affects the overall drilling operation by:
The loss of hydrostatic head that may result in a well-control situation.
The reduction in the pressure gradient may lead to wellbore stability, which could result in hole
collapse and/or stuck pipe.
Side tracks or complete loss of the well.
Failure to achieve adequate annular cement coverage.
Good quality formation evaluation may not be possible.
hole problems - lost circulation
Lost Circulation Cost Impact
Drilling Cementing Completion/Work-over
Loss of mud Reduced annular Loss of completion
coverage uid
Lost time Casing corrosion Lost time
Poor cement job Poor zonal isolation Formation damage
Reduced safety Reduced safety Reduced safety
Stuck in hole Lost reserves
Wasted casing string Loss of well
Failure to reach
target TD
Blow out and kill
operations
Downhole blowouts
Environmental
incident
Whenever loss circulation is anticipated a lost circulation contingency plan should be put in place.
This will ensure that, when losses are encountered, the appropriate treatments are executed
competently and methodically. In this manner the time and costs associated with losses can be
controlled.
The Lost Circulation Contingency Plan should set out response guidelines by:
Dening and classifying the type and severity of losses
Selecting the most appropriate material available
Applying the most effective responses and treatments (LCM pill selection)
Analysing the success of the treatments
It must be emphasised that losses, like any other problem on the rig, should be approached
methodically. Each sequential action should be discussed, planned and then executed. All relevant
data should be documented so that a database can be compiled which will help to analyse and rene
the current responses and treatments.
3
defnition and classifcation
Losses can simply be dened as the loss of whole mud to the formation. For this to occur both of
the following conditions must exist:
The dynamic or static pressure exerted by the total mud column exceeds the total formation
pore pressure and or fracture gradient.
The porosity and permeability of the formation is such that whole mud is lost to the formation
thus preventing the sealing effect of the lter cake.
Lost circulation of differing intensity can occur at any depth in various formations. In order to precisely
and accurately dene the situation on the rig the type and volume of losses must be identied and
classied. Therefore, in the vast majority of cases, it should be possible to identify, classify, treat and
report losses using the format set out in this lost circulation contingency plan.
The type of losses can generally be classed as one of the following:
Naturally occurring losses
Mechanically induced losses
The severity of losses can arbitrarily be classed as one of the following:
Type of losses Dynamic Losses Dynamic Losses
bbl/hr m
3
/hr
Seepage losses < 10 < 1.59
Partial losses 10 30 1.59 4.77
Severe losses 30 100 4.77 15.9
Total losses > 100 > 15.9
type of losses
naturally occurring losses
Naturally occurring losses can be dened as losses resulting from some aspect of the formation being
drilled. Losses are common in various formations such as:
Unconsolidated formations which include sand and gravel.
Permeable formations such as poorly cemented sandstone.
Cavernous and vugular formations which include gravel, limestone and dolomite.
Natural fractures or ssures which can occur at all depths in all formations. Losses increase in
older, harder more consolidated formations with depth. It is common to encounter fractures near
faults and areas exposed to tectonic stress. Voids and fractures can generally be recognised by a
change in the drilling parameters and when this occurs losses can be expected.
Commonly, when losses occur whilst drilling these formations, they will increase proportionally with
depth as more of the formation is exposed. Invariably LCM treatment of some degree, and associated
lost time, is required to minimise or cure these losses.
mechanically induced losses
Mechanically induced losses can be dened as losses resulting from some aspect directly related
to the drilling operation. Losses are caused by overpressuring and fracturing the formation which,
once fractured, will easily re-fracture with l over pressure. The most common causes of mechanically
induced losses are:
4
Section
10chole problems - lost circulation
High hydrostatic pressure resulting from an excessive mud weight.
High hydrostatic pressure resulting from an excessive annular cuttings load.
High hydrostatic pressure resulting from an excessive ECD.
High surge pressure resulting from an excessive drillstring or casing running speed.
High downhole pressure resulting from a restricted annulus.
Commonly, when losses are induced, they can be minimised or cured by altering the drilling or operational
parameters without resort to a loss circulation treatment.
severity of losses
seepage losses
Seepage losses are arbitrarily dened to as dynamic losses of up to 10 bbl (1.59 m
3
) per hour when
circulating at the minimum pump rate used for drilling. Static losses are generally not associated with
this classication. Commonly, initial seepage losses will be minimal and will increase with drilling as
more of the specic formation is exposed. Losses of this severity are commonly encountered in
porous sands and fractured formations. The type of loss, naturally occurring or mechanically induced,
can usually be resolved by suspending drilling, circulating the hole clean and observing the losses
whilst varying the pump rate and pressure. It is not uncommon for seepage losses to self heal with time
as cuttings bridge the pore throats or microfractures.
partial losses
Partial losses are arbitrarily dened as dynamic losses of 10 30 bbl (1.59 4.77 m
3
) per hour when
circulating at the minimum pump rate used for drilling. Static losses are sometimes associated with
this classication. Losses of this severity are commonly encountered in unconsolidated formations,
vugular carbonates and fractured formations. The type of loss, naturally occurring or mechanically
induced, can usually be resolved by suspending drilling, circulating the hole clean and observing the
losses whilst varying the pump rate and pressure.
severe losses
Severe losses are arbitrarily dened as dynamic losses of more than 30 - 100 bbl (4.77 15.9 m
3
) per hour
when circulating at the minimum pump rate used for drilling. Static losses are generally associated with
this classication. Commonly, severe losses are instantaneous as uid is lost to a void, the initial volume
lost can range from tens to hundreds of barrels after which the losses may moderate or cease. Losses of
this severity are commonly encountered in vugular carbonates and fractured formations. The type of loss
can be assumed to be naturally occurring.
total losses
Total losses are arbitrarily dened as a total absence of returns when circulating at the minimum
pump rate used for drilling. Static losses are also very high which necessitates new mud volume
with which to maintain a full annulus. Commonly, it is often difcult, if not impossible, to mix new
mud volume at the rate required to maintain a full annulus with high static losses, such a situation
may result in a well control situation as the mud column and resultant hydrostatic pressure is
diminished. Losses of this severity are commonly encountered in vugular carbonates and fractured
formations. The type of loss can assumed to be naturally occurring.
5
prevention and control
Outlined below are general rules of thumb to help cure and prevent losses:
Geology, rock type and drilling uid control the location and severity of most mud losses. Ask the
rig, geologist about the rock types.
If the loss zone occurs within highly soluble rock (evaporites such as salt), cure the loss immediately,
even if at present it is not causing operational problems. Otherwise, it will only become worse if
expecting heavy losses, use as large a bit nozzle as possible.
First signs of downhole losses will be reduced mud return ow. A good drilling practice when
rst encountering losses is to pull off bottom immediately, reduce owrate to 100 gpm, continue
to rotate string to avoid packing off of cuttings around BHA as the annulus falls and KEEP PIPE
MOVING. Pump initial LCM pill as soon as possible.
The shape of the mud loggers pit level trace often enables the type of loss zone to be diagnosed,
allowing the correct remedial measures to be made.
For a mud possessing good uid loss control, major whole mud losses will not occur through the
matrix pores at permeabilities below 10 darcy.
If possible, try curing losses caused by induced fractures immediately by reducing the ECD.
If in doubt about the type of loss zone, rst use a ne LCM and then progressively increase particle
size, while maintaining, a wide distribution.
Too high a concentration of LCM can cause problems (thick lter cake and packing off), and generally
does not improve bridging. Instead for problematic zones, increase the viscosity of the pill.
If possible, displace the pill slowly at approximately 200 gpm.
If severe losses are anticipated run a circulating sub in the drill string. This will permit high
concentrations of LCM material, including coarse material, to be pumped without risk of plugging bit
or downhole tools.
If losses are expected, premix a suitable LCM pill, designed for the type of losses expected, and
store it in reserve. As soon as losses occur the LCM pill will then be ready to be pumped immediately,
minimising impact on the operation critical path.
The following potential causes and general measures can be taken to prevent losses from occurring.
The applicability will be dependent on well design and may not be possible in all cases.
minimise annular loading
An increase in annular drilling uid weight due to drilled cuttings can break down the formation,
particularly in surface holes. The effective increase in annular drilling uid weight must be calculated
and taken into account. Controlled drilling may be required.
good drilling fuid properties maintenance
Efcient solids control packages allow the drilling uid properties to be closely controlled.
The density should be kept as low as possible to give a satisfactory overbalance. The overbalance
required for wellbore stability is higher in a highly deviated well compared to a vertical well.
Maintain gel strengths, yield point and 6 rpm reading at lowest levels that will effectively clean
the hole. High viscosities can increase the ECD to a level that will break down the formation while
circulating.
Maintain low MBT levels.
Keep uid loss low to prevent excessive lter cake build up.
6
Section
10chole problems - lost circulation
minimise surge and swab pressures
Use computer hydraulic modelling for determining trip velocity and acceleration schedule.
If uid density or the surge pressures are close to formation fracture pressure then, while tripping
in, break circulation at the shoe and approximately every 1000 ft (305 m) in open hole. Circulate for
at least 5 minutes.
Bring the pumps up slowly after connections.
Rotate the pipe before turning on the pumps.
While tripping out, pump out for the rst few stands/single off bottom.
Keep tripping speeds slow across areas of potential lost circulation.
Surge pressures calculations should be performed and the driller instructed as to the maximum
allowable speed for running the pipe.
Consider the use of lubricants to reduce drag.
Consider the use of sweeps to clear the cuttings from wellbore prior to POOH to run the casing.
ecd minimisation
Use computer modelling software to calculate equivalent circulating density.
Reduce restrictions in the annulus by minimising lter cake build-up. This can be done by utilising
high quality uid loss additives and maintaining low drill solids content.
Keep hydraulics at the minimum level required to clean the hole.
Control ROP to avoid loading the annulus.
surface equipment
Remove pump strainers.
Line up surface piping so at least one mud pump can be rapidly switched to water or seawater.
Test all surface equipment in advance. The normal procedure would be to check for leaks in the
surface equipment before assuming losses downhole.
Ensure that no unnecessary drilling uid transfers, additions, or dilutions are carried out while
drilling proceeds toward or in a loss zone.
downhole equipment
As a general rule LCM particles should be less than a third of the nozzle size.
Remove bit nozzles if large losses are expected.
Use a circulating sub to pump high concentrations of LCM, including coarse LCM, to avoid
plugging jets or downhole tools. It is important to use a ball made of high density material, relative
to mud density, as this ensures it will sink. A circulating sub is less likely to function, open and
close, the higher the inclination.
Avoid running tools with limited ow paths or restrictions where possible. This includes core
barrels, MWD, mud motors, oats and survey rings.
If possible, avoid running drill pipe casing protectors as these can swell and act like a packer.
Ideally losses should be dealt with as soon as they occur. It is possible to ahead with losses so
long as there is adequate surface volume to sustain it. However, care must be taken if there is the
possibility of penetrating a higher pressure zone as an underground blowout may result.
If losses are anticipated a LCM pill should be prepared in advance and stored in an agitated pit.
Usually a 100 bbl (15.9 m
3
) pill is adequate. Treat the pill with biocide if it contains organic matter.
Prepare a large volume of reserve mud.
locate and identify loss zone
If losses rst occur while drilling ahead, or are accompanied by a change in torque or a drilling break,
the losses are likely to be on bottom.
If losses occur while tripping or increasing uid weight, the losses may be off bottom. If necessary,
a temperature or spinner survey can be run.
7
avoiding stuck pipe
When losses occur, cuttings will settle out around the BHA and may mechanically stick the pipe.
The cuttings will act as a packer and exacerbate losses below them. Always keep the pipe moving.
Where possible, pull to the shoe before attempting a treatment. As a rule, have enough open hole
volume below the bit to accommodate the whole treatment.
Reactive clays overlaying the loss formation are likely to become unstable if exposed to uninhibited
uids.
As loss zones may be at low pressure beware of differential sticking.
water base muds vs. non aqueous fuids
The incidents of induced fracturing is the same for both WBM and NAF since the fracture initiation
pressure is the same for both uid types. NAF, however, may have a higher density / ECD downhole
than WBM of equal surface density due to the effects of base uid compressibility. In addition, NAF
losses are much harder to control owing to the following reasons :
Fracture propagation pressure is lower with conventional NAF
Formation fracture generated during LOT may be easily re-opened and extended
Losses are easier to control with WBM because these screen-out in the fracture tip. A pressure
gradient is generated across the lter plug generated in the fracture, preventing transmission of the
mud pressure to the fracture tip that may extend the fracture. NAF do not form solid plugs in fractures.
They generally have very low leak-off and form very effective internal lter cakes, such that the induced
fracture is usually lled with emulsied water and base oil. There is therefore effective communication
with the fracture tip which will results in propagation of the fracture.
The following recommendations are made to minimise LC problems with NAF :
Relax on ltration and generate an external lter cake, if consistent with balancing differential
pressures; use 100:0 oil/water ratio i.e. all oil if possible, mainly applicable to reservoirs.
Add bres/particles of appropriate size to increase fracture propagation pressures.
lost circulation materials
lcm types
Commercially available LCM products encompass a wide array of materials. Moreover, if it can be
pumped down a well, it probably has been at one time or another. Particle shapes are granular, ake
or brous at sizes denoted as ne (typically 20 - 60 mesh), medium (16 - 60 mesh) and coarse (16 -
30 mesh) :
(a) Granular LCM - nutshells, calcium carbonate, sized salt, hard rubber, asphalt, gilsonite, plastic.
(b) Flake-shaped LCM - mica, cellulose, cottonseed hulls, wood chips, laminated plastic, graphite,
calcium carbonate.
(c) Fibre-shaped LCM - cellulose bres, saw dust, shredded paper, hay, rice husks.
(d) Commercial Blends - Blends of two or three different materials, meant to cover a range of sizes
and shapes, e.g. combining granular, brous and aked in one sack.
Treatments in an active system should typically be at 5 - 20 lb/bbl (14.3 57.1 kg/m
3
), with the choice
of using a single size and shape, combination of shapes and sizes or commercial blends. Pill
treatments are typically at 25 50 lb/bbl (71.3 142.7 kg/m
3
) of LCM in slugs of 50 100 bbl (7.95 15.9
m
3
).
8
Section
10chole problems - lost circulation
lcm in productive zones
When the loss zone is in or close to a potential production horizon, the use and subsequent removal
of LCM by acid or other alternatives could result in formation damage. Therefore, the selection of
suitable LCM is critical, particularly if open hole completions are planned, perhaps involving open
hole gravel pack placements or sand control screens. In these cases it is best to incorporate LCM that
has a proven history and can be removed by downhole treatments such as acid and hypochlorite
treatments.
Calcium carbonate can be subsequently removed using acid, typically 15% HCl.
Cellulose bres can also be used, with caution. While only about 40% soluble in acid, the bres
can usually be oxidised and removed by a 2% to 5% hypochlorite solution at high pH. It is
recommended to conrm removal by lab work prior to use in the eld.
Sized salt particles, e.g. NaCl can be used in saturated salt uids. The salt can be dissolved using
water or dilute brine.
Oil-soluble resins. Crude oil or condensate can in theory dissolve the resin when the well is
brought on production, or treatments with diesel can be applied. This type of treatment requires
some careful pre-planning and laboratory testing to ensure viability.
Note: Productive formations or injection zones usually use a drilling uid specically designed to
prevent formation damage, often referred to as a Drill-In Fluid. These uids may already
incorporate one or more of the aforementioned materials to minimise uid invasion and
formation damage.
permanent remedial treatments
Various methods can be applied to more permanently isolate formations and heal lost circulation :
Soft plugs i.e. cross linked polymers, silicate gels, oil/bentonite mixtures and gunk.
High Fluid Loss Pills - i.e. EZ-SQUEEZE , salt gel slurries.
Hard Plugs - i.e. cement or cement added to soft plug materials, temperature activated resins that
react in place.
bridging / sealing of porosity and fractures
When lost circulation occurs, rst determine the nature of the loss zone. Is the zone of high porosity
or is it likely that fractures have been induced? Use formation and pressure information from:
on-site geologists, mud loggers.
relevant MWD logs (e.g. Gamma Ray, sonic).
Downhole ECD tools, downhole pressure gauges or surface gauges (pay attention to the fact
that compressibility may affect the downhole EMW/ECD of oil base muds).
Next, devise a suitable response. If this response requires LCM to be pumped, than the material
should be sized according to the type and size of the opening to which the losses occur. It should
also take into consideration any downhole restrictions that the LCM must pass through, e.g. bit jets,
downhole tools. Not all materials will work automatically, a successful remedial job requiring two
stages, bridging and subsequent sealing of the loss zone.
Bridging Guidelines
For parallel slots/fractures - particles of
1
/
2
the width of the slot size are required.
For round openings - particles of 1/3 the diameter of the opening are required.
9
Sealing Guidelines
Sealing requires bridging rst.
After bridging, the sealing material will ll in the gaps between the bridging material. The
gradation of sealing particle sizes lies below that of the bridging particle size.
No seal will be formed if all particles are too large or if there are not enough small particles to
bridge.
Note that an internal seal may also be formed. This could give problems in the clean-up phase when
production zones are drilled.
losses into porosity
High porosity loss zones are characterised by pore throats that are large enough to allow the passage
of all mud solids, e.g. drill solids and barite. The average particle size for barite is around 15 microns,
so pores must be on the order of 45 microns, assuming a 1/3 rule for plugging, equivalent to a
sandstone permeability of about 2000 mD.
Start with mud carrying a base concentration, 5 15 lb/bbl (14.3 42.8 kg/m
3
) of ne lost circulation
material. When losses are noticed and do not quickly self heal, add progressively larger particles to
mud. Use cellulosic bres and/or granular materials, typically at 5 lb/bbl (14.3 kg/m
3
) that do not interfere
with shaker screens or that alter rheology.
Pump pills/sweeps of mud treated with higher concentrations, 50 100 bbl (7.95 15.9 m
3
) of larger
particles if these cannot be carried in the active system. Repeat pumping after a specic footage e.g.
50 - 100 ft (15 30 m) has been drilled.
losses into natural fractures
Naturally fractured formations are characterised by in-situ fractures that must be large enough to
allow the passage of all mud solids e.g. drill solids and barite. The average particle size for barite is
around 15 microns, so fractures must be at least 30 microns or larger. The fracture width can be
increased by increasing the mud density, therefore opening and further propagating the fracture.
Start with mud carrying a base concentration, 5 15 lb/bbl (14.3 42.8 kg/m
3
) of ne lost circulation
material. When losses are noticed and do not quickly self heal, add progressively larger particles to
mud. Use cellulosic bres and/or granular materials, typically at 5 lb/bbl (14.3 kg/m
3
) that do not interfere
with shaker screens or that alter rheology.
Pump pills/sweeps of mud treated with higher concentrations, 50 100 bbl (7.95 15.9 m
3
) of larger
particles if these cannot be carried in the active system. Repeat pumping after a specic footage e.g.
50 100 ft (15 30 m) has been drilled.
losses into induced fractures
To minimise exposure to induced losses, practice the following :
(a) Use proper technique for running LOT to asses fracture gradients and in-situ minimum horizontal
stress.
(b) Keep mud density / ECD below fracture initiation, or fracturing reopening, pressure.
(c) Keep rheological properties to a manageable minimum:
Minimise ECD and surge pressures
Monitor downhole pressure with ECD tools or downhole pressure gauges
Ensure the rheology, 6 rpm reading, is adequate to prevent sag of the weighting material
10
Section
10chole problems - lost circulation
When fractures are induced and propagated, reduce mud density below fracture gradient. This,
however, may not be possible when other formations are exposed such as over pressurised
zones or weak formations, e.g. shales which require high mud overbalance for stability, or when the
margins between pore-pressure and fracture gradient are low. Remedial treatments are essentially
similar to the remediation of natural fractures.
responding to losses
basic strategy
1. Maintain lowest possible equivalent circulating density (ECD) for conditions. Hole size, angle, and
drilling uid density requirements affect the ability to use one or more of the following to optimise
ECD as low as possible.
Reduce plastic viscosity and yield point of drilling uid. Plastic viscosity may be difcult to reduce
depending upon drilling uid weight. Minimise yield point while maintaining hole cleaning
ability.
Reduce ow rate; use computer modelling to calculate requirements for hole cleaning.
Reduce rotating rate, rpm. Maximum of 100 rpm, 80 - 90 recommended.
2. Use ECD effects to simulate weight up while drilling and circulating.
3. Pre-treat drilling uid system prior to entering the depleted, potential loss, zone.
Equipment Requirements and Limitations
1. Use of motors to drill generally precludes pre-treatment of the drilling uid with loss circulation
material, LCM.
2. Use of measurement while drilling, MWD, tools in the drill string can limit the type and amount of
LCM used in the drilling uid system or pills that may be spotted to heal loss zones. Check
specication of the tools to be used to determine feasibility of pumping LCM-containing drilling uid
through them.
3. Use of a circulating sub in the drilling string above MWD or motors may provide exibility to spot or
circulate LCM treated pills in cases where severe losses are possible.
4. Bit Jets: 16 or larger preferred, 14 minimum.
5. Shaker screens: 20 - 40 mesh.
seepage losses < 10 bbl/hr (1.59 m
3
)
Non Productive Zones:
1. Firstly, decide if the loss rate is acceptable/sustainable. At low loss rates and with inexpensive
mud it may be OK to drill ahead without treatment.
2. If the losses are thought to be induced, reduce ECD, ow rate, viscosity and ROP, and consider a
mud weight reduction. Ensure hole cleaning is maintained. If these approaches are successful
this conrms the losses were induced. Drill ahead - LCM treatment may not be required.
3. If losses continue, drill ahead and add 5 -10 sacks per hour medium LCM to suction pit. Calcium
carbonate is recommended, or it may be substituted with other medium grade LCM. If the mud
does not contain nes, add 2 sacks/hr ne LCM in addition to the medium grade until the nes
build in the system.
4. If seepage continues, increase LCM particle size and quantity, and consider different blends of
materials. e.g. mix 10 sacks per hour of a combination of medium bre and medium calcium
carbonate.
5. Check that mud weight and viscosity restrictions are not being exceeded. Monitor shaker screens
for blinding.
11
6. If the seepage continues and is unacceptable, locate the loss zone and spot minimum 50 bbl (8 m
3
)
pill and pull up
20 lb/bbl (57.1 kg/m
3
) medium grade calcium carbonate
20 lb/bbl (57.1 kg/m
3
) medium grade bre or ake
10 lb/bbl (28.53 kg/m
3
) ne grade calcium carbonate
If the loss zone cannot be located change shaker screens to larger mesh size and treat entire
system with 15 - 25 lb/bbl (42.8 71.3 kg/m
3
) medium/ne LCM blend in ratio 2:1 medium to ne.
Productive Zones
1. If the losses are suspected to be induced, reduce ECD, ow rate, viscosity, and ROP, and consider
a mud weight reduction. Ensure hole cleaning/well bore stability is maintained otherwise pack-off
could occur. If these approaches are successful this conrms the losses were induced. Drill ahead.
LCM treatment may not be required.
2. If losses continue, drill ahead and add 5 - 10 sacks per hour medium LCM to suction pit.
Calcium carbonate must be used unless other materials have been approved for use in the
production zone, such as certain cellulose bres. If the mud does not contain nes, add 2 sacks/
hr ne calcium carbonate in addition to the medium grade until the nes build in the system.
3. Check that mud weight and viscosity restrictions are not being exceeded. Monitor shaker screens
for blinding.
4. If the seepage continues, locate the loss zone and spot minimum 50 bbl (8 m
3
) pill, made using active
mud, and pull up and wait 2 4 hours. Pill should contain 30 50 lb/bbl (85.6 142.7 kg/m
3
) calcium
carbonate or other approved LCM blend:
20 lb/bbl (57.1 kg/m
3
) medium grade calcium carbonate.
20 lb/bbl (57.1 kg/m
3
) medium grade approved cellulose bre.
10 lb/bbl (28.5 kg/m
3
) ne grade calcium carbonate.
Alternatively, if the loss zone has not been located change shaker screens to larger mesh size and
treat entire system with 15 - 25 lb/bbl (42.8 71.3 kg/m
3
) of medium/ne calcium carbonate blend in
ratio 2:1 medium to ne.
partial losses 10 to 30 bbl/hr (1.59 4.77 m
3
/hr)
Non Productive Zones:
1. Consider reducing mud weight and ECD, if possible. Drill slower, reduce circulation rate and
rheology, ensure adequate hole cleaning and maintain well bore stability, trip in hole slower,
break circulation while rotating and working pipe, etc. Evaluate and eliminate any annular
restrictions which may be causing an imposed annular pressure, such as balling of bit / BHA, mud
rings, cuttings beds, etc. These actions may cure the problem if the losses are induced.
2. Drill ahead but consider treating entire system with 15 25 lb/bbl (42.8 71.3 kg/m
3
) medium LCM.
If the mud contains very few ne solids, add 5 lb/bbl (14.3 kg/m
3
) ne grade LCM initially as well,
until the larger LCM starts to grind down and produce the smaller particles. Check shaker screens for
blinding.
3. If losses continue and loss zone identied, spot 50 -100 bbl (7.95 15.9 m
3
) coarse LCM pill and pull
up and wait 2 - 4 hours. Pill should be mixed using active mud containing:

30 lb/bbl (85.6 kg/m
3
) coarse LCM (e.g. calcium carbonate, bre, or nut shells).
20 lb/bbl (57.1 kg/m
3
) medium LCM.
5 lb/bbl (14.3 kg/m
3
) ne LCM.
Note: Be sure bit nozzles and any MWD equipment are large enough to allow larger LCM to pass
without plugging. Use circulating ports in the drill string.
12
Section
10chole problems - lost circulation
4. If partial losses continue, repeat pill procedure, spotting larger volume pill. Drill ahead and
add 5 10 sacks/hr medium LCM to maintain sealing capability of the mud. Check bit nozzles/
MWD can handle the LCM and that shaker screens are not blinding.
Productive Zones:
1. Consider reducing mud weight and ECD, if possible. Drill slower, reduce circulation rate and
rheology, be sure to maintain adequate hole cleaning and well bore stability, trip in hole slower,
break circulation while rotating and working pipe, etc. Evaluate and eliminate any annular restrictions
which may be causing an imposed annular pressure, such as balling of bit / BHA, mud rings, cuttings
beds, etc. These actions may cure the problem if the losses are induced.
2. Drill ahead but consider treating entire system with 15 25 lb/bbl (42.8 71.3 kg/m
3
)
medium LCM. Use calcium carbonate unless other LCM has been approved for the pay zone. If the
mud contains very few ne solids, add 5 lb/bbl (14.3 kg/m
3
) ne calcium carbonate initially as well,
until the larger LCM starts to grind down and produce smaller particles. Check screens for blinding.
3. If losses continue and loss zone identied, spot 50 -100 bbl (7.95 15.9 m
3
) coarse LCM pill and pull
up and wait 2 - 4 hours:
Pill should be made using active mud containing:
30 lb/bbl (85.6 kg/m
3
) coarse grade calcium carbonate, or blend 20 lb/bbl (57 kg/m
3
)

with 10 lb/
bbl (28.5 kg/m
3)
of approved cellulose bre.
20 lb/bbl (28.5 kg/m
3
) medium grade calcium carbonate, or blend with approved cellulose bre.
5 lb/bbl (14.3 kg/m
3
) ne grade calcium carbonate.

Note: Be sure bit nozzles and any MWD equipment is large enough to allow larger LCM to pass
without plugging.
4. If partial losses continue, repeat pill procedure, spotting larger volume pill. Drill ahead and add 5
10 sacks/hr approved medium LCM to maintain sealing capability of the mud. Check bit nozzles/
MWD can handle the LCM and shaker screens are not blinding.
Severe Losses 30 to 100 bbl/hr (4.77 15.9 m
3
/hr)
Non Productive Zones:
1. Consider reducing mud weight and ECD, if possible. Drill slower, reduce circulation rate and
rheology, be sure to maintain adequate hole cleaning and well bore stability, trip in hole slower,
break circulation while rotating and working pipe, etc. Evaluate and eliminate any annular
restrictions which may be causing an imposed annular pressure, such as balling of bit / BHA, mud
rings, cuttings beds, etc. These actions may cure the problem if the losses are induced.
2. Identify loss zone, spot 50 100 bbl (7.95 15.9 m
3
) LCM pill, pull up and wait 2- 4 hrss:
Pill should be made using active mud containing:
30-50 lb/bbl (85.6 142.7 kg/m
3
) extra coarse LCM, single additive or blend, preferably containing
bre or nut shells.
20 lb/bbl (57.1 kg/m
3
) coarse LCM.
10 lb/bbl (28.5 kg/m
3
) medium LCM.
Note: Be sure bit nozzles/downhole equipment are large enough to allow larger LCM to pass
without plugging. Use drillstring circulating subs. Be prepared for shaker blinding.
3. If severe losses continue, repeat the pill. If partial losses now occur, refer to earlier procedures 1
and 2 to suit the new loss rate.
4. If severe losses still continue, consider soft or hard plugs; refer to total loss section, below, for
options.
13
Productive Zones:
1. Consider reducing mud weight and ECD, if possible. Drill slower, reduce circulation rate and
rheology, be sure to maintain adequate hole cleaning and well bore stability, trip in hole slower,
break circulation while rotating and working pipe, etc. Evaluate and eliminate any annular
restrictions which may be causing an imposed annular pressure, such as balling of bit / BHA, mud
rings, cuttings beds, etc. These actions may cure the problem if the losses are induced.
2. Identify loss zone, spot 50 100 bbl (7.95 15.9 m
3
) LCM pill, pull up and wait 2 - 4 hrs:
Pill should be made using active mud containing:
30-50 lb/bbl (85.6 142.7 kg/m
3
) extra coarse grade calcium carbonate, or other approved LCM
for the production zone.
20 lb/bbl (57.1 kg/m
3
) coarse grade calcium carbonate, or other approved LCM for the production
zone.
10 lb/bbl (28.5 kg/m
3
) medium grade calcium carbonate, or other approved LCM for the production
zone.
Note: Be sure bit nozzles/downhole equipment are large enough to allow larger LCM to pass
without plugging. Use drillstring circulating subs. Be prepared for shaker blinding.
3. If severe losses continue, repeat the pill. If partial losses now occur, refer to earlier procedures to
suit the new loss rate.
4. If severe losses still continue, consider soft or hard plugs; refer to total loss section, below, for
options.
total losses >100 bbl/hr (15.9 m
3
/hr)
There are many options available to address high loss rates, ranging from ordinary cements to
specialised cements, gunks and polymer systems.
With such a wide choice of options available it can be difcult to make a selection. In practice, the
exact chemical system chosen is not critical, provided it is the right type of system for the job and is
engineered correctly.
Most failures actually occur because of engineering errors. To avoid engineering errors ensure:
sufcient pill volume is pumped.
setting time is correctly calculated.
no contamination.
the pill is spotted in the right place.
appropriate equipment for mixing and pumping is available.
engineering principles
Many of these treatments will require specialised mixing and pumping procedures. The product
supplier should provide detailed instructions on the mixing and placement of the material.
Some general guidelines are as follows:
Locate the loss zone and design sufcient pill volume.
Establish how the material will be delivered downhole (i.e. by a pumping unit or with the rig
equipment); make sure the equipment is set up.
Count pump strokes and be sure to know where the treatment is at any one time.
Some treatments are polymer systems which are triggered by cross-linking agents. Setting time
is usually very dependent on temperature so accurate downhole temperature prediction is
very important. If possible it is recommended a pilot test is done to conrm cross-linking time at
downhole temperature and pressure. Note that the temperature will normally be less than the
static BHT due to cooling which has occurred due to the losses. So setting times can be longer than
expected. Pills pumped down will take a considerable time to heat up.
14
Section
10chole problems - lost circulation
Monitor pipe and casing pressures to reduce the possibility of induced losses and to verify the
displacement of the LCM from the pipe.
Squeeze the treatment into the formation, if possible.
Pull the drill pipe clear of the calculated top of the pill by at least 100 bbl (15.9 m
3
) of hole volume or
pull into casing - otherwise the string could become cemented in.
Wait the required time for the treatment to react and take effect.
To avoid blockage, do not try to pump particles bigger than 1/3rd the nozzle diameter through
the BHA, and check MWD restrictions.
Use a pill with density equal to the active mud to avoid migration.
treatment selection
Conventional LCM are not effective for very high loss rate situations (>100 bbl/hr or 15.9 m
3
/hr). They
work by bridging, and at loss rates >100bbl/hr (15.9 m
3
/hr) the fractures/voids are generally too large
for the materials to function. The alternative is to use chemical systems which set and seal the loss
zone.
There are several types of system available:
Cements/Modied Cements
Gunks and Reverse Gunks
Dilatant Slurries
Cross-linked Polymers & Gelled plugs
Silicate systems
Points to consider when using these type of pills:
1. Ordinary cements form a hard set which tends to be brittle. This is long-lasting but will not breath
with the well bore. If exing of fractures is likely to occur a more exible plug, e.g. polymer plug
or gunk type system, is more appropriate. Cements also have relatively long setting times and are
not generally pumped through the bit. This can cause long delays.
2. Cements used for extreme losses should be preceded with a silicate type pill which ash-sets
the cement. Otherwise, large volumes would need to be pumped.
3. Gunk and reverse gunk treatments are a cheap and often effective cure in very high loss situations.
They have the advantage they are not very sensitive to temperature, setting time. However, these
systems generally have a limited lifetime and do not withstand high differential pressures. A gunk
pill strengthened with added cement powder will allow it to withstand higher differential pressure,
although this is only suitable for WBM applications.
4. When considering cross-linked polymer treatments for sealing, ensure there are bridging solids
present which will help to screen out and seal any fracture. Many polymer systems already
contain such solids. Ensure the treatment can still be pumped through the BHA, if this is intended.
Be aware of the importance of temperature.
5. Curing losses in the production zone requires special attention. It should be assumed that
damage will occur to the region where the pill is pumped. There are few treatments which are
usable in open hole completions and any solution should be lab tested to ensure it can be removed
at a later date if necessary. It is more effective to try to engineer a treatment with bridging solids
to minimise the invasion of material into the rock matrix.
15
gunk squeezes
Description
The basic system forms a fairly soft plug. Essentially the gunk treatment involves mixing bentonite,
or bentonite/polymer into an oil such as diesel. This mixture is pumped down the drill pipe while
water based mud is pumped down the annulus. When the two streams meet, a thick gunk is formed
as the bentonite or other additives hydrate in the water. This is then squeezed into the formation.
The hardness of the gunk depends on the relative pump rates and the concentration of the pill.
Typically the mud and pill would be pumped at similar rates and the pill would contain around 200 - 400
lb/bbl (571 1141 kg/m
3
) bentonite. In many situations today environmental regulations may preclude
the use of diesel oil. Low toxicity or synthetic base uids may be used in place of diesel. They should be
pilot tested in the mud laboratory at the wellsite to determine performance.
A cement unit is best for displacing the gunk squeeze. The pumping unit displaces the mixture
down the drill string and the mud pump pumps uid down the annulus. The slurry reacts with water
so that precautions to keep water from prematurely contacting the slurry are needed. An oil spacer is
pumped in front of and behind the pill.
Benets:
Temperature is not very important.
Soft set avoids sidetracking problems, easy to wash/drill out.
Slurry will normally pass through BHA.
Procedures are well established.
Suited to large fractures/voids.
Limitations:
Placement need to generate gunk in the right place.
Flow rate and mix is important to achieve suitable consistency.
Suitable experience required.
Avoid premature mud contamination.
Possible environmental restrictions dealing with oily returns.
Effect can be short-lived due to softness of the plug, simple gunk.
May not work with high salt muds, >50,000 mg/l chlorides.
gel/polymer gunk squeeze
Formulation for 25 bbl (4 m
3
)
18 bbl (2.86 m
3
) Diesel or other base uid.
4,800 lbs (2,177 kg) bentonite, nal density = +/-10 lb/gal (1.20 SG).
750 lbs (340 kg) PHPA powder if available can also be added.
16
Section
10chole problems - lost circulation
Recommended Mixing Procedure
Mix in a cementing batch tank. This pill should not be mixed in the pits:
Ensure the cement unit, batch tank and all associated pipe work is completely drained and
then ushed through with diesel or other suitable base uid.
(Add PHPA powder to the diesel or other base uid rst, then add the bentonite. Preferably add
the PHPA through a mixing jet, not directly into the tank, to avoid lumps)
If the mixture becomes too thick to add the required quantity of bentonite, stop mixing and use
the slurry as it is.
Test the gunk by mixing a sample of it 50:50 with the mud. Check the quality - it should be a consistency
similar to a thick paste within 30 seconds.
Recommended Pumping Procedure
1. Place the bit above the loss zone such that the height between the bit and loss zone is equivalent
to 50 bbl (8 m
3
) of hole volume.
2. Line up mud pumps to pump simultaneously down the drill pipe and annulus.
3. Line up cement unit to pump down the drill pipe.
4. With the cement unit pump 10 bbl (1.59 m
3
) diesel or base uid followed by 25 bbl (4 m
3
) gunk
and a further 10 bbl (1.59 m
3
) diesel/base uid down the drill pipe.
5. Displace with the mud pump until diesel/base uid is at the bit. Close annular.
6. Pump at 5 bpm (0.795 m
3
/min) down the drill pipe and 10 bpm (1.59 m
3
/min) down the annulus
simultaneously until half of the gunk is out of the bit.
7. Pump at 5 bpm (0.795 m
3
/min) simultaneously down both the drill pipe and annulus until the gunk
has been over displaced from the drill pipe by 5 bbl (0.795 m
3
).
8. Squeeze gunk into the loss zone. Leave at least 5 bbl (0.795 m
3
) gunk inside the wellbore to prevent
over displacement. Try to establish a shut-in pressure at the end.
9. If successful, leave the gunk to rm up for 8 10 hours prior to washing out.
Remarks
The gunk pill is inert until it is mixed with water or water based mud. It must only contact water
based uids as it exits the bit. The purpose of initially pumping down the annulus at twice the
rate down the pipe is to initially produce a slower reacting product that can penetrate the formation
more easily. The last part of the gunk is mixed 50:50 and plugs the loss zone quickly.
The ow rates are designed to deliver the gunk to the loss zone quickly after the gunk has been mixed
with the mud. The progress of the job should be determined and monitored by the volume of
displacement mud pumped down the drill pipe.
reverse gunk squeeze for use in OBM
This is the reverse procedure compared to ordinary WBM gunk squeezes. Typically, organophilic
clay is mixed into an aqueous suspension and pumped down the drill pipe. The oil mud is pumped
simultaneously down the annulus and gelation occurs when the two uids meet. The gunk is
squeezed into the formation. Note that it is not possible to add cement to strengthen the pill.
Benets:
Temperature is not very important.
Soft set avoids sidetracking problems (easy to wash/drill out).
Slurry will normally pass through BHA.
Procedures are well established.
Suitable for large fractures/voids.
17
Limitations:
Placement need to generate gunk in the right place.
Suitable experience required.
Avoid premature mud contamination.
Mixing time/placement often greater than 6 hrs.
Effect can be short-lived due to soft plug formed.
The type of clay used to make the treatment can be quite critical.
Recommended Formulations
A. Formulation for 1 bbl (0.159 m
3
) of unweighted reverse gunk pill
Product Amount
Water 0.72 bbl (0.114 m
3
)
Caustic Soda 1.5 lb (0.68 kg)
Dispersant (CFL) 3.5 lb (1.59 kg)
Organophilic clay 250 350 lb (113.4 158.7 kg)
Note: This formulation is provided as a guide only. The yield obtained will vary greatly dependant
on the particular organophilic clay used. Pilot testing of the pill formulation is strongly
recommended. The formulation given above will have a density of approximately 12.0 lb/gal
(1.44 SG).
B. Formulation for 1 bbl (0.159 m
3
) of weighted 13.0 lb/gal (1.56 SG) reverse gunk pill.
The slurry density can be increased to that of the active mud weight by viscosifying the water/clay
slurry with XCD polymer and adding barite. This must be pilot tested prior to use to determine the
optimum amount of XCD Polymer.
Product Amount
Water .72 bbl (0.114 m
3
)
Caustic Soda 1.5 lb (0.7 kg)
Dispersant (CFL) 4.4 lb (2 kg)
Organophilic clay 100 lb (45 kg)
Barite 80 lb (36 kg)
XCD Polymer as determined
Recommended Mixing Procedure
The pill should preferably be prepared in the cement batch tank. Ensure that the batch tank and all
associated lines are clean by ushing thoroughly with a water based rig wash followed by large
volumes of water.
Add the ingredients in the order shown utilising as much shear as possible to disperse the
organophilic clay. A minimum pill of 25 bbl is recommended.
The resultant slurry is preferably pumped through open ended pipe but may be pumped through
the bit if it is not practicable to POOH. The following displacement procedure should be strictly
followed to prevent gelation within the drill pipe. Before the displacement the string should be pulled
back to a height sufcient to leave the pill volume of open hole.
18
Section
10chole problems - lost circulation
Recommended Pumping Procedure
1. Pump 10 bbl (1.59 m
3
) oil
2. Pump 10 bbl (1.59 m
3
) water
3. Pump the slurry 25 bbl (4 m
3
)
4. Pump 10 bbl (1.59 m
3
) water
5. Pump 10 (1.59 m
3
) oil
6. Displace the pill to the bottom of the drill string.
7. If the hole is full, close the annular and squeeze at 300 500 psi (2069 3448 kPa) into the formation.
8. If the hole is full, close the annular and pump the pill at 1 bbl/min (0.159 m
3
/min) down the drill pipe
and mud at 1 bbl/min (0.159 m
3
/min) down the annulus.
9. Allow at least 4 hours for the plug to set.
Note: Ensure that the entire pill is pumped out of the string. Do not attempt to reverse circulate.
decision tree to identify losses
Whole mud loss
Is loss occurring downhole?
Similar loss in same section
of adjacent well
Unconsolidated or high
permeability formation in
open hole section?
Continue analysis in light of
past experience
Repeat cure, using same
placement
procedure and LCM
Cure surface loss
Were losses
successfully treated?
Did loss start while tripping?
Did loss start gradually,
building up to
maximum rate?
Losses through induced
fractures
Losses through natural
fractures
Losses through pores
Is loss rate highly
sensitive to change
in ECD?oss
Scenario: Induced Fractures
3or 7
o Is loss associated with recent
increase in ECD?
o Is ECD near anticipated
fracture gradient?
o Is formation permeable?
o Is loss rate highly
sensitive to change in ECD?
o Is loss associated with lithol-
ogy change from shale to
sandstone
More 3than 7
Natural Fractures
Scenario: Natural Fractures
3or 7
o Is loss associated with drill
break?
o Is fault or fractured
interval anticipated in open
hole section?
o Is rock dolomitised or karsti-
ed?
o Have small losses in past 10-
20meters slowed considerably?
o Is formation interbedded?
More 3than 7
Induced Fractures
NO
YES
YES YES
YES
NO
NO
NO
YES
YES NO
YES
NO
YES NO
YES
fuid systems guidelines
section 11
s
y
s
t
e
m

g
u
i
d
e
l
i
n
e
s
section 11a - roles and responsibilities
section 11b - water base drilling fuids
section 11c - non aqueous fuids
section 11d - completion fuids
section 11a
roles and responsibilities
1
roles and responsibilities mud engineers
The drilling uids engineer is the Scomi Oiltools representative and therefore responsible for the
day-to-day operations at the wellsite.
The lead / senior drilling uids engineer and the second / junior engineer are responsible for the
daily running of the mud and all activities associated with the operation, including but not limited
to: uid testing, logistics, inventory control and communication with the drill crew, the mud loggers,
other members of the mud team and primarily the operators drilling representative.
The drilling uids engineers are responsible for all mixing and maintenance of the drilling uid, at
the wellsite, as per the drilling uids programme and amendments. They will also suggest changes to
the operators drilling supervisor as conditions dictate preferably including discussion with the
Scomi Oiltools operations manager / co-ordinator beforehand when possible.
The drilling uids engineers will comply with all of the operators and rig contractors HSE plans, and
carry out their specic HSE drilling uid responsibilities.

The roles and responsibilities for the drilling uid engineers may vary depending on the particular
job and operator, e.g. onshore / offshore, drilling with WBM / OBM / SBM, deepwater, ERD, HPHT etc.,
and in many cases the following list will be considerably more expansive and detailed than shown
here:-
roles and responsibilities
Role
HSE
Daily
Mud
Maintenance
and
Performance
Responsibility
3 Attend operators / contractors safety meetings and advise on all matters pertaining
to Scomi Oiltools HS&E and products. The requirement for drilling uids engineers is
to not only attend but to contribute to safety meetings onsite, including giving
presentations on the uids and chemicals being used.
3 Give toolbox / pre tour talks on chemical safety.
3 Take part in risk assessments relevant to uids in particular for rst use of new
systems e.g. SBM/OBM etc.,
3 Ensure correct and updated safety posters are in place in the mud and sack rooms
or mixing areas for land rigs.
3 Ensure MSDS are up to date and easy to locate.
3 Use rig specic HSE observation system e.g. STOP.
3 Maintain safe & tidy mud laboratory.
3 Be familiar with all aspects of the drilling unit and its equipment including
limitations and bottlenecks that may impact the efciency of the drilling uid
service.
3 Ensure that all drilling uid systems are correctly formulated to fully meet the
companys uid specications prior to displacement into the well.
3 Ensure that clear written instructions are provided to all relevant rig crew working
in the pit room, mixing area, shaker house and rig oor to cover all planned uid
transfers, chemical additions and solids control equipment utilisation.
3 Ensure that mud logging and drilling personnel are informed of all transfers or
changes of pit utilisation.
3 Ensure that all drilling uid properties are maintained, as specied in the drilling
uid programme.
3 Perform all necessary API mud checks for mud report minimum 3 times daily while
drilling. Mud test results that deviate sharply from established mud property trends
must be re-run before treatments commence to reverse apparent negative trends.
2
Section
11aroles and responsibilities
Role
Daily
Meetings /
Calls
Daily
Reporting

End of Hitch
Paperwork
End of
Section
Reporting
Responsibility
3 Run pilot tests as required to diagnose drilling uid problems, identify their solutions
and/or optimise chemical treatment levels.
3 Calibrate, maintain and monitor certication of mud testing equipment.
3 Closely monitor the condition, i.e. shape, size and integrity, and volume of cuttings at
the shale shakers to assess the adequacy of:-
3 Formation inhibition (water based mud)
3 Salinity levels (synthetic based mud)
3 Hole stability (mud weight)
3 Hole cleaning efciency
3 Reconcile circulating volumes on a continuous basis in particular with OBM / SBM.
3 Optimise solids control equipment performance to minimise the build up of low
gravity solids and therefore maintain plastic viscosity values as low as possible.
3 Select and monitor shaker screen sizes and usage. Order new screens.
3 Closely monitor, control and minimise surface drilling uid losses.
3 Ensure that the rig crews monitor and record pit volumes, density and marsh
funnel viscosity as required, i.e. minimum 30 minute intervals during drilling /
circulating operations.
3 7-day sample rota:-collect a 1-litre mud sample every day and store this sample for
7 days. This can be done by having seven 1-litre bottles, one for each day. When all
7 bottles are full, the bottle from day one shall be emptied and lled with a sample
from the present day. The mud sample has to match a mud check, preferably the last
mud check for the day. (You have to notify the laboratory which mud check this is on
the daily report, if you have to send the samples t o the lab.).
3 Carry out mud pit management, including; identifying uid interfaces, spacers, pills,
cement and divert.
3 Prepare pit management plans for upcoming operations e.g. intervals displacements,
spotting pills / LCM, well clean up etc.
3 Call operations manager / co-ordinator.
3 Attend operators morning meeting as required.
3 Attend operators / contractors safety meetings / per tour safety meetings, advise on
all matters pertaining to Scomi Oiltools HS&E and products.
3 Report unscheduled events in operators specic system, attend meeting if required.
3 Prepare and distribute drilling uids report.
3 Complete all sections of the daily mud report.
3 If drilling uid properties are out of specication a comment should be put on the
daily drilling uid report explaining the reason for the nonconformity and the plan
for bringing the properties back into specication.
3 If the well conditions or other operational circumstances dictate the properties to
be out of specication this should also be stated as a comment on the report.
3 All mud treatments should be commented on in the daily report.
3 Update all end of well reports / graphs for uid trends, volumes, inventory, discharge
etc.
3 Update end of well written report.
3 Update volume reports, transport loss, concentration sheets and other contract
specic reports for signatures by Scomi Oiltools and operator.
3 Write handover to night / second engineer to be completed thoroughly.
3 Maintain discharge / environmental reports.
3 Update shaker screen usage sheet.
3 Compile end of hitch report.
3 Complete timesheet / service voucher signed by engineer and operator.
3 Complete and send to town - all end of well reports / graphs for uid trends volumes,
inventory, discharge etc. as required for the well.
3
Responsibility
3 Complete all aspects of end of well report with emphasis on performance
measures achievement, lessons learned and conclusions / recommendations for
future wells.
3 Update rig information manual / rig drilling uids audit / rig induction manual.
3 Order chemicals / bulk (drill water if applicable) in a timely manner.
3 Order laboratory chemicals and equipment.
3 Advise on the loading / unloading of bulk uids & chemical containers.
3 Advise rig crews to ensure cargo is securely fastened e.g. cargo nets in containers.
3 Chemicals and uids are to be ordered and accounted for in units according to
contract.
3 Ensure that all materials received at the rig site and handled for shipment to
shore or land warehouse are correctly stored, handled and used according to
guidelines given in quality plans and materials safety data sheets. Maintain a rig
site chemical and container inventory sheet including; chemical name, container
number, amount and location of items. Update on a regular basis for information
purposes.
3 Perform QA / QC checks on received dry bulk and liquid muds / brines as specied
by the operator.
3 Take samples for and send to ofce as requested for QA / QC testing.
3 Update chemical inventory and container list offshore.
3 With any backload of chemicals, mud, laboratory equipment, copies of the
Backload manifest to be sent. Ensure that bulk barite stocks are maintained above
government / companys minimum stipulated levels.
3 Ensure that pipe freeing agents are available and accessible for immediate
displacement.
3 Ensure that stock levels of lost circulation materials are maintained above minimum
specied levels.
3 Ensure that all materials and equipment orders for the next hole section or
operation are carefully prepared in advance.
3 Order and maintain an adequate inventory for supplies of PC, testing equipment
and testing chemicals.
3 Last engineer on rig due to down-manning etc., to prepare full chemical, liquid
mud, and equipment inventory. This sheet must be signed by drilling supervisor
and sent to the ofce.
Role
End of Well
reporting
Logistics
End of job
and or
Demanning
section 11b
water base drilling fuids
spud muds 2
HYDRO-FOIL 5
HYDRO-FOIL GEN 1 9
HYDRO-FOIL S8 12
HyPR-FOIL S8 17
HyPR-DRILL 20
salt polymer 25
OPTA-FLO 27
RHEO-PLEX 34
dispersed and calcium muds 37
section 11b
Scomi Oiltools
2
Section
11bwater base drilling fuids
spud muds
This system consists of water which has been viscosied with DRILL-GEL (Bentonite) or guar gum.
This system is normally used to spud a well and to drill top hole sections, often being pumped as
sweeps when drilling blind. The basic system has little inhibitive characteristics and as it is usually
used where the primary concern is hole cleaning, there is little or zero need for inhibition or uid loss
control.
When drilling top hole sections, the operational practice may require displacing the hole to a
weighted spud mud before running casing. This displacement mud may be engineered to full more
specic requirements and will be addressed in well specic planning.
Benets of the DRILL-GEL Spud Mud System
Fluid has high carrying capacity
Simple to formulate
Highly exible can be converted into different systems
Low costs
Simple to use
Environmentally benign
Limitations of the DRILL-GEL Spud Mud System
May have logistical restrictions on fresh water availability in remote locations
Requires time to mix
In complex spuds, logistics are difcult
Requires high quality water, with low chlorides and low hardness
Easily contaminated
Formulation
An example of a basic Spud Mud formulation is shown in Table 1.
water base drilling fuids
PRODUCT Function CONCENTRATION
drill water Base Fluid +0.95 bbl/bbl / 0.95 (m
3
/ m
3
)
soda ash Total Hardness Reducer To Ca
++
<100 mg/l
DRILL-GEL Viscosier 20 - 30 lb/bbl ( 57 85 kg/m
3
)
caustic soda pH modier To pH 9+
PROPERTY TYPICAL VALUE UNITS
Mud Weight 8.8 lb/gal
PV 20 cP
YP 20 - 60 lbs / 100 ft
2

6 RPM 10 + dial reading
Gel 11/20 lbs / 100 ft
2

API No control ml / 30 min
Table 1 Indicative DRILL-GEL spud mud formulation
3
The normal method is to prehydrate DRILL-GEL (PHB) at concentrations of 35 - 40 lb/bbl (100 114
kg/m
3
) in drill (fresh) water, allowing the gel to hydrate as long as operationally possible. The uid is
then diluted to give a nal bentonite concentration of + 20 lb/bbl (57 kg/ m
3
) with water.
To maximise the yield of the DRILL-GEL high quality water is recommended throughout, however,
due to logistical / operational restraints the initial prehydration should be performed in high quality
drill water then diluted with seawater or lower quality water e.g. brackish water.
To optimise the hydration, 6 8 hours minimum is required for the DRILL-GEL to fully yield.
While the basic formulation detailed in Table 1 is very simple, operational needs may dictate the
addition of other products to ensurethe integrity of the hole and the security of the operations.
Typical contingency / supplementary products and reasons for addition to the basic bentonite system
are detailed in Table 2.
Chemical Function Operational Concentration Concentration
lb/bbl kg/m
3
HYDRO-PAC
CMC
HYDRO-STARCH
Isothiazolin
DRILL-BAR
Viscosity and
Filtration
Viscosity and
Filtration
Viscosity and
Filtration
Biocide
Barite
Enhanced
ltration control in
displacement mud
and sweeps
Enhanced
ltration control in
displacement mud
and sweeps
Enhanced
ltration control in
displacement mud
and sweeps
Prevention of
microbiological
action
To build spud mud
and displacement
mud where density
is greater than 8.8
lb/gal (1.05 SG)
1.0 5.0
1.0 5.0
1.0 5.0
Table 2 Supplementary Products
Engineering Guidelines
The primary concern while drilling and casing the top hole is to ensure that it is performed safely,
quickly because the integrity of the hole may be time dependant, and economically.
When drilling with a spud mud the major concern is to ensure there is always sufcient volume
available to complete the operation. Thus a high level emphasis should be placed on ensuring
the availability of bentonite, drill water and other required chemicals. As there may also be requirements
for displacement and cementing uids as well as the spud mud, a pit management is a major
consideration during the planning and execution of the operations.
2.85 14.15

2.85 14.15
2.85 14.15
500 -1000 ppm
As required
4
Section
11bwater base drilling fuids
Offshore
On an offshore rig the normal approach is to drill riserless, with no returns to surface. The rig pumps
are used to continuously pump seawater down hole. The bentonite is then pumped as sweeps to
clean the hole. These sweeps are pumped according to operational needs, usually at every connection
and every 30 ft (9 m). The volume of these sweeps vary according to needs of the operation but are normally
in the range of 50 - 100 bbl (8 - 16 m
3
), depending on hole size, pump capability and rate of penetration.
At the end of the section the hole is normally swept with a large spud mud pill, generally 100 - 200 bbl,
to ensure that the hole is clean. In order to ensure the integrity of the hole during the casing and
cementing, operations the hole is then displaced to a uid which may be weighted, may contain
some ltration control polymers, ne LCM and or inhibitors such as KCl. An excess volume, usually
50% over the gauge hole volume, is pumped to ensure that the hole is full.
Onshore
The approach is normally to circulate water from the water pit, taking returns to the cellar pit and
recirculating. Sweeps can then be pumped to ensure the hole is cleaned.
Once the conductor (the top hole casing string) is set, normally 50 - 100 ft (15 - 30 m), the spud mud can be
circulated from the pits taking returns via the ow line and through the solids control equipment.
Mixing Spud Mud
Treat out the hardness of the water with soda ash. Ensure hardness value is less than 200 mg/l
Mix in the required DRILL-GEL
Leave gel to hydrate for as long as possible
Cut back the prehydrated bentonite with the required volume of water
Added the required caustic soda
As mentioned above displacement uids for top holes may be, diluted spud mud, neat PHB or spud
mud / PHB containing polymers, lost circulation materials and may also be weighted. This will be
mixed as described above with the addition of the required products.
Cementing
Bentonite spud mud is sensitive to cement contamination. The effect of cement is to occulate
the bentonite, increase the pH. If the uid is to be salvaged to drill another section, pre-treatment
with sodium bicarbonate should be considered and at the end of the cement job, the contamination
treated out by use of SAPP and /or dumping and diluting.
If salvaging the uid is not required, it is suggested that the uid is kept to drill out the rat hole and
the shoe, provided this is operationally feasible. This will prevent the contamination of more expensive
uids by the cement.
Alternative Spud System GUAR GUM
The logistical limitations to the use of DRILL-GEL sweeps may require the use of an alternative
system particularly in the offshore environment. The most common and economically effective
alternative is guar gum which can be mixed directly with seawater. The concentration of guar gum is
normally in the range 3.0 - 5.0 lb/bbl (8.6 - 14.25 kg/m
3
).
PRODUCT Function
sea water
citric acid
guar gum
HYDRO-CIDE
Required
Only if necessary to reduce the pH <8.0
4.0 lb/bbl (11.4 kg/m
3
)
Only if uid is to be stored more than 24 hours.
5
Recommended Mixing Procedure:
1. Ensure the chosen pit is clean and free of any hydroxyl bearing uid e.g. lime, caustic soda or
biocide. Guar Gum will not hydrate in the presence of hydroxyl ions. pH <8.0 is recommended.
If necessary treat the mixing water with citric acid to lower the pH prior to mixing the guar gum.
2. Fill the pit to the required level with sea water.
3. Mix guar gum slowly through the hopper to avoid Fish Eyes and then circulate through the
shearing unit. Do not over shear as this will eventually degrade the polymer chain and result in
lowering the viscosity.
4. Add biocide if the guar gum slurry is to be left for more than 24 hours. This should only be added
after the guar gum has been completely dispersed and hydrated.
It should be noted that although guar gum sweeps have high viscosity, they have little gel structure
giving minimal suspension characteristics. They should be used as sweeps only.
HYDRO-FOIL

HYDRO-FOIL is a KCl / PHPA low solids, non dispersed drilling uid system that is used primarily
to drill moderately reactive shales. It can be used effectively at temperatures up to 275 - 300 F
(135 - 149 C).
The primary shale inhibition mechanisms in the HYDRO-FOIL system are:
1. The cation exchange of potassium ions with the clay to reduce hydration and swelling in conjunction
with;
2. HYDRO-CAP XP a partially hydrolysed polyacrylamide (PHPA) which adheres to the surface of the
drilled cuttings, encapsulating them, and also coats the well bore reducing the hydration of clays in
the formation.
Potassium chloride is the primary source of the potassium ions in the HYDRO-FOIL system. However
due to restriction on the use of chloride ions, in some areas, the potassium Ion may also be supplied by:-
potassium sulphate potassium formate
potassium carbonate potassium acetate
The HYDRO-FOIL system can be used in any salinity from freshwater to near NaCl saturation,
although in the higher salt content systems increased polymer concentrations will be required as
the polymer does not fully uncoil and hydrate.
When using a HYDRO-FOIL system formulated with potassium carbonate a third mechanism of
inhibition is speculated. The calcium ions in the interstitial (pore) uids will cause the carbonate ions
in the ltrate to precipitate, plugging the pore throats and reducing the pore pressure transmission
effect.
Benets of the HYDRO-FOIL system include:
Effective inhibition
Environmentally acceptable in most areas
Highly lubricious uid
Simple to use
Readily upgradeable to more advanced systems such as HYDRO-FOIL GEN 1
6
Section
11bwater base drilling fuids
Formulation
An example of a HYDRO-FOIL formulation and mud properties is shown in Table 3.
Table 4 Indicative HYDRO-FOIL properties
In addition to the basic products supplementary products can be used to optimise the system for
specic use as detailed in Table 5.
Chemical Function Concentration Concentration
lb/bbl kg/m
3
OX-SCAV
sodium chloride
HYDRO-CAP SC
HYDRO-CAP RD
HYDRO-CAP L
Isothiazolin
DRILL-GEL
HYDRO-THIN
HYDRO-PLAST /
HYDRO-PLAST PLUS
HyPR-DRL
Oxygen scavenger to extend usage
in high temperature and salinity
To increase inhibition and
to drill in salt environment
Low molecular weight PHPA
Readily dispersible -- high-
molecular weight PHPA
Liquid PHPA
Biocide
Viscosier. Used in initial make up
Deocculant
High temperature
ltration controller
ROP Enhancer
120 ppm
To 110
1 -1.5
1 -1.5
3+
500 -1000 ppm
5
0.5 - 1
2 - 8
0.5 - 5%
Table 5 Supplementary products for HYDRO-FOIL System
Engineering Guidelines
Maintain a minimum of 1 1.2 lb/bbl (2.85 - 3.4 kg/m
3
)of excess PHPA in the system as determined by a
materials balance calculation..
Product Function Concentration Concentration
lb/bbl kg/m
3
drill water Base Fluid 0.85 bbl/bbl 0.85 m
3
/ m
3
Salt (KCl) Water activity and density + 30 85.5
caustic soda / pH modier To pH 9.0
potassium hydroxide
HYDRO-ZAN / Viscosier 0.75 -1.0 2.1 2.85
HYDRO-ZAN RD
HYDRO-CAP XP PHPA 1 1.5 2.85 4.3
HYDRO-PAC Filtration Control 1 - 3 2.85 8.55
HYDRO-STAR Filtration Control 4 - 8 11.4 22.8
CMS, HT or NF)
DRILL-BAR Weight material As required As required
Table 3 Indicative HYDRO-FOIL formulation
Mud Weight
PV
YP
6 RPM
Gel
API
HTHP (@ Bottom Hole Temp F)
9.7
20
30
11
7 / 10 / 12
<5
<12 ml
lb/gal
cP
lb / 100 ft
2
dial reading
lb / 100 ft
2
ml / 30 min
/ 30 min
120 ppm
To 313.5
2.85 4.3
2.85 4.3
8.55 +
500 1000 ppm
14.25
1.4 2.85
5.7 22.8
0.5 - 5%
7
The HYDRO-CAP concentration in the system will deplete while drilling as the PHPA encapsulates
the cuttings and coats the wellbore. The HYDRO-CAP concentration must be maintained by regular
treatments, ideally in the form of HYDRO-CAP rich pre-mixes containing 1.5- 2.0 (4.3 5.7 kg/m
3
) lb/bbl.
The PHPA concentration may be measured using the test described in Section 3 of this Handbook,
Mud Testing Procedures.
Field experience has determined that as a general rule the PHPA depletes at a rate of 2 8 lb/bbl (5.7
22.8 kg/m
3
) of cuttings removed depending on the reactivity of the formation:-
Typical Depletion Factors
Highly reactive shales 6 - 8 lb/bbl (17.1 22.8 kg/m
3
)
Moderately reactive shales 4 - 6 lb/bbl (11.4 - 17.1 kg/m
3
)
Low reactivity shales 2 - 4 lb/bbl (5.7 11.4 kg/m
3
)
Actual depletion factors should be determined on a formation by formation and eld by eld basis e.g.:-
Drilled 100m of 12 Hole (capacity 0.4783 bbl/m) - moderately reactive shale
Depletion factor = 5 lb/bbl (14.3 kg/m
3
)
Total depletion = 100 x .4783 * 5 = 239 lbs (108 kg) of PHPA
Required to add to maintain > 1 lb/bbl excess = 5 x 25 kg sacks (275 lbs (124 kg).
NB. Liquid PHPA, HYDRO-CAP L, is 35% active PHPA, therefore, 14 x 25 kg pails of liquid PHPA would
be required to maintain the 1 lb/bbl (2.85 kg/m
3
) excess
Mixing HYDRO-FOIL
While mixing the HYDRO-FOIL system the shearing of the uid has to be maximised. It is recommended
that a shearing unit be used and that shearing is maximised by circulating through the gun lines.
However once the polymers are mixed it is recommended that high pressure shearing is stopped, as
the long chain encapsulating polymer will be physically degraded.
Treat out the hardness with soda ash. Ensure hardness value is less than 200 mg/l.
Blend the brine (KCl, NaCl or alternative).
Add the HYDRO-CAP XP polymer. If possible use the SHOTGUN method (described below).
Add the remaining polymers. Care must be taken so as not to mix these so fast that sh eyes will form.
Add the required amounts of bridging material.
Add the pH modiers.
Weight up the system.
Just prior to circulating, add the polymer extenders if required.
A limitation with a PHPA system is the difculty of mixing the dry polymer since, if the polymer is
mixed too quickly into the uid it will very easily form sh eyes. Alternative mixing solutions include:-
Have the polymer solubilised into the brine and shipped from town for offshore locations.
Have a stock of HYDRO-FOIL. Note however that this is 35 % active.
Reduce the pH of the brine with citric acid to 6. Then mix in the polymer. Raise the pH to 8 with caustic
after all the polymers is mixed in.
If the initial viscosity is too high and there are mixing limitations, mix only half of the required PHPA
in the initial mix and add the remainder after displacement while drilling. It is recommended in
order to ensure that the minimum excess is maintained that initial concentrations of HYDRO-CAP
are in the range of 1.2 1.5 lb/bbl.
8
Section
11bwater base drilling fuids
5. Mix the PHPA by the SHOTGUN method.
Have the total volume to be treated in one pit and an empty pity pit ready
Have all the sacks of HYDRO-CAP XP by the hopper.
Transfer the volume from the pit to be treated to the empty pit.
Add the sacked HYDRO-CAP XP via the hopper to the transfer stream approximately 1 sack
every 1 minute. Ensure that the hopper does not become blocked.
In some cases the product specied for particular application might be HYDRO-CAP SC a low
molecular weight, short chain, PHPA or HYDRO-CAP RD a PHPA treated to make it easier to mix and
disperse. In both cases mixing will be easier as initial uid viscosities from these products will be
reduced.
Hardness
It is recommended that the hardness level is minimised. Prior to mixing the system treat out hardness
with soda ash. The efciency of the polymers is improved when the calcium concentration is less than
200 mg/l.
Fluid Loss Control
Maintain ltrate as per requirements by the use of HYDRO-PAC, HYDRO-STAR CMS and or HYDRO-
STAR NF. The type of HYDRO-PAC (R or LV) will be decided by the operational requirements. Ideally
it is recommended that HYDRO-PAC LV is used in the initial formulation as this has minimal impact
on the rheology compared with the use of HYDRO-PAC R.
Rheology
While the HYDRO-CAP XP will add considerable initial rheology to the mud this will eventually
shear thin with circulation and temperature. Xanthan Gum, HYDRO-ZAN or HYDRO-ZAN RD, is
recommended to achieve the desired rheological properties as this product delivers improved low
end rheology and shear thinning characteristics. The shear thinning rheology from HYDRO-ZAN is
preferred to the rheology achieved with the use of products such as HYDRO-PAC R.
pH
This should be maintained at 8.5 9.5. High pH will result in hydrolysing of the polymer, at pH above
10.0 hydrolysis of the PHPA will start resulting in the release of ammonia gas (NH
3
) which is very evident
on the rig even at low concentrations. In the event that the system is over treated, treat immediately
with citric acid to reduce to the specied level. To prevent pH hot spots, pH modiers should be pre-
solubilised before addition to the system.
Due to the hydrolysis of the PHPA at high pH it is not recommended to drill cement with the HYDRO-
FOIL system unless it is unavoidable. If cement has to be drilled then the mud should be pre-treated
with using a low molecular weight polyacrylate thinner such as HYDRO-THIN. Subsequent treatment
with additional HYDRO-CAP XP and other products should be made as required to achieve
specications.
Density
Density is provided by DRILL-BAR and or calcium carbonate. If higher densities or atter rheological
proles are required, the HYDRO-FOIL system can be formulated with HyPR-BAR, ne grind barite,
or HAEMATITE.
Temperature Limitation and Treatment
The HYDRO-FOIL system is effective in a range of temperatures from 275 300 F (135 - 149 C), thermal
stability being dependent on the type and concentration of salt in the formulation and the use of
oxygen scavengers. Fluid loss, in particular the HPHT, can be controlled with the addition of HYDRO-
THERM Amps/Co-polymers.
9
Cementing
HYDRO-FOIL is particularly sensitive to cement contamination. Cement contamination increases the
calcium ion content and the pH of a uid which has the effect of hydrolysing the PHPA polymers, thus
increasing lter loss and reducing rheology.
When cementing it is recommended a large sacricial spacer is used to protect the uid system.
When cementing a liner ensure that all the excess cement and spacer is reverse circulated out of hole.
If possible on the rst circulation after a conventional cement job is over it is recommended that an
attempt is made to isolate any preush and excess cement.
Prior to a cement job consideration needs to be made whether to pre-treat the system to deal
with bicarbonate to treat out possible contamination. However be aware of the possibility of over
treatment.
To prevent the contamination of the HYDRO-FOIL system it is recommended that the old uid, which
will be displaced from the hole, is used to drill out the cement and shoe.
It is worth noting that although the high pH from cement contamination will degrade the HYDRO-
CAP polymer the residue will contain some acrylate polymer which has signicant encapsulating
properties. It may therefore be possible to isolate the contaminated uid, treat out the cement
contamination then reuse as a base uid.
HYDRO-FOIL GEN 1
HYDRO-FOIL GEN 1 is a KCl / PHPA system which has been enhanced by increasing the inhibition
of the uid with the inclusion of cloud point glycol(s).
Mechanism of Shale Stabilisation
The 2 methods of shale inhibition from the HYDRO-FOIL system, potassium and PHPA encapsulation
are enhanced by the clouding effect of the glycol which prevents pore pressure transmission. The
stabilisation mechanisms combine synergistically to provide inhibition close to that of non aqueous
uids.
At a specic temperature (cloud point) a water soluble glycol starts to change from soluble to
insoluble, forming a thermally activated emulsion (TAME). As the temperature increases the glycol
starts to come out of solution and the liquid begins clouding. Eventually the single phase liquid
separates into two separate phases.
Figure 1 Visualisation of Glycol Behaviour as a Function of Temperature
A B
A: Glycol and water together at ambient temperature the glycol is 100% water soluble
B: Solution is heated until the glycol reaches cloud point and becomes insoluble.
Cloud point is a function of the following variables:
Salinity of the solution Molecular weight and type
Type of electrolyte Concentration of the glycol

10
Section
11bwater base drilling fuids
Figure 2. Cloud Points for Various Glycols in KCl
Research has concluded that the glycol is associated by hydrogen bonding to the reactive sites of
clays. During this adsorption process, water is displaced and ordered structures of glycols are
formed. There is little depletion of the glycol from the uid when drilling, the glycol returning to
solution as the cutting moves up the wellbore and the uid temperature drops below the cloud
point. This supports the theory that the bonding between the clay and the glycol is transitory, and
there is some mechanism for association and disassociation due to changes in the environment.

It can be concluded that the shale inhibition and formation protection will be achieved by one or
both of the following mechanisms:
The glycol displaces water from adsorption sites on the clay minerals present in shales, especially in
the presence of potassium Ions.
Blocking the formation pores, preventing further ingress of invasive uids by clouding out
preventing pore pressure transmission.
The HYDRO-FOIL GEN 1 is compatible with and used with the same range of salts as the HYDRO-FOIL
system.
Benets of the HYDRO-FOIL GEN 1 system include
Effective inhibition
Environmentally acceptable in most areas
High lubricity uid
Ease of mixing and maintenance
Low dilution rates
Drilling depleted sands where differential
sticking is a potential problem
Increase protection against stuck pipe
Minimisation of bit and BHA balling

In order to cover the range of operational conditions Scomi Oiltools has developed a family of inhibitive
clouding glycols:-
Extension of polymeric efciency at
high temperatures
Enhance drill solid tolerance
Enhanced solids control efciency
Some protection against corrosion by
acid gasses
High exibility
Possibility of recycling the uid
Simple to use
Low to medium temperature applications
Medium temperature applications
Moderate to high salinity brines or higher temperatures
Saturated salt systems
PPRODUCT Application
CIRRUS CPG
STRATUS CPG
CUMULUS CPG
NIMBUS CPG
Table 6. Scomi Oiltools Glycol Product Range
11
Glycol and Salt Selection
The quantity and type of glycol used will depend both on the quantity and type of salt in the system as
well as on the temperature range over which the product is required to cloud out.
Normal glycol operational concentrations are in the range 0.5% to 5%.
Note although normal formulation usually contains only one type of glycol, the glycols are all
compatible and the use of a blend of two or more glycols, e.g. CIRRUS and STRATUS, is possible, should
this be required to full operational needs.
Formulation
An example of a HYDRO-FOIL GEN 1 formulation and mud properties is shown in Table 7.
Product Function Concentration Concentration
lb/bbl kg/m
3
drill water
salt
caustic soda / potassium
hydroxide
HYDRO-CAP XP
HYDRO-ZAN /
HYDRO-ZAN RD
HYDRO-PAC
HYDRO-STAR (CMS, HT,NF)
CUMULUS CPG / NIMBUS
CPG / CIRRUS CPG
DRILL-BAR
Property
Mud Weight
PV
YP
6 RPM
Gel
API
HTHP (@ Bottom Hole
Temp F)
0.85 bbl/bbl
5 - 109
0.75 1.5
0.75 1.0
1 - 2
4 - 8
0.85m3/m3
14.25 - 310
2.14 4.28
2.14 2.85
2.85 5.7
11.4 22.8
Table 7 Indicative HYDRO-FOIL GEN 1 formulation
In addition to the basic products supplementary products can be used to optimise the system for
specic use as detailed in Table 4 Supplementary products for HYDRO-FOIL System
Engineering Guidelines
The HYDRO-FOIL GEN 1 system is engineered in the same manner as the HYDRO-FOIL system
described in the previous section with the exception of the addition of the glycol.
Glycol Concentration
The glycol concentration is measured using the method described in Section 3 of this Handbook, Mud
Testing Procedures.
To pH 9.0
0.5 - 5% by volume
As required
Base Fluid
Water activity and density
pH modier
PHPA
Viscosier
Filtration Control
Filtration Control
GLYCOL
Barite
Typical Value
8.4 - 18.8
ALAP
30
8 - 20
7 / 10 / 12
<5
<12
Units
lb/gal
cP
lbs/100 ft
2
dial reading
lbs/100 ft
2
ml/30 min
ml/30 min
12
Section
11bwater base drilling fuids
Closely monitor the concentration, replacing lost product as required. Field evidence shows that the
rate of depletion is quite low as the product returns to solution with reduced wellbore temperature.
If 2 glycols are used during a section closely follow the mud program instructions on the relative
concentration of each product with depth.
HYDRO-FOIL S8
HYDRO-FOIL S8 is a salt/polymer system which has been enhanced by increasing the inhibition of the
system with the inclusion in the formulation of 5 -15% of sodium silicate, HYDRO-SIL S, or potassium
silicate, HYDRO-SIL K, The silicate is used to enhance inhibition and mechanical wellbore stability
particularly in highly fractured and unconsolidated formations. HYDRO-FOIL S8 can be used effectively
with temperatures to 250 F (125 C).
FEATURES AND BENEFITS
Effective shale inhibition.
Environmentally acceptable in most areas.
Ease of mixing and maintenance.
Increase protection against stuck pipe.
Minimisation of bit and BHA balling.
Enhanced solids control efciency.
Some protection against corrosion by acid gasses.
Simple to use.
Potential to seal micro-fractured shales.
LIMITATIONS
The principal advantage of the HYDRO-FOIL S8 system is that it is a very inhibitive water base
system. The main application for silicate uids is the replacement of oil and synthetic uids in difcult
drilling applications e.g. wells containing reactive claystones. Silicate uids exhibit a very high degree
of shale inhibition exceeding that of glycol uids, however, they have a number of limitations which
must be considered in uid selection.
Not highly lubricous when compared to
Bentonite mud.
High pH system.
High dilution rates may be required making
logistics challenging.
MECHANISM OF SHALE STABILISATION
The primary shale inhibition mechanisms in the HYDRO-FOIL S8 system are:
The prevention of pore pressure transmission by the precipitation of soluble silicates in the pore
spaces.
The cation exchange of ions, most commonly potassium, with the clay to reduce hydration and
swelling in conjunction with;
The use of cloud point glycols such as CIRRUS or CUMULUS CPG which also minimise the pore
pressure transmission.
Treated cuttings with potential to be used as
fertiliser.
Low corrosion rates.
Cheaper than glycol systems although
maintenance additions are expected to be
higher so this cost advantage can be eroded
if the rig has poor solids control.
Good environmental properties for offshore
applications.
High plastic viscosities, low tolerance of drill
solids.
Incompatible with ester based and natural oil
type lubricants.
Temperature limited to 250 F (125 C)
Density limited to 15 lb/bbl (1.80 SG)
13
Sealing of micro-fractured shales by silicates
As the soluble silicate laden ltrate comes into contact with or penetrates the low pH formation,
typically close to neutral at 7.0, the pH of the mud ltrate drops. The drop from pH 12 combined
with a reaction with divalent cations such as Mg++ and Ca++ present in the interstitial formation
water results in the formation of a silica gel which precipitates in the pore spaces forming a semi
permeable membrane blocking further penetration by the drilling uid. This reaction is essentially
irreversible and can rapidly deplete the silicate concentration. Sea water will reduce the effective
silicate concentration by approximately 4 lb/bbl (11.4 kg/m
3
). Surface adsorption onto minerals and
oxides will also deplete silicate levels.
The gel and the precipitate will quickly form an impenetrable layer which prevents further uid
invasion thus retarding the transmission of pressure from the hydrostatic mud column to the rock
matrix. The wellbore and the shale are effectively pressure isolated and Pore Pressure Transmission
is minimised. This latter phenomenon is critical in tectonically stressed and fractured shales, which
require sufcient over balance mud pressure to support the bore hole from collapsing.
The presence of solutes such as Potassium Acetate / Sulphate / Carbonate is synergetic and will
balance the mud and the shale activities to reduce the net ow of ions into the shale. The presence of K+
is useful as it will exchange for Ca
++
and Mg++ making these ions available to form precipitates.

It should be noted that oil and synthetic based uids cannot stabilise micro-fractured shales, as their
ltrates are restricted from entering or invading the shales due to capillary threshold pressures, which
are signicant for intact shales with small pores. Soluble silicates however have the ability to ll small
cracks and seal them.
14
Section
11bwater base drilling fuids
Formulation
Two example formulations and properties of the HYDRO-FOIL S8 system are detailed in Table 8.

Product Function Concentration Concentration
lb/bbl kg/m
3
drill water
salt (KCl)
soda ash
HYDRO-ZAN
HYDRO-PAC LV
HYDRO-STAR (CMS )
HYDRO-SIL S /
HYDRO-SIL K
OX-SCAV *
DRILL-BAR
Base Fluid
Water activity and density
Hardness Control
Viscosier
Filtration Controller
Filtration Controller
Shale Stabilisation
Oxygen Scavenger
Weighting Agent
0.74
30
<400 mg/l
0.75 - 1.0
2.5
2.0
11 % v/v
1.0 - 1.5
155
0.74 m
3
/m
3
85
<400 mg/l
2.1 2.85
7.1
5.7
11 % v/v
2.85 4.3
442
Table 8 Indicative HYDRO-FOIL S8 formulation
Mud Weight
PV
YP
6 rpm
Gel
API
pH
Lb/gal
cP
lbs/100 ft
2

dial reading
lbs/100 ft
2

ml/30 min
12
20 - 30
15 - 25
10
6 / 11
< 6
12 - 12.5
Property Units Typical Value
Table 9 Indicative HYDRO-FOIL S8 properties
*Note that an oxygen scavenger is included as part of the standard formulation. This is an integral part
of the system.
In addition to the basic products additional products can be used to optimise the system for specic use
as detailed in Table 9
sodium chloride
Isothiazolin
HYDRO-LUBE SL
CUMULUS CPG, NIMBUS CPG,
CIRRUS CPG, STRATUS CPG
HyPR-DRL
To increase inhibition and to
drill in Salt environment
Biocide
Lubricity
Cloud Point Glycol
ROP Enhancer
Up to 110 lb/bbl
441/ kg/m
3
500-1000 ppm
0 3%
0.5- 3%
0.5 - 5%
PRODUCT Function CONCENTRATION
Table 10 Supplementary products
Engineering Guidelines
The silicates used for drilling uids are solutions of water soluble glasses primarily potassium
silicates. A key element in their use for inhibition is the molecular ratio between the silica and
the potassium. The activity of potassium silicates generally ranges from 35 50% with a density
+
1.5 SG
(12.5 lb/gal).
While drilling the silicate concentration should ideally be maintained above 30 g/l SiO
2
by frequent
testing and addition of HYDRO-SIL (S or K). The depletion of silicate will increase when drilling
reactive claystones. It is recommended that the initial uid is made up to 50 g/l SiO
2
. It is also imperative
that that all premixes are mixed at this concentration.
15
The HYDRO-SIL (S or K) concentration in the system will deplete while drilling as the silicate interacts
with the cuttings and inhibits the wellbore. The concentration must be maintained by regular
treatments, ideally in the form of HYDRO-SIL (S or K) rich pre-mixes.
The state of the cuttings on the shakers is a good indication of the effectiveness of the system
inhibition, with the ideal cutting being rm and dry. Should the cuttings turn into toothpaste, this
a good indication that the silicate is depleting. The silicate concentration may be measured using the
test described in Section 3 of the Drilling Fluid Engineering Manual, WBM Mud Testing Procedures.
Mixing HYDRO-FOIL S8
Treat out the hardness with soda ash. Ensure hardness value is less than 100 mg/l.
Blend the brine KCl or NaCl.
Add the pH modiers as required.
Add the required volume of HYDRO-SIL (S or K)
Add the polymers, HYDRO-ZAN, HYDRO-STAR CMS and HYDRO-PAC LV. Care must be taken so as
not to mix these too fast such that sh eyes will form.
Add the required amounts of any bridging material.
Weight up the system.
Just prior to circulating, add the oxygen scavenger.
Hardness
It is recommended that the hardness level is minimised. Prior to mixing the system treat out Mg
++

and Ca
++
with soda ash and caustic soda, both to improve the efciency of the polymers and to
ensure that the silicate is not precipitated.
Fluid Loss Control
Maintain ltrate as per requirements by the use of OPTA-STAR PLUS and or HYDRO-PAC. The type
of HYDRO-PAC, R or LV will be decided by the operational requirements. Ideally it is recommended
that HYDRO-PAC LV is used in the initial formulation as this has minimal impact on the rheology
compared with the use of HYDRO-PAC R.
Use nitrogen cartridges in the lter press to avoid CO
2
reacting with silicates in the mud sample.
Rheology
Xanthan Gum, HYDRO-ZAN or HYDRO-ZAN RD, is recommended to achieve the desired rheological
properties as this product delivers improved low end rheology and shear thinning characteristics.
The shear thinning rheology from HYDRO-ZAN is preferred to the rheology achieved with the use of
products such as HYDRO-PAC R.
pH and Silicate Concentration
It is imperative that the pH is maintained in the range specied i.e. above 11.5. The silicates are only
soluble above a pH of 10.4 and when divalent cations are absent.
This system is pH sensitive and lowering the pH will cause the silicates to begin precipitating thus
increasing the plastic viscosity. By maintain the concentration of the silicate, the pH will be maintained.
However if required the pH can be maintained by the use of KOH additions provided the silicate
concentration is at the required concentration.
pH should only be measured with an accurately calibrated meter.
Increase the silicate concentration before trips as silicate depletion has been recorded during lengthy
static periods possibly due to high BHT or CO
2
.
16
Section
11bwater base drilling fuids
Density
Density is provided with DRILL-BAR and or calcium carbonate.
Oxygen Scavenger
OX-SCAV should be maintained, at all times, at 1.0 - 2.0 lb/bbl (2.85 - 5.7 kg/m
3
)to stabilise rheology.
Temperature Limitation and Treatment
The HYDRO-FOIL S8 system is effective up to a temperatures of 250 F(125 C), thermal stability being
dependent on the type and concentration of salt in the formulation and the use of oxygen scavengers
Lubricity
A characteristic of this system is its relatively high co-efcient of friction. Maintaining a low drill
solids content will prevent increases in torque. However the high pH makes the system incompatible
with conventional lubricants based on esters and natural oils. Normal ester and fatty acid lubricants
hydrolyse in such environments and grease out. Specically designed lubricants such as HYDRO-
LUBE SL can be used or HYDRO-LUBE SL PLUS a premium silicate lubricant for challenging directional
and ERD wells.
Glycols
The addition of cloud point glycols, such as CIRRUS or CUMULUS CPG, further enhances well bore
inhibition and lubricity as well as aiding in extending the thermal stability of the system to 250 F
(125 C).
CO
2
Contamination:
The silicate concentration will be depleted by contamination with CO
2
resulting in a fall in pH, an
increase in lter loss and gelation problems. Treat out any such contamination with KOH and soda ash
as well as maintain the pH and soluble silicates at the required level.
Reservoir Drilling
It must be highlighted that the silicate mechanism for inhibition will block pores in the reservoir
thus the use of HYDRO-FOIL S8 in the reservoir must be carefully considered. If the method for
completion involves the by passing of any potential damage by perforation then formation damage
is not an issue.
Drilling Practices
Good drilling practice must be followed at all times. As the silicate system is highly inhibitive cuttings
will not disperse into the system and must be removed from the wellbore. Pumping at maximum
ow rates, and back reaming on connections and trips is recommended especially in deviated wells.
Frequent wiper trips and pipe rotation should be used to ensure adequate hole cleaning is taking
place. Observe shakers closely for volume of returns and act immediately on any reduction in cuttings
volume.
Before POOH, circulate at least 1.5 x bottoms up to ensure that the hole has been thoroughly
cleaned.
Cementing
HYDRO-FOIL S8 is sensitive to cement contamination. Cement contamination increases the calcium
ion content which will cause the precipitation of the soluble silicates thus increasing lter loss,
increase gels, and rheology. It is not recommended to drill cement with the HYDRO-FOIL S8 system
unless it is unavoidable. If cement has to be drilled then the mud should be pre-treated using a low
molecular weight polyacrylate thinner such as HYDRO-THIN. Once the cement is drilled it will be
necessary to treat the system to rebuild the concentration of the silicate.
17
When cementing it is recommended that a large sacricial spacer is used to protect the uid system.
If possible on the rst circulation after a conventional cement job is over it is recommended that an
attempt is made to isolate any pre-ush and excess cement.
Before a cement job, consideration needs to be made whether to pre-treat the system with bicarbonate
to treat out possible contamination, however, be aware of the possibility of over treatment.
To prevent the contamination of the HYDRO-FOIL S8 system it is recommended, when displacing to
this system, that the old uid being displaced is used to drill out the cement and shoe.
Post HYDRO-FOIL S8
After the silicate system has been used ensure that the pits are effectively cleaned especially if
subsequent operations involve the use of prehydrated bentonite as the presence of silicate will prevent
the hydration of bentonite.
Solids Control Equipment
During displacements to HYDRO-FOIL S8 the shakers should be dressed with relatively coarse
screens to prevent polymer blinding of the screens and subsequent loss of uid. The shakers should
be quickly dressed with ner screens as the uid warms up and become fully sheared.
As previously mentioned this system is not solids tolerant. It is imperative that the drill solids are
maintained below 5%. This should be done by optimisation of the available solids control and the use
of dilution with pre-mixes.
Health and Safety
While soluble silicates are not classied as being dangerous or toxic they have a high alkalinity, pH
13.0 - 13.5, which means that they can be irritating to the skin and severely irritating to the eyes. Ensure
that rig crews are wearing the correct PPE as specied in the relevant MSDS for all chemicals handled.
At a minimum suitable gloves and eye/face protection should always be worn when handling soluble
silicates and silicate drilling uids.
Avoid breathing mists.
HyPR-FOIL S8

The disposal of drilled cuttings, particularly in sensitive areas on land, poses signicant environmental
burdens and very high costs for disposal and site remediation.
HyPR-FOIL S8 is a high performance silicate system engineered and patented, to provide a sodium
chloride free inhibitive drilling uid for environmentally sensitive environments and cuttings treatment,
providing a recycling route for the cuttings thus minimising environmental impact, in particular, for
land based operations.
HyPR-FOIL S8 is a silicate system wherein sodium and chloride ions have been replaced with potassium
cations from carbonates, sulphates, acetates, nitrates and / or hydroxides. Potentially harmful leachates
can be ultimately removed by precipitation as insoluble calcium salts.
Intensive development has identied high performing polymers to be used in the system to deliver
excellent low end rheology and uid loss.
The aim of the HyPR-FOIL S8 system development is to provide a low cost method of treating cuttings
and waste uids producing a reusable material offers potentially signicant savings, both nancial and
environmental.
18
Section
11bwater base drilling fuids
The treated cuttings and waste mud should yield soil material rich in potassium and nitrates which
enhance plant growth without the introduction of potentially harmful contaminants. Sodium and
chloride are excluded from the drilling uids formation minimising their concentration in the drill
cuttings. The fertiliser rich soil can be sold or given away to farmers or used for benecial ll.
Operators are presented with an opportunity for the reuse of drilling cuttings or disposed mud which
essentially eliminates long term disposal liability and cost.
Alternative sources of potassium are used in the system, potassium acetate, sulphate, formate and
carbonate which deliver similar inhibitive performance compared with KCl as shown in the following
graph.
100.00
98.92
99.00
98.00
97.00
96.00
95.00
94.00
93.00
92.00
91.00
90.00
SILIC-8L K2C03-D CH3C00K-F K2504-D
98.76
98.99
98.26
SHALE RECOVERY COMPARING DIFFERENT TYPES OF SILICATE
DRILLING FLUID
S
H
A
L
E

R
E
C
O
V
E
R
Y

(
%
)
SILICATE SYSTEM
Figure 3 Shale recovery system performance
HyPR-FOIL S8 System Components:
OPTA-STAR PLUS
A premium grade starch product, OPTA-STAR PLUS is very effective at reducing the uid loss and
providing a thin, tough and low permeability cake.
HYDRO-SIL K
Is a drilling uid water based shale inhibitor. It is a solution of potassium silicate oligomers with a
molecular ratio of 3.3 and density of 1.5 SG (12.5 lb/gal).
Potassium Sulphate / Potassium Carbonate / Potassium Acetate
Alternative sources of potassium ions to the more commonly used potassium chloride. They are
principally used to formulate water based uids where KCl cannot be used due to environmental
restrictions on the use of chloride ions.
HYDRO-ZAN
Xanthan gum used for increasing the rheological parameters in water-based drilling uids. Small
quantities provide excellent viscosity for suspending weighting material for all water-based drilling
uids systems. HYDRO-ZAN has the unique ability to produce a uid that is highly shear-thinning and
develops a true gel structure.
HYDRO-PAC LV or HYDRO-STAR CMS
High quality polyanionic cellulose polymer or carboxymethyl starch (CMS), are water based ltration
controllers which do not produce the viscosity associated with regular grade Pac materials.
19
OX-SCAV
A formulated sulphite-based chemical in liquid form used to scavenge oxygen. It reacts with and eliminates
dissolved oxygen as a possible source of corrosion in drilling mud systems. OX-SCAV can be used in all
freshwater and saltwater drilling uids.
DRILL-BAR
Is a nely ground, low abrasion and high purity API barite with the chemical formula, BaSO
4
, used to
increase the density of all types of drilling uids.
Potassium Hydroxide
KOH, is used primarily as a pH modier and as an alternative to caustic soda. It acts as source of potassium
ions in a water based mud system.
TYPICAL FORMULATION
Product Unit Concentration Concentration
lb/bbl kg/m
3
Drill-water
HYDRO-SIL K
Potassium Sulphate
Potassium Carbonate
HYDRO-ZAN
HYDRO-PAC LV or
HYDRO-STAR CMS
OPTA-STAR PLUS
OX-SCAV *
DRILL-BAR
Potassium Hydroxide
bbl / litres
lb/bbl
lb/bbl
lb/bbl
lb/bbl
lb/bbl
lb/bbl
lb/bbl
lb/bbl
lb/bbl
0.82 bbl
38
35
2
1.5
2.5
6
1
42
If required
0.82 m
3
/m
3
108
100
5.7
4.3
7.1
17.1
2.85
120
If required
*Note that an oxygen scavenger is included as part of the standard formulation.
TYPICAL PROPERTIES AFTER HOT ROLLING AT 194 F FOR 16 HOURS
10.0
75
54
44
29
12
10
21
33
9
11
12.1
4.0
12.3
Parameter Value
Mud Weight (lb/gal)
Rheology
600 RPM
300 RPM
200 RPM
100 RPM
6 RPM
3 RPM
PV (cP)
YP (lb/100 ft
2
)
Gel 10 sec (lb/100 ft
2
)
Gel 10 min (lb/100 ft
2
)
pH Mud
API Filtrate (cc/30min)
pH Filtrate
Engineering Guidelines
Silicate system guidelines are detailed in the previous section, HYDRO-FOIL S8. The HyPR-FOIL S8 system
is run in the same fashion with the exception of the different salts and chemicals as detailed above.
20
Section
11bwater base drilling fuids
HyPR-DRILL
high performance water base mud system
A large percentage of drilling problems and associated NPT are caused by unstable clay and shale
formations, > 40% in GOM. Rig time is lost in dealing with well bore instability problems which can result
in loss of the interval and costly sidetracks.
Non aqueous drilling uids or NAF provide the most inhibitive environment for drilling reactive
shales and clays and deliver superior drilling and all round performance when compared with WBM.
NAF are expensive, and many locations require expensive treatment and disposal procedures for dealing
with cuttings and other drilling wastes as legislated by nearly all oil and gas producing countries
The Drilling Fluids industry has been constantly conducting research to develop more inhibitive
water based uids with enhanced performance. The use of water based mud results in lower
environmental costs and potentially reduced drilling costs, but arguably the most signicant
contribution is reduction of unending long term liabilities associated with NAF soaked cuttings piles,
liquid storage, disposal sites, and potential damage to water sources. In particular this ongoing
development of water based replacements for NAF has focused on High Performance Water Base Muds,
HPWBM
HyPR-DRILL is an advanced and cost effective drilling uid system which provides an inhibitive
environment comparable to that of NAF for drilling reactive formations and maintaining wellbore
stability
PERFORMANCE
prevents hydration of chemically
reactive formation
controls dispersion of clays
provides anti-accretion properties,
minimising balling of the BHA
ADVANTAGE
stable well-bore
low dilution rate
increased ROP
in-gauge hole
HyPR-DRILL is specically engineered to serve a broad range of high performance drilling uid
applications both offshore and on land:-
1. A fresh water formulation for use in environments where low to zero chloride contents are required
e.g. for on land disposal of drilling wastes
2. An inhibitive salt formulation for all drilling applications e.g. potassium chloride / acetate / sulphate
etc.,
3. A high salt formulation, typically 20% NaCl, for deep water drilling to inhibit hydrate formation.
Water and ions from drilling uids diffuse into clays and shale by either pressure difference or
osmotically due to electrolytic imbalance. This leads to hydration and swelling of the clay/shale matrix
which can destabilise the wellbore and allow clay cuttings to swell and disperse into the uid system.
maintains clean cutters at the bit face,
maximizing penetration rate
drill cuttings remain rm and intact and are
easier to remove with the primary solids
control equipment
provides excellent lubricating properties
good cementation providing zonal isolation
reduced drill solids content
reduced torque & drag
optimised drilling performance
21
HyPR-DRILL inhibits hydration of the clays using a combination of a quaternary ammonium salt and
a low molecular weight encapsulating terpolymer. This superior reduction in shale hydration is
demonstrated in Figures 1, 2 and 3 which compare the linear expansion of shales exposed to the
HyPR-DRILL system with other uid types including competitors HPWBM systems These gures clearly
show that only invert emulsion SBM reduced shale swelling to a greater degree.
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
0 1000 2000 3000
P
E
R
C
E
N
T

E
X
P
A
N
S
I
O
N
Bentonite
TIME (minutes)
LINEAR EXPANSION OF SHALE - HyPR-DRILL (FRESHWATER)
SBM PHPA/GLYCOL
HYPR-DRILL Competitor A Competitor B
Figure 4. HyPR-DRILL fresh water formulation vs. other inhibitive drilling uids.
P
E
R
C
E
N
T

E
X
P
A
N
S
I
O
N
TIME (minutes)
LINEAR EXPANSION OF SHALE - HyPR-DRILL (6% KCI)
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
0 1000 2000 3000
T
Bentonite SBM PHPA/GLYCOL HYPR-DRILL
Figure 5. HyPR-DRILL 6% KCl formulation vs. other inhibitive drilling uids.
22
Section
11bwater base drilling fuids
Stability tests consistently demonstrate shale recovery > 95 % with all HyPR-DRILL applications.
HyPR-DRILL PRODUCTS
The HyPR-DRILL system comprises several core components HyPR-HIB, HyPR-CAP, HyPR-DRL and
CUMULUS CPG in combination with a wide range of standard drilling uid additives.
HyPR-DRILL should be formulated specically for each application to ensure that the correct level
of inhibition is provided.
HyPR-HIB
A quaternary ammonium salt which prevents water absorption by shales, suppressing hydration of
shales and clays and restricting dispersion. Cuttings are transported by the inhibitive mud to the
primary solids control equipment rm and intact for efcient removal. Due to the high level of inhibition
the HyPR-DRILL dilution requirements are lower than conventional water base uids which reduces
overall cost of drilling uid and waste disposal. HyPR-HIB is a liquid which is completely soluble
in water and easy to mix. HyPR-HIB is used at a minimum concentration of 2% v/v. This can be increased
to 5% v/v depending on the formation reactivity. The minimum concentration of 2% is recommended
only to supplement other inhibitive cations.
HyPR-CAP
A very low molecular weight acrylamide terpolymer which encapsulates shale and clay cuttings as
they are formed, preventing water adsorption. Cuttings dispersion and build up of low gravity solids
in the system is reduced. These intact cuttings are more efciently removed by the shale shakers.
HyPR-CAP is a granular powder used at of 1 4 lb/bbl (2.85 11.4 kg/m
3
). Concentration is dependent
upon the reactivity of the formations being drilled with maintenance treatment dependent on the
ROP. HyPR-CAP encapsulates cuttings and is continuously but slowly depleted from the system and
must be replaced. HyPR-CAP being an acrylamide terpolymer is susceptible to hydrolysation at
high pH. The system pH must be maintained below 9.5 and drilling of cement should be avoided. When
cement has to be drilled with the HyPR-DRILL pre-treat with citric acid and sodium bicarbonate of
soda and replace the HyPR-CAP with fresh product as soon as the pH of the system is within
specication.
P
E
R
C
E
N
T

E
X
P
A
N
S
I
O
N
TIME (minutes)
LINEAR EXPANSION OF SHALE - HyPR-DRILL (20% NaCI)
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
0 1000 2000 3000
Bentonite SBM PHPA/GLYCOL
HYPR-DRILL Competitor A Competitor B
Figure 7. HyPR-DRILL 20% NaCl formulation vs. other inhibitive drilling uids.
23
HyPR-DRL
A proprietary blend of surfactants and other products which forms a tough lubricating lm on the metal
preventing water wet drill cuttings from adhering to metal surfaces. PDC cutter fouling, bit balling and
cuttings accretion on the bottom hole assembly is prevented. HyPR-DRL is a liquid product used at 2
4% v/v. It is recommended that the product be added on a continuous basis so that fresh product is
constantly available at the bit and BHA to maximise the lming effect.
CUMULUS CPG
A cloud point glycol used for inhibiting clay and shale formations and is a key component of
Scomi Oiltools well known HYDRO-FOIL GEN1 system. The synergism of HyPR-HIB and HyPR-CAP
with CUMULUS CPG provides the HyPR-DRILL system with signicantly enhanced inhibitive
characteristics. CUMULUS CPG clouds out on the formation and cuttings, blocking diffusion of water
into the shale matrix effectively controlling swelling and dispersion. CUMULUS CPG provides increased
lubricating properties along with anti accretion character to the drilling uid. It is used at a minimum
level of 3% by volume.
These four products form the core of the HyPR-DRILL system and. Only formulations containing these
four products with the specied minimum dosage, or higher, will be classed as a HyPR-DRILL system.
Other products
SODA ASH
Is used for treating out Ca
2+
and Mg
2+
ions from the make up water. Total hardness in the makeup
water should be below 400 mg/l.
CAUSTIC SODA,
Sodium hydroxide, is used to maintain the pH at a level of
+
9.0. Ensure that pH is maintained below
a maximum of 9.5 to prevent hydrolysing of the acrylamide polymers
HYDRO-ZAN
Xanthan polymer, provides the required rheological properties for the uid. Normal usage is in the
range of 1 - 2 lb/bbl, (2.8 5.6 kg/m
3
).
HYDRO-ZAN PLUS
Premium grade Xanthan polymer, provides the required rheological properties for the uid. Normal
usage is in the range of 1 1.5 lb/bbl, (2.8 4.3 kg/m
3
).
HYDRO-STAR NF
Non-fermenting starch, uid loss reducer is used at 4 - 6 lb/bbl (11 17 kg/m
3
).
OPTA-STAR PLUS
A premium grade starch product, OPTA-STAR PLUS is very effective in reducing the uid loss and
providing a thin, tough and low permeability cake.
KCl
Or other potassium based salts, may be used to provide cation exchange capability for swelling
sodium based clays. KCl is mixed at 6 - 8% by weight but may be used at higher concentrations
as determined by planning requirements or as preferred by some operators. KCl should be measured
using an ion selective electrode or by the Perchlorate analytical method.
24
Section
11bwater base drilling fuids
NaCl
Can be added at 20% to provide thermodynamic suppression of hydrate formation in deep water
drilling. KCl, CUMULUS CPG, and HyPR-HIB also provide a degree of hydrate suppression.
LCM usage with HyPR-DRILL system
There are no restrictions on the use of LCM.
HSE:
As with all chemicals always review the MSDS for safe handling procedures for each system
component. There are no specic HSE issues with the HyPR-DRILL system.
MIXING PROCEDURE for HyPR-DRILL system:
Clean tanks thoroughly.
Fill water to the appropriate level leaving sufcient margin for volume increase from adding chemicals.
Calculate the volume of chemicals required as per the formulation.
Add soda ash to reduce total hardness to below 400 mg/l.
Mix caustic soda to get a pH of 9.0.
Mix OPTA-STAR PLUS
Add HYDRO-ZAN / HYDRO-ZAN PLUS, and shear the uid for some time to ensure that the
polymers yield. 75% of the required quantity of HYDRO-ZAN / HYDRO-ZAN PLUS may be added to
facilitate addition of the other products.
Mix HyPR-HIB.
Add HyPR-DRL
Treat with CUMULUS CPG.
Slowly pour in HyPR-CAP. The product should be added gradually to avoid formation of sh eyes
and the uid should be well sheared.
Add KCl if required as per the formulation.
Mix NaCl if required as per the formulation.
Add barite to the required drilling uid density.
Shear the system well to make it homogenous.
Add the balance of HYDRO-ZAN / HYDRO-ZAN PLUS.
Adjust pH to 9.0 with caustic soda if required
Typical HyPR-DRILL Formulation and Parameters with fresh water
FORMULATION for 1 bbl and 1 m
3
of drilling uid:
water
soda ash
caustic soda
OPTA-STAR PLUS
HYDRO-ZAN PLUS
lb/bbl
0.85 bbl/bbl
0.2
0.5
4.0
1.5
kg/m
3
0.85 m
3
/m
3
.56
1.4
11.2
4.3
Additive Concentration
25
HyPR-HIB
HyPR-DRL
HyPR-FOIL
CUMULUS CPG
3% v/v
3% v/v
3
3% v/v
3% v/v
3% v/v
3
3% v/v
Additive Concentration
PARAMETERS after hot rolling for 16 hours @ 200 F/ 93 C
Density
Fann-VG Meter 6 / 3 rpm
PV
Yield Point
Gel 10 sec
Gel 10 min
API Filtrate
pH
lb/gal
SG
dial rotation
cP
lb/100 ft
2
lb/100 ft
2
lb/100 ft
2
ml / 30 mins.
10.0
1.20
5 / 4
16
23
4
4
4
9.5
Parameter Unit Value
salt polymer
System Description
Salt-based muds are muds containing varying amounts of predominantly sodium chloride ranging from
10,000 mg/l of NaCl up to saturation.
Salt muds maybe be classied as:
1. Saturated Salt Muds 315,000 mg/l
2. Saltwater Muds 25,000 315,000 mg/l
3. Brackish-Water Muds 10,000 25,000 mg/l
Saturated Salt Muds are primarily used to prevent excessive hole enlargement while drilling massive
salt beds. They can also be used to reduce dispersion and hydration of shales and clays.
Saltwater muds are often prepared from fresh water or bentonite-water muds. These muds
normally contain low solids concentrations, have low densities, have minimal chemical treatment,
and possess low viscosities and high uid losses. Saltwater muds may be prepared intentionally
with salt to drill troublesome shale sections. They are used as an inhibitive mud to decrease dispersion
and viscosity build-up from drilled solids.
In many areas, because of economics or lack of sufcient fresh water, brackish water often is used as
the makeup water for drilling uids. These muds generally are termed brackish-water if their salt content
is between 10,000 to 15,000 mg/l. They are usually found in inland bay areas or marshes.
The polymers and products used for the salt systems are the same as those used for the HYDRO-FOIL
systems.
A typical formulation for a salt saturated system is shown in Table 10.
26
Section
11bwater base drilling fuids
Table 11 Typical saturated salt formulation
For the saltwater and brackish water systems the product concentrations will vary with the salt
concentration, the higher salt systems generally requiring increased concentrations.
Supplementary products which are used with salt muds include:-
Isothiazolin
HYDRO-LUBE, LUBRI- GREEN
HYDRO-CAP XP
HyPR-DRL
Biocide
Lubricity
Shale encapsulation
ROP enhancer
500 1000 ppm
0 3%
1 2 lb/bbl
2.85 5.7 kg/m
3
0.5 5 %
Product Function Concentration
Table 12 Supplementary products
Engineering guidelines
The chloride content of saturated salt muds is 192,000 mg/l (315,000 mg/l NaCl) at saturation. As the
temperature of the mud increases, more salt is able to go into solution. This means that a uid which
is saturated under surface conditions may not be saturated at downhole temperatures and can cause
substantial washout in a salt zone due to increased salt solubility.
Mixing salt muds
Prehydrate DRILL-GEL at 20 30 lb/bbl (57 - 85.5 kg/m
3
) in freshwater
Mix the salt brine to the required concentration
Treat out the calcium from the mix water with the required amount of soda ash
Raise the pH of the water with caustic soda to above 10.5 as this will precipitate any magnesium and
other divalent ions
Mix in the required amount of prehydrated DRILL-GEL
Add the required uid loss control agent e.g. HYDRO-STAR
Add defoamer as required
Weight up the system with DRILL-BAR
Product Function Concentration Concentration
lb/bbl kg/m
3
HYDRO-ZAN
HYDRO-PAC LV
HYDRO-STAR /
HYDRO-STARCH /
HYDRO-STAR CMS
HYDRO-SPERSE
HYDRO-DEFOAM A
Viscosifier
Filtration Control
Filtration Control
Deflocculant
Defoamer
0.75 1.0
0.5 2.5
2.0
1 6
2.14 2.85
1.43 7.13
5.7
2.85 17.12
As required
27
If the system is converted from an existing mud it is recommended that the following treatment
levels are determined by pilot testing.
Break over will require a minimum of three circulations (two to add all the chemicals evenly and one
to ensure that the uid is thin) Adjust pH to > 10.5 and treat out hardness with caustic soda and
soda ash
Reduce the MBT to 10 -15 lb/bbl (28.5 - 42.3 kg/m
3
) by dilution and if dumping necessary
Add deocculant HYDRO-SPERSE as required
Add sodium chloride at + 110 lb/bbl (313.5 kg/m
3
) to saturation
Adjust uid loss with HYDRO-STAR or HYDRO-PAC LV
Adjust rheology with prehydrated DRILL-GEL or HYDRO-ZAN
Weight up the system with DRILL-BAR

pH
These muds do not require pH to function however it is a common practice to maintain the pH of the
mud from 10.5 12.0 with additions of caustic soda. Saturated salt muds require larger additions of
caustic soda to maintain a higher pH than do freshwater muds. Maintaining a 10.5 -12 pH offers several
advantages:
Deocculants are more effective
Corrosion is reduced
Lower concentrations of ltration control additives are required when Ca
++
and Mg
++
solubility is
reduced
Foaming tendency is lessened
Mud is generally more stable
Hardness
Saturated salt muds will normally contain soluble calcium due to the formations penetrated and the
type of makeup water used. Generally, the presence of calcium does not produce detrimental effects
on the mud; except when the pH is increased beyond 12.0 when the uid loss will be difcult to control.
Foaming
Saturated salt muds are characterised by foaming. Foaming is generally restricted to surface foam and
is not troublesome unless aggravated by mechanical agitation. The degree of foaming may sometimes
be decreased by increasing the alkalinity of the mud (Pm). A defoaming agent may be necessary.
Temperature Stability
The temperature limitation of saturated salt muds is around 250 F (125 C) and is normally dictated by
the ltration control additives used.
Fluid Loss Control
Ca
++
and Mg
++
hardness do not adversely affect ltration control in Saturated Salt Muds when using
HYDRO-STARCH however, when HYDRO-PAC is used, hardness should be below 400 mg/l.
OPTA-FLO
The selection of drilling uids to drill reservoir sections is critical to the success of any well in order
to minimise or prevent damage to the reservoir rock. Formation damage is caused by various
mechanisms including nes migration, clay swelling, emulsion blocking and solids invasion all of
which can result in poor completions and loss of production. A t for purpose Drill In Fluid, DIF,
must provide inhibition/wellbore stability, lubricity, bridging and solids suspension yet provide lter-
cakes which are easily removed in the production process.
28
Section
11bwater base drilling fuids
OPTA-FLO is a water based Drill In Fluid (DIF) designed to drill reservoir sections with zero to
minimal formation damage. OPTA-FLO DIF systems are based on bridging methods which provide a
positive control of ltrate and mud leak off over a wide permeability range, into the formation, while
providing lter-cakes which are readily removed by the produced uids. OPTA-FLO systems are
exible and can be designed for specic reservoirs based on the petro-physical properties of the rock
as well as the pore uid chemistry.
OPTA-FLO systems are environmentally safe with no special HSE requirements.
Specially selected enzyme treatment systems may also be utilised for post completion treatments to
enhance the removal of the lter cake.
Damage mechanisms while drilling reservoirs include:
uid invasion
solids invasion
incompatible ltrate and pore uid chemistry leading to:-
emulsion blocking
interstitial clay hydration
In-situ nes migration
wrong or incorrect stimulation methods
Subsequent lter cake may not be easily lifted off and completely removed which can adversely affect
the well production.
OPTA-FLO is formulated to ensure
uid invasion is minimised
solids do not impair the reservoir permeability and are acid soluble
ltrate compatibility with pore uids
the lter cake is easily removed at low lift off pressure during production
deliver or exceed prognosed well productivity
OPTA-FLO is a high performance drilling uid with the following characteristics;
provides cutting suspension for hole cleaning
thin, tough and resilient low permeability lter cake
lubricity to minimise drag and torque in directional and horizontal wells
engineered PSD of bridging agents to provide effective sealing
non damaging uid
The OPTA-FLO system can be used to drill reservoirs with various well proles :
directional wells
extended reach wells
horizontal wells
and for wells with a wide range of completion strategies
cased hole completion
slotted and perforated liner
expandable slotted screen
open hole gravel pack
barefoot completions
29
The OPTA-FLOsystem provides the following features and benets:
Features:
Non-damaging
Low Skin
Low lift off pressure
Low permeability, tough, thin &
resilient lter cake
High lubricity / low friction factors
Environmentally compliant
Works with any completion tool assembly
OPTA-FLO System Components:
OPTA-VIS
A premium quality non xanthan based viscosier has been selected for use in the OPTA-FLO system.
OPTA-VIS is readily dispersible in makeup water, is highly shear thinning, does not leave any residue
and may be completely removed with acid treatments . OPTA-VIS increases the LSRV & LSYP to
provide excellent suspension properties for effective hole cleaning.
OPTA-ZAN
A high purity claried xanthan gum used in the OPTA-FLO system uid as a viscosier. Small quantities
provide viscosity and weight material suspension for all water-based drilling uids systems. OPTA-
ZAN has the unique ability to produce a uid that is highly shear-thinning and develops a true gel
structure.
OPTA-STAR PLUS
A premium grade starch product developed for applications in DIF, OPTA-STAR PLUS is very
effective at reducing the uid loss and providing a thin, tough and low permeability cake. The lter
cake formed is lifted off with low pressures.
OPTA-CARB
Sized calcium carbonate particles, ground marble. High grade marble is used to provide particles
which exhibit minimal attrition while drilling. A common occurrence with softer limestone. Proprietary
software HyPR-SIZER is used to engineer the OPTA-CARB PSD to match, as closely as possible,
the reservoir pore size distribution thus providing an effective sealing on the formation surface to
minimising uid and/or solid invasion of the pay zone.
OPTA-LUBE CB
An environmental friendly and non-damaging lubricant which increases the lubricity of the system
and reduces the torque and drag especially in directional and horizontal wells.
OPTA-ZYME S
An alpha-amylase enzyme designed to remove polymer damage caused by the starch based
products used in the OPTA-FLO Drill-In uids system primarily in horizontal and multilateral wells.
As the starch is broken down by the enzymes the bridging agents present in the lter cake will be
readily dispersed and may even be completely removed by additional treatments. All enzyme
treatments should be customised in the laboratory before use in the eld.
Benets:
High return permeability
High production
No blockage with cake pieces
Low leak off and minimum chances of
stuck pipe
Low torque and drag
Low disposal cost
Wide exibility in usage
30
Section
11bwater base drilling fuids
OTHER PRODUCTS:
KCl
Potassium chloride is used as an clay / shale inhibitor where clay and or shale formations are inter
layered in the producing sand. The concentration required will be based on the extent of the clay /
shale layers but will generally vary from 3 8% in OPTA-FLO systems. KCl should not be used if
Kaolinite is present. KCl can destabilise Kaolinite in shales and causing Kaolinitic nes to mobilise
and migrate in reservoir rocks.
Glutaraldehyde
OPTA-STAR PLUS and OPTA-ZAN may be subject to bacterial degradation in under saturated brines.
A biocide such as Glutaraldehyde should be used in the system.
Inhibition
While some inhibition, sufcient for most reservoirs, will be provided by the salt selected for the
system, many reservoirs which have shales present in the formation may require additional inhibition.
The OPTA-FLO system is compatible with the inhibitive cloud point glycols CIRRUS and CUMULUS
as well as the amine inhibitor, HyPR-HIB. These products will increase the inhibitive nature of the
uid and will have minimal impact on the uids properties. However it is recommended that these
products are only added to the OPTA-FLO after their effects on the reservoir have been conrmed.
Formulation
An example of an OPTA-FLO formulation and associated properties is shown in Table 13. All formulations
must be engineered to meet characteristics of individual reservoirs.
Product Concentration
lb/bbl kg/m
3
water
soda ash
caustic soda
KCl
OPTA-VIS
OPTA-STAR PLUS
OPTA-CARB
Parameter
Density
PV
Yield Point
6 rpm
Brookfield Viscosity
API Filtrate
0.85 bbl/bbl
0.2
0.5
22
1 - 2
4 - 6
30 - 50
Unit
lb/gal /SG
cP
lb/100 ft
2
Dial reading
cP
ml / 30 mins.
0.85 m
3
/m
3
0.6
1.4
62.7
2.85 5.7
11.2 17.1
4.3
Typical Value
9.4 / 1.13
12 - 16
12 - 20
> 10
> 40,000
<4
Mixing Guide lines:
The OPTA-FLO system is readily mixed at the wellsite with no specialised equipment required. It is
critical that the OPTA-FLO system is kept clean to avoid compromising its non-damaging characteristics.
Care must be taken to isolate the system from other WBM or NAF to prevent contamination.
31
Clean the mud tanks thoroughly
Flush all the hopper and mixing lines
Add appropriate amount of water (or brine) in the tank (NB polymers will yield faster in fresh
water mixing in brine will require a longer time to fully hydrate, however, the use of brine or fresh
water will depend on the practicality of mixing at the wellsite or mud plant)
Add biocide
Determine total hardness of water, calculate and mix soda ash required to treat the hardness to
below 200 mg/l
Citric acid may be added at this point to lower the pH to 3 to 4 for maximum polymer dispersion;
this is optional and not always required
Add OPTA-VIS or OPTA-ZAN ensuring sh eyes are not formed
Shear for one to two hours if time permits
Add NaOH, KOH or MgO to achieve a pH of +/- 9.0 9.5 NB. Use only MgO in high calcium uids,
> 1,000 mg/l
Add salts, including KCl for inhibition, if brine not used previously
Mix OPTA-STAR PLUS
Mix OPTA-CARB
Add additional products after mud has fully sheared and hydrated, lubricant, stabilisers etc.,
Treatment and maintenance of OPTA-FLO Systems
OPTA-FLO uids are polymer based systems with similar maintenance and treatment requirements
to other water base polymer systems, however, to ensure the minimal damaging aspects of the uids,
the system formulation should be maintained throughout. As treatment is required it is recommended
that, as far as possible, additions either as dilution or displacement uid should be made with whole
mud / premix. Pilot testing of additives is also recommended to prevent any undesired effects which may
affect return permeability.
It is strongly recommended that, another uid should be used to drill cement plugs and casing shoes
before displacing to OPTA-FLO to preserve the quality of polymers which can be adversely affected
by drilling cement.
Density
OPTA-FLO uid density is primarily determined by the density of the brine used as the base uid
with approximately + 0.6 lb/bbl (0.07 SG) from the system components. Typical brines used are
potassium or sodium chloride, with higher densities provided by the use of formate brines. Additionally
viscosity may be provided by further additions of OPTA-CARB but the use of clear brines is preferred in
order that the bridging agent concentration is not compromised- DO NOT USE BARITE.
Rheology
The OPTA-FLO system exhibits exceptional rheological characteristics and does not ordinarily
require supplemental additions of viscosier although the LSRV may decrease while drilling, due to
shear and temperature degradation, oxidation (depending on formulation and temperature. If
required OPTA-ZAN or OPTA-VIS may be added directly to the system pilot testing is recommended
to determine treatment level to minimise polymer additions.
Fluid Loss
The rapid mechanism for laying down lter cake ensures that there is a low spurt loss and low ltrate
invasion. Despite the relative low concentration of polymer ltration controllers this uid system has
tight lter loss due to the synergetic relationship between the polymers and the bridging materials.
Initial uid loss should be
+
4 ml/30 minutes and will generally decrease as the uid is circulated.
Additional OPTA-STAR PLUS may be added as needed to further reduce the uid loss.
32
Section
11bwater base drilling fuids
pH
The pH of the system should be maintained within the 8.5 - 9.5 range using NaOH, KOH or MgO
which will generally be determined by the brine phase selected. MgO is recommended as a pH buffer
for most systems but particularly so in calcium based systems where the calcium level is > 1,000 mg/l.
Pilot testing should be performed to determine the exact quantity needed in all systems.
If cement contamination occurs citric acid may be used to reduce the pH to around 10 do not use acid
to reduce the pH further as it will be dissipated on the calcium carbonate in the system.
MBT
The MBT values should be checked frequently as the initial system is built with no reactive clays. Increases
in MBT values indicate that shale stringers are being drilled in the production formation. Accurate
checking on MBT levels will help determine when displacement volumes are required to keep the
system in the optimum range. Present lab data indicates a severe reduction in return permeability when
MBT values are allowed to increase.
Solids control
Drill solids in the circulating system must be eliminated or maintained at the lowest possible level as
these solids will negatively impact the uid properties and the lter cake formation reducing the non
damaging nature of the system.
As there is no barite in the system there are no high gravity solids. The bridging material, calcium
carbonate, is the same density of drill solids. It is therefore imperative that the solids content be
monitored and the drill solids content differentiated from that of calcium carbonate.
It must be highlighted that while the primarily purpose of solids control equipment is to remove drill
solids, bridging materials will also be removed negating the non damaging nature of the uids. A
balance has to be struck between solids removal and controlling the effects of drill solids contamination
by dilution. Fresh bridging agents are frequently added on a continuous basis to replace material lost
through solids control equipment.
Modern Linear Motion shakers are the preferred option with screen selection determined by OPTA-
CARB particle size and concentration, as well as hole size, cutting size, ROP and ow rate. Observe for
any damage to screens. Torn screens should be changed IMMEDIATELY.
Do not use Hydro-cyclones as OPTA-CARB will be discarded, unless excessive sand build up requires
intermittent use to reduce the sand content, in which case fresh additions of bridging agent must be
made to maintain the concentration. The hydro-cyclone discharge must be tested to ensure that
excessive amounts of bridging material are not being discarded.
The use of any equipment requiring centrifugal pumps should be minimised because the excessive
shear can degrade the polymers and solids prematurely. Do not leave the mud running through the
mixing system.
Corrosion
OPTA-FLO systems are not corrosive but corrosion issues might arise due to formation type, uids and
temperature. The combination of alkalinity and bacterial control in the system may be supplemented
with oxygen scavengers, OX-SCAV, or lming forming inhibitors.
Temperature stability
In unsaturated systems polymer stability will be limited to < 250 F (121 C) and to
+
300 F (
+
149 C) in
saturated and formate systems.
33
Temperature stability is improved with the use of:
Oxygen scavengers (OX-SCAV)
pH buffered to > 9.0 with MgO
HYDRO-BUFF a pH buffer and polymer extender for water base drilling uids used when temperatures
range above 280 F (137 C).

All formulations must be tested and approved in the lab to determine the correct treatment levels for the
thermal stability desired.
Displacement
Cement the casing above the pay zone. RIH to TD with bit and casing scrapers. Drill the cement to within
5 ft (2 m) of the casing shoe using the existing mud system. Circulate and condition mud to prepare for
displacement.
During all displacement operations rotate and reciprocate the drillstring to ensure the low side of the hole
is clean.
Displacement from SBM to OPTA-FLO
Pump clean up pill sequence as set out in the detailed well cleanup programme:-
As a guide:
1. Pump base oil uid pill, 15 50 bbl ( 2 8 m
3
)
2. Pump viscous pill containing clean up surfactant
3. Pump clean up pill with surfactant
4. Pump 50 bbl (8 m
3
) viscosied brine (same density as OPTA-FLO)
5. Pump and displace OPTA-FLO
Once the OPTA-FLO system is observed at the shakers, discontinue pumping and clean the ow-line,
shaker pits, and return ditch prior to initiating drilling. At this point, change screens on all solids control
equipment.
Displacement from WBM to OPTA-FLO
Pump clean up pill sequence as set out in well cleanup programme:-
As a guide:
1. Pump 100 bbl (16 m
3
) seawater pill containing detergent to clean casing
2. Pump 50 bbl (8 m
3
) viscosied brine (same density as OPTA-FLO)
3. Pump and displace OPTA-FLO
If possible pump 1 - 2 hole volumes of seawater to fully clean the casing before displacement to OPTA-
FLO. Once the OPTA-FLOsystem is observed at the shakers, discontinue pumping and clean the ow-
line, shaker pits, and return ditch prior to initiating drilling. At this point, change screens on all solids
control equipment.
34
Section
11bwater base drilling fuids
From OOPTA-FLO to Brine
1. After reaching TD circulate the hole clean, minimum of one circulation and make a wiper trip into
casing.
2. Return to bottom and circulate until hole is clean.
3. Displace to either brine or a fresh solids free OPTA-FLO system containing no bridging agent
minimum displacement = open hole + 500 (150m) inside casing / liner.
4. If open hole displaced with solids free system then pull into casing / liner and displace to ltered
completion brine.
5. Displace brine / OPTA-FLO out of the well as detailed in the completion programme.
Field Trouble Shooting Guideline
High PV
High YP
High Gels
High API Fluid loss
Foaming
Lubricity
Low values of LSRV & YP
Solid build up
Inefcient or inadequate
solid removal
Solid build up
Increase MBT value
High LGS
High Solids
Shift in particle size.
Polymers degrading
Bacterial problem
Surface tension
Well geometry
BHA conguration
Polymers degrading
Excess water added
through shaker cleaning
or from other places
Check Shaker screens for holes
Use ner screens
Dilute the system with premix
Use other SCE judiciously
As above
Dump & dilute with premix
As above
Dump & dilute with premix
Add OPTA-CARB
Add OPTA-STAR PLUS
Add bio-cide
Maintain pH above 9
Add defoamer
Add OPTA-LUBE CB
Mix OPTA-VIS or OPTA-ZAN
Pilot test to determine optimum
treatment
Identify and stop the source of
water addition.
Observation Possible Reasons Recommended Treatment
RHEO-PLEX
System Description
RHEO-PLEX is a mixed metal oxide system, MMO, providing a highly thixotropic water based uid
that is both environmentally friendly and cost effective. The system shear thins, provides exceptional
hole cleaning, is stable above 300 F (149 C) and delivers an enhanced rheology prole and stability that
is easy to design, mix and maintain.
When RHEO-PLEX is added to the bentonite suspension the species displace the resident cations
and forms a bond on the surface of the bentonite platelets. The system is based on the unique
interaction between the MMO cationic specie and the bentonite platelet. The anionic specie bonds
to the negative charged sites of the bentonite forming a complex which structures the uid and
provides its unique gels and viscosity prole. The system is viscous at rest and once shear stress is
applied it thins, only to regain its viscosity once the stress is removed.
35
The chemical inhibition of the RHEO-PLEX system is relatively low as it is formulated with little or
no salts provides a level of inhibition by non movement of uid at the wall of the wellbore and
minimal ltration. It is also suspected that any ltrate that enters the formation will contain MMO and
will inhibit by cationic exchange.
RHEO-PLEX applications include drilling deviated hole sections, milling, depleted reservoirs and
unconsolidated formations. It must be noted that the uid can provide chemical inhibition if used
with 3% KCl.
The mechanism for interactions between the individual MMO bentonite complex is weakly
electrostatic. This electrostatic interaction is readily broken by mechanical means and reforms once
the stress is removed which explains the extreme thixotropic behaviour, i.e. why the RHEO-PLEX
uid instantly shear thins with the application of mechanical agitation.
This chemistry gives the RHEO-PLEX uid a unique rheological prole that exhibits high at gels
which are fragile and easily broken with the start of circulation, but reform immediately when the
uid is static giving very effective cuttings suspension.
During circulation the uid has a inverted U shaped velocity prole in the wellbore with high
annular velocity in linear ow at the centre of the well and zero movement at the wellbore wall.
This ow prole leads to the effect of negative lag times whereby cuttings appear to reach surface
faster than the calculated time as only part of the uid system is moving at velocity. This low velocity
at the well bore subjects the formation to zero shear stress.
Benets of this system include:
Exceptional hole cleaning
Excellent suspension properties
Low torque and drag
Low ECD
Efcient solids removal
Proactive lost circulation remedy
Universal environmental approvals
High cost efciency
Pre-System Checks
Prior to utilising the system on the rig, the rig site drilling uids representative must become familiar
with system and well information which includes but is not limited to:
Ensure that all non fresh water or seawater pipes are blanked off and locked.
Clean all pits and circulating systems with drill water.
Ensuring that the rig contractor and other service companies are aware that the system will be used.
Pilot check all products prior to building at the rig site.
Formulation
An example formulation and associated properties is detailed in Table 13.
36
Section
11bwater base drilling fuids
Table 14. Example RHEO-PLEX formulation
It is imperative that all materials are pilot tested. The system cannot be formulated using PAC, CMC
or charged polymers.

Engineering Guidelines
Hardness
It is recommended that the hardness be minimised. Prior to mixing treat out any hardness by the use
of soda ash. The interaction of the between the MMO and the bentonite is enhanced if the hardness is
below 400 mg/l.
API
Filtration control is provided by the use of HYDRO-STAR CMS, a non ionic starch. PAC or CMC materials
are incompatible with the MMO / bentonite complex.
Rheology
A characteristic of the RHEO-PLEX system is that the 3 rpm rheometer reading is about 20% lower than
the 600 RPM reading. The rheology of the system is based on RHEO-PLEX- DRILL-GEL UA complex.
In the event that the rheology is too high do not treat the system with polymeric deocculants or
lignosulphonate thinners. Correct high rheology with dilution.
Density
Density is provided from DRILL-BAR and or calcium carbonate.
pH
It is imperative that the pH is maintained in the range specied 9.5-10. The interaction between the
RHEO-PLEX and the bentonite is optimised in this pH range.

Solids Tolerance:
This system is not solids tolerant and the drill solids must be maintained below 5%.
Contamination
All common contaminants, plus the drilling of lignitic and anhydritic formations, have a disruptive
effect on the RHEO-PLEX- DRILL-GEL UA complex which will cause a rapid loss of rheology. If this occurs
the only effective solution is to rebuild the system.
Product Function Concentration Concentration
lb/bbl kg/m
3
drill water
soda ash
DRILL-GEL UA
caustic soda
RHEO-PLEX
HYDRO-STAR CMS
DRILL-BAR
PROPERTY
Mud Weight
PV
YP
6 RPM
Gel
API
pH
0.85 bbl/bbl
8 -12
0.80 -1.2
3.0 - 5.0
192
TYPICAL VALUE
12
4
25 - 30
20
30 / 36
< 8
9.5 -10
0.85m
3
/m
3
22.8 34.2
2.3 3.4
8.55 14.25
547
<400 mg/l hardness
Base Fluid
Alkalinity Control
Viscosier
pH control
Complexing Agent
Fluid Loss control
Weighting Agent
UNITS
lb/gal
cP
lb/100 ft
2

dial reading
lb/100 ft
2

ml/ 30 min
9.5 -10.0
37
Reserve Volume:
Ensure that there is always sufcient RHEO-PLEX- DRILL-GEL UA blend on surface to rebuild the
circulating system.
Mixing RHEO-PLEX
When building the RHEO-PLEX particular care has to be taken. The following method is suggested.
Pilot test with the actual products
Ensure that the water being used has hardness below 200 mg/l
Ensure the bentonite being used is high quality untreated bentonite
Prehydrate bentonite, ensuring that the gel is fully yielded
Adjust the pH of the bentonite to pH range of 9.5 -10 using caustic soda
Add the RHEO-PLEX
Add the ltration control agent. (HYDRO-STAR CMS)
If necessary dilute with sea or drill water
Weight up to required density
Cementing
RHEO-PLEX is highly sensitive to divalent and polyvalent cations. Cement should not be drilled with
the system.

Displacement
Drill out the cement with the uid that is to be displaced out of hole, prior to displacing to the RHEO-
PLEX uid.
Displacement out of hole: If displacing with a lighter water based uid, pump ahead a 50 bbl (8 m3)
brine spacer between the RHEO-PLEX system as well as a high viscosity water based pill, 6 lb/bbl (17.1
kg/m
3
) HYDRO-ZAN.
dispersed and calcium muds
System Description
A bentonite water based mud system which has been chemically deocculated and the end
charges neutralised can be described as a dispersed system. The most common dispersants are
lignosuphonates, acylamide copolymers and phosphates. These systems have low inhibitive qualities
and are used to drill low reactivity shales. Bentonite systems are made more inhibitive by being
converted to calcium based systems with lime or gypsum.
These systems have lower ltration loss, higher pHs and more stabilised rheology than conventional
non dispersed bentonite system.
Systems which can be described as dispersed include:
HYDRO-SPERSE (Lignosulphonate)
HYDRO-TAN CF (Tannin)
Phosphate (SAPP)
Calcium Muds (lime and gypsum muds)
Benets of Dispersed Bentonite Mud System
Fluid has high carrying capacity
Simple to formulate
Highly exible and can be converted into inhibitive systems
Low uid cost
High temperature tolerance
Simple to use
38
Section
11bwater base drilling fuids
Limitations of Dispersed Bentonite Mud System
Requires time to mix
High dilution rates
Relatively thick lter cakes
May have environmental restrictions on the use of some of the lignosulphonates
HYDRO-SPERSE (Lignosulphonate Muds)
HYDRO-SPERSE muds are used to drill well sections which have high bentonitic clay sections. The
system can be formulated with fresh and brackish water. However bentonite should prehydrated
with water that is of a good quality containing low hardness and chlorides. HYDRO-SPERSE provides
good ltration control and stabilizes the rheology. An example formulation is detailed in table 14.
The system may be further treated with the supplementary products detailed in Table 15.
Table 14. Example lignosulphonate system formulation
Order of Mixing
Treat out the calcium from the mix water with the required amount of soda ash
Raise the pH of the water with caustic soda to above 9.5 to precipitate any magnesium and other
divalent ions
Mix in the required amount of DRILL-GEL
Add the required HYDRO-SPERSE
Weight up the system with DRILL-BAR
Add supplementary ltration controller if required
If the system is formulated using a previous bentonite mud as a base then:

Reduce the MBT to 10 -15 lb/bbl by dilution and if necessary dumping
Treat out the calcium from the mix water with the required amount of soda ash
Raise the pH of the water to above 10.5 as this will precipitate any magnesium and other divalent
ions
Although the system can be formulated with sea and brackish water, DRILL-GEL should be hydrated
with fresh water with low chloride content (< 5000 mg/l)
Mix in the required amount of DRILL-GEL
Add the required HYDRO-SPERSE
Weight up the system with DRILL-BAR
Product Function Concentration Concentration
lb/bbl kg/m
3
ddrill water
soda ash
DRILL-GEL
caustic soda
HYDRO-SPERSE
DRILL-BAR
PROPERTY
Mud Weight
PV
YP
6 RPM
Gel
API
0.90 bbl/bbl
10 - 25
2 - 8
35
UNITS
lbs/gal
cP
lbs / 100 ft
2

dial reading
lbs / 100 ft
2

ml / 30 min
0.90 m
3
/m
3
28.5 71.25
5.7 22.8
99.75
To Ca++ <100 mg/l
Base Fluid
Calcium Reducer
Viscosier / Filtration Control
pH modier
Thinner / Filtration controller
Weighting Agent
TYPICAL VALUE
9.2
20
12- 15
10
11/20
6-8
To pH 10 -11
39
PRODUCT Function Concentration Concentration Concentration Concentration
Lime Mud Lime Mud Gypsum Gypsum
lb/bbl kg/m
3
lb/bbl kg/m
3
Maintenance of HYDRO-SPERSE uids:
Regular treatments with HYDRO-SPERSE are required to maintain the rheology while drilling.
The efciency of the products are enhanced by maintaining low concentrations of Cl
-
, Ca
2+
and Mg
2+

ions.
Ensure that the solids control equipment is optimised and control the solids content by dumping
and diluting as required.
To ensure optimal drilling uid performance and costs maintain the MBT below 20 lb/bbl. It may be
necessary to maintain the density and plastic viscosity by means of premixes.
Treatments with HYDRO-THIN will stabilise rheology and enhance ltration control.
Polymers such as HYDRO-PAC, HYDRO-STAR and CMC can be used to provide supplementary
ltration control.
In order to ensure the efciency of the HYDRO-SPERSE ensure that the system pH is maintained in
the range of 9 9.5.
Calcium Treated Muds
Lime muds are more inhibitive than HYDRO-SPERSE uids, due to the presence of soluble calcium,
and can be used to drill sections that have formations where shale reactivity may result in hole
instability and sections that have anhydrite formations and stringers. By increasing the concentration
of soluble calcium in the uid, the inhibitiveness of the uid is increased.
The lime system may be viewed as a HYDRO-SPERSE system that has been treated with soluble
calcium ions.
Example formulations and properties as well as supplementary product are shown in Tables 15 and 16.
0.90 m
3
/m
3
28.5 71.25
8.56 17.12
11.4 22.8
5.71 11.4
2.85
99.75
drill water
DRILL-GEL
HYDRO-SPERSE
lime
gypsum
HYDRO-TROL
caustic soda
HYDRO-PAC or
HYDRO-STAR NF
DRILL-BAR
PROPERTY
Mud Weight
PV
YP
6 RPM
Gel
Pf
mF
Excess calcium
calcium in ltrate
pH
API
Base Fluid
Viscosier /
Filtration Control
Thinner / Filtration
controller
Calcium Generator
Calcium Generator
Filtration Controller
pH modier
Filtration controller
Weighting Agent
Units
lb/gal
cP
lb /100 ft
2
dial reading
lb /100 ft
2
ml
lb/bbl
mg/l
ml / 30 min
0.90 bbl/bbl
10 25
3 - 6
4 - 8
2 4
1
35
Typical Value
9.2
18
7 - 8
3
2/18
0.15- 0.8
3 - 5
2 - 5
600 - 1200
9.5 - 10
4 8
Table 16. Formulation and properties of calcium treated muds.
0.90 m
3
/m
3
28.5 71.25
2.85 11.4
2.85 22.8
5.7 11.4
2.85
99.75
0.90 bbl/bbl
10 - 25
1 - 4
1 - 8
2 - 4
1
35
Typical Value
9.2
18
6 - 7
2
3/13
1 2.5
5 -10
1 - 10
75 - 200
10.5 11.5
5 - 11
To pH 10 -11
40
Section
11bwater base drilling fuids

1.0 5.0

1.0 5.0
1.0 5.0
2.0 - 5.0
2 - 8
0.25 -1.0
lb/bbl
HYDRO-PAC
CMC
HYDRO-TROL
Glutaraldehyde
SAPP
HYDRO-PLAST /
HYDRO-PLAST
PLUS
DRILL-BAR
HYDRO-ZAN
HyPR-DRL
Viscosity and Filtration
Viscosity and Filtration
Viscosity and Filtration
Biocide
Stuck pipe freeing
agent/ bit balling
preventer
High Temperature
Filtration Controller
Barite
Shear thinning
Viscosier
ROP Enhancer
Enhanced ltration
control in displacement
mud and sweeps
Enhanced ltration
control in displacement
mud and sweeps
Enhanced ltration
control in displacement
mud and sweeps
Prevention of
microbiological action
Is used as a stuck pipe
freeing agent when
disrupting the lter
cake when placed over
the sticking zone
Enhanced ltration
control in displacement
mud.
To build spud mud and
displacement mud
where density is greater
than 8.8 lb/gal
As a rheology enhancer
for operations where
poor water quality
prevents DRILL-GEL
from fully yielding.
Minimising bit balling
Table 17. Supplementary products for dispersed systems
Note lime muds can be classied as:
low lime when the mud contains 1- 2.5 lb/bbl (2.85 7.1 kg/m
3
) of excess lime and
high lime when the excess lime content of the mud is 5 15 lb/bb (14 42 kg/m
3
).
Excess Lime Calculation
Excess lime (lb/ bbl) is estimated by the following formulae
Lime Content = P
M
P
F

4
Or

Lime Content = 0.26 (P
M
- % water fraction x P
F
)
Excess Lime kg/m
3
= Excess lime lb/bbl x 2.85
Chemical Function Operational Concentration Concentration
lb/bbl kg/m
3
Supplementary Products
2.85 14.3
2.85 14.3
2.85 14.3
5.7 14.3
5.7 22.8
0.7 2.85
As required
500 -1000 ppm
0.5 - 5%
41
Excess Gypsum Calculation
Excess Gypsum (lb/ bbl) is estimated by the following formula
Gypsum Content = V
M
V
F

4
Excess Gypsum kg/m
3
= Excess lime lb/bbl x 2.85
V
M
is the ml of versanate from the hardness test on the whole mud
V
F
is the ml of versanate from the hardness test on the ltrate
Order of Mixing
Treat out the calcium from the mix water with the required amount of soda ash
Raise the pH of the water with caustic soda to above 10.5 as this will precipitate any magnesium
and other divalent ions
Mix in the required amount of DRILL-GEL
Add the required HYDRO-SPERSE
Add the required lime or gypsum
Add the required ltration controller
Weight up the system with DRILL-BAR
Note the uid may have a viscosity hump; this should disappear with shear thinning. However that
it does thin by agitation on the Hamilton beach mixer. Conrm that the pH is correct. Pilot test with
higher caustic then more HYDRO-SPERSE
If the system is formulated using a previous bentonite mud as a base then:

Break over will require a minimum of three circulations (two to add all the chemicals evenly and one
to ensure that the uid is thin).
There will be a viscosity hump, during which there will be high ltration loss that will thin on
circulation. It is advisable to perform the break over inside casing.
Reduce the MBT to 10 -15 lb/bbl (28.5 42.75 kg/m
3
) by dilution and if necessary dumping.
Treat out the calcium from the mix water with the required amount of soda ash.
Raise the pH of the water to above 10.5 as this will precipitate any magnesium and other divalent
ions.
Although the system can be formulated with sea and brackish water, the DRILL-GEL should be
hydrated with fresh water with low chloride content (< 1000 mg/l).
Mix in the required amount of DRILL-GEL.
Add the required HYDRO-SPERSE.
Add the required lime or gypsum.
Weight up the system with DRILL-BAR.
Add the require supplementary ltration control.
Maintenance of calcium muds:
While drilling with calcium uids regular treatments with HYDRO-SPERSE, gypsum / lime / caustic
soda are required to maintain the rheology and ltration control.
Ideally all additions should be in the form of premixes.
Maintain the calcium concentration in the ltrate.
Avoid mixing of lime / gypsum and polymeric ltration controllers at the same time.
Avoid over treatment with caustic soda as the higher the pH the lower the solubility of the calcium.
Maintain drill solids content as low as possible. Ensure that the solids control equipment are
optimised and control the solids content by dumping and diluting as required.
To ensure optimal drilling uid performance and cost, maintain the MBT below 20 lb/bbl.
It may be necessary to maintain the density and plastic viscosity by means of premixes.
42
Section
11bwater base drilling fuids
Treatments with HYDRO-THIN will stabilise rheology and enhance ltration control.
If after three circulations the viscosity hump is still present, check the pH. Treatment with caustic
may be required to ensure that the HYDRO-SPERSE becomes effective .
Tannin dispersed uids are prepared in the same manner as HYDRO-SPERSE muds substituting
HYDRO-TAN CF for HYDRO-SPERSE .
section 11c
non aqueous drilling fuids
CONFI-DRILL 2
CONFI-DENSE 6
CONFI-DEEP 8
OPTA-VERT 17
section 11c
Scomi Oiltools
2
Section
11cnon aqueous drilling fuids
CONFI-DRILL

CONFI-DRILL is an invert emulsion drilling uid system which can be tailored to meet environmental
and performance criteria. The system has excellent rheological and ltration characteristics easily
modied to meet changing pressure and temperature conditions,
The system consists of three phases; non aqueous, brine and solid.
The key to the system is the emulsifying chemicals designed to create and maintain the invert emulsion.
The system can be formulated with a range of base uids including low toxic mineral oil (LMO), linear
parafn (LP), linear alpha olen (LAO) and internal olen (IO).
non aqueous drilling fuids
Mechanism of Shale Stabilisation
Invert emulsion drilling uids provide the highest level of shale inhibition by a drilling uid. An invert
emulsion consists of two liquid phases:-
A hydrophilic brine internal phase.
A hydrophobic non polar continuous phase.
The internal phase is emulsied into the continuous phase with the use of emulsiers.
As the hydrophobic continuous phase will not solvate or swell exposed shales, it makes the uid system
ideal for drilling hydratable shales.
This characteristic is the basis for the use invert emulsions as non-reactive, inert drilling uids. As water
contamination of the drilling uid is unavoidable from drilled formation, the drilling uid system must be
formulated to tolerate this additional water.
To prevent the internal hydrophilic phase from reacting with the formations, the system is formulated
with high salinity brine, usually calcium chloride. If the salinity of the brine is maintained at a
concentration higher than the formation salinity, water will ow by a process of reverse osmosis from
the formation into the uid, stabilising reactive formations.
Benets of the invert emulsion system include:-
Inhibition
Low lter loss
Re-use
Can be engineered to any specic requirement
Thin, slick lter cake
Can be engineered with environmentally
friendly base uids
Simple to use
The advantages of the system must be considered along with the limitations:-
High cost of losses
High initial make up costs
May have environmental restrictions
May require complex clean up procedures
Fluid properties are tolerant of solids
Resistant to contamination
Protection against corrosion
Low dilution rates
Can be formulated to relatively low densities
Highly lubricious
Cost of remediation
Re use may lead to build up of low
gravity solids
3
Formulation
An example of a CONFI-DRILL formulation and associated properties is detailed in Table 1. It must be
highlighted that product concentration will vary depending not only due to the density, temperature
and product ratios but also with the type of base oil utilised.
Table 1. Example CONFI-DRILL formulation
Mud Weight
PV
YP
6 rpm
10 minute Gel
HTHP (@ 250 F)
9.5
15
12
8
10
2.0
lb/gal
cP
lbs/100 ft
2
dial reading
lbs/100 ft
2
ml /30 min
Property Typical Value Units
Table 2. Example CONFI-DRILL properties
In addition to the basic products supplementary products can be used to optimise the system for
specic use. These supplementary products and their function and concentration are listed in Table 3.
Product Function Concentration Concentration
lb/bbl kg/m
3
Base Fluid
CONFI-MUL P
CONFI-MUL S
CONFI-GEL HT
CONFI-MOD
CONFI-TROL /
CONFI-TROL HT
drillwater
calcium chloride
lime
DRILL-BAR
0.68 bbl/bbl
6
2.5
6
1
2 - 8
0.175 bbl/bbl
22
8
120
0.68 m
3
/m
3
17.1
7.1
17.1
2.85
5.7 - 22.8
0.175 m
3
/m
3
62.7
22.8
342
Base fluid
Primary emulsifier
Secondary emulsifier
Viscosifier
Rheology modifier
Filtration controller
Liquid phase
Water phase salinity
Emulsifier activator
Weight material
Product Function Concentration Concentration
lb/bbl kg/m
3
CONFI-COAT
CONFI-LUBE
CONFI-PLEX
CONFI-THIN
CONFI-TROL
CONFI-TROL F
CONFI-WET
0.5 - 2
1 3
1 3
0.5 - 2
2 8
1 5
0.5 - 2
1.4 5.7
1 3%
2.85 8.55
1.4 5.7
5.7 -22.8
2.85 14.25
1.4 5.7
Oil wetting agent
Lubricant for SBM
LSR modifier
Oil wetting agent
Solid fluid loss control additive
Liquid fluid loss control
additive
Oil wetting agent
Table 3. Supplementary products for CONFI-DRILL systems
4
Section
11cnon aqueous drilling fuids
Engineering Guidelines
In general the following guidelines and mixing procedures apply to all non-aqueous uids except where
indicated in system specic sections of this handbook.
Mixing CONFI-DRILL
When mixing an invert emulsion system the amount of shear in the mixing system has to be maximised.
It is recommended that a shearing unit is used and the uid shear is maximised by circulating through
the gun lines.
1. Add the required quantity of base uid to the mixing tank.
2. Add the primary emulsier, CONFI-MUL P, and secondary emulsier, CONFI-MUL S, as required.
3. Add organophilic viscosier, CONFI-GEL / CONFI-GEL HT, as required.
4. Add required amount of water to the above mixture. If brine is to be used, then add brine after
the lime additions.
5. Add rheology modier e.g. CONFI-MOD or CONFI-RM as required.
6. Add lime as required.
7. Add ltration control additives, CONFI-TROL, CONFI-TROL HT, CONFI-SEAL or or CONFI-TROL F,
as required.
8. Add calcium chloride powder if brine is not used. If calcium chloride powder is not available, then
mix the calcium chloride akes into the water and add as a brine.
9. Mix above for several hours to ensure a good emulsion is formed.
10. Add weighting material as required for the desired density.
The shear available on most rigs is rarely sufcient to ensure that the organophilic clays have fully
yielded. Once the uid is sheared through the bit, and heated, the rheology prole should increase.
Emulsier
Emulsier ensures that the invert emulsion is stabilised and provides initial ltration control with
zero water breakthrough. The measurement of emulsion stability gives an indication of the condition of
the emulsion. Optimisation of the emulsier concentration will ensure that there is good temperature
stability, stabilised rheology and optimised lubricity.
Filter Loss
Filtration controllers are used to maintain ltration control. They act in conjunction with the emulsier
package. Scomi Oiltools have a proprietary family of powdered ltration controllers including,
CONFI-TROL and CONFI-TROL HT as well as a liquid product, CONFI-TROL F, specically formulated to
act synergistically with the emulsier package. The effect of these products is specic to the emulsier,
oil water ratio, temperature of test, density of the uid and type of base uid.
It is recommended that the HPHT ltration test is run at 25 F (14 C) higher than the maximum expected
bottom hole temperature.
Density
DRILL-BAR is used to provide density. If higher densities or atter rheological proles are required then
HyPR-BAR, ne grind barite, HAEMATITE or HYDRO-MAX can be used in the formulation.
In some cases additional density may be achieved by replacing the calcium chloride brine with calcium
or sodium bromide brine or by maintaining lower oil: brine ratios using either calcium chloride or
alternatives including sodium formate, in particular where a low solids content of the uid is required.
5
Rheology
It must be highlighted that while drilling ahead there will be an increase in rheology as the
organophilic clay yields. This is particularly true when new fresh mud is delivered to or mixed on the rig.
Ensure that this increase in rheology does not become an operational problem, it must be controlled.
The two principal methods of imparting rheology are the use of the Organophilic clay, CONFI-GEL/
CONFI-GEL HT and or low end rheological modiers. Optimise the effectiveness of organophilic
clays, with the addition of CONFI-MOD and/or CONFI-RM. The use of these modiers will provide a
atter rheology prole minimising the ECD. Note that overuse of rheology modiers without sufcient
underlying organophilic clay structure can promote barite sag, which is detailed in section 6b of this
handbook, barite sag.
Oil Wetting Agents
The use of oil wetting agents, CONFI-WET and thinners, CONFI-COAT, should be avoided as the
difference between product effectiveness and over treatment can be a very ne balance. The thinners
act on the organophilic agents and destroy their effectiveness. Once a system is over treated it
becomes difcult to re gain the rheology and the danger of sag becomes more pronounced. If a
treatment of oil wetting agents is to be made to the circulating system, it is advisable that the
treatment is pilot tested extensively beforehand to determine the correct treatment level.
Lime
Lime is required to activate the emulsiers; therefore, it is imperative the lime concentration be
maintained in excess as the efcacy of the emulsiers is optimised. Experience demonstrates while
drilling ahead the excess lime concentration is steadily depleted. This is particularly noticeable while
drilling reservoir sections and or higher temperature zones. Lime will also be removed by acid gases.
Water Phase Salinity
The activity coefcient of the water, or brine phase, A
w
, should be maintained lower than the activity
of the formation uids. The water phase salinity ensures that the drilling uid exerts a reverse
osmotic pressure on the formation, the activity level being determined by the type and concentration
of the salt.
The A
w
is maintained with a salt most commonly calcium chloride. The determining factor for the
concentration of salt used is the status of the shale cuttings which should be rm and discrete. Any
sign of hydration of cuttings indicates that the water phase salinity level must be increased.
For reservoir drilling the brine phase may be provided by alternative salts including sodium bromide,
sodium formate and calcium bromide.
Temperature
A characteristic of invert emulsion systems is high temperature stability. The limiting factors being
the effectiveness of the emulsiers, viscosiers, rheological modiers and ltration control, agents
at the elevated temperature. At elevated temperatures there will be a more rapid depletion of the
emulsiers. This will also vary with density and type of base uid.
Cementing
The primary effects of cement contamination are increases in the excess lime and water contents.
However the pre-ush pills used prior to cementing are designed to change the wettability of surfaces
which they achieve by attacking the emulsion package of the uid. To minimise contamination of
the drilling uid the volume of preush pills should be minimised. Contamination of the mud by
the preush results in a fall in emulsion stability, an increase in the HPHT ltrate and a decrease in the
base uid/brine ratio. This contamination may be treated by increasing the oil/brine ratio with an
base uid rich premix that contains an excess of emulsiers.
6
Section
11cnon aqueous drilling fuids
If possible any excess pre ush that reaches surface should be isolated from the system on the rst
circulation, though in most cases it is so entrained into the mud it is impossible to isolate. When
cementing liners, however, the excess cement and preush may be reversed out and it should be
possible to readily isolate the contamination in this case.
Solids Control Equipment
During displacements or after a trip, the shakers should be dressed with relatively coarse screens.
The size of the screen should be reduced as the uid warms up and the viscosity of the mud decreases.
Gas Solubility
Gas is soluble in NAF which has major consequences for well control as gas will stay in solution until
close to surface and for deepwater wells expansion may not occur until the inux is in the riser. Kick
detection may be severely compromised and the ability to detect and react to very minor volume
changes is highly signicant. This is especially true for H
2
S which is 40 times more soluble than
methane.
It should also be noted that solution gas, including trip gas, will be detected, in decreasing quantity,
at the same spot in the circulating system for several circulations until it is nally released from the mud.
Gas solubility is a function of temperature and pressure and will vary with base uid type e.g. internal
olens and mineral oils the response of both base uids is similar to 4,000 psi. Above 4,000 psi
(27579 kPa) the effects of pressure dominate the solubility for mineral oils with methane being
completely miscible above 7,000 psi (48263 kPa) and effects of temperature are not signicant.
On the other hand temperature has a pronounced affect on gas miscibility in internal olens above
4,000 psi, higher temperatures signicantly reducing the pressure at which methane is fully miscible,
from
+
11,000 psi at 150 F to
+
8,500 psi at 300 F (
+
75800 kPa at 65 C to
+
58600 kPa at 149 C )
If condensate is either present or the main component of a kick there may be differences in behaviour
compared to methane alone in solution:
1. Kick detection may be delayed for condensate kicks relative to methane kicks.
2. As the kick / base uid mixture becomes heavier there is a corresponding decrease in volatility and
bubblepoint pressure, i.e. rapid expansion happens closer to surface.
3. Signicant expansion of a kick occurs nearer to surface for ondensates than for methane and,
when it does occur because of gas evolution, it is more rapid. The rise in surface pressure shows
the same trend. The heavier the condensate and, for SBM, the lower the concentration, the nearer
the surface the rapid expansion and pressure rise occur as the bubblepoint pressure is lower.
4. When a condensate kick occurs in SBM contamination of the mud with condensate occurs as
only the volatile components are released at surface. This may have consequences for discharge
and or disposal of contaminated mud.
CONFI-DENSE
System Description
CONFI-DENSE is base oil or synthetic uid based drilling uid specically engineered to provide
emulsion stability for high density and high temperature applications beyond the range of the
standard CONFI-DRILL system. The CONFI-DENSE system is stable to temperatures in excess of 400 F
(204 C), exhibiting minimal density differentiation under both dynamic and static conditions. The
system can be weighted to above 18.5 lb/gal (2.22 SG) with barite, or alternative weight materials such as
HAEMATITE and is run with higher Oil:Brine ratios of 85/15 to 90/10+. The system has excellent
rheological and ltration characteristics which are easily modied to meet changing pressure and
temperature conditions.
7
Formulation
An example of a CONFI-DENSE formulation and properties is detailed in Tables 4 and 5
Table 4. Example CONFI-DENSE formulation
Mud Weight
PV
YP
6 rpm
OWR
ES
Excess Lime
HTHP (@ 350 F)
17.5
2.10
49
18
8
90:10
1655
4
<2.0
lb/gal
SG
cP
lbs/100 ft
2

Dial reading
volts
lb/bbl
ml/ 30 min
Property Typical Value Units
Table 5. Example CONFI-Dense properties
In addition to the basic products supplementary products can be used to optimise the system for
specic use. These supplementary products and their function and concentration are listed below
Product Function Concentration Concentration
lb/bbl kg/m
3
Base Fluid Iso
Paraffin
CONFI-MUL HT
CONFI-GEL HT
CONFI-TROL F
CONFI- TROL HT
calcium chloride
Drillwater
lime
DRILL-BAR
0.48 bbl/bbl
4 - 6
2 - 4
5 - 6
4 - 8
7
0.05 bbl/bbl
10
493
0.48 m
3
/m
3
11.4 17.1
5.7 11.4
14.25 17.1
11.4 22.8
20
0.05 m
3
/m
3
18.5
1405
Base fluid
Primary emulsifier
Viscosifier
Filtration controller
Filtration controller
Water phase salinity
Emulsifier activator
Weighting agent
Product Function Concentration Concentration
lb/bbl kg/m
3
CONFI-TROL XHT
CONFI-GEL XHT
HyPR-BAR
1 - 4
1 - 4
As required
2.85 11.4
2.85 -11.4
As required
HT fluid loss control
HT viscosifier
Fine grind barite
Table 6. Supplementary products for CONFI-DENSE systems
A number of key aspects of the CONFI-DENSE system are;
Both polymeric and organophilic clay viscosiers are used to provide optimum rheology with a
high base uid:brine ratio.
Formulations are engineered specically to each project.
Several ltration control additives are used to ensure the efcacy of the system at elevated temperature.
The system is formulated such that the parameters are independent of base oil type.
Due to the high solids content the system requires higher base uid:brine ratios.
Engineering Guidelines
See guidelines under CONFI-DRILL.
8
Section
11cnon aqueous drilling fuids
Pressure and Temperature Effects for HTHP uids
Drilling uid density and rheology are functions of temperature and pressure encountered in the
well. Higher pressures will increase rheology and density; higher temperatures will decrease them.
Note: The temperature effects on NAF are much higher than WBM as base oils have a much lower specic
heat capacity and lower thermal conductivity than water.
Fann 35 rheology readings at surface conditions do not reect the rheology of the uid at elevated
pressures and pressures therefore it is very important to regularly run the rheology on a Fann 75
and measure the rheology at bottom hole conditions. Rheological modelling, e.g. ECD calculations,
using only Fann 35 data will be inaccurate.
The volume of the uid will increase and decrease while drilling and tripping as the uid heats
and cools. This normal volume variation can lead to the interpretation that the well is owing or losing.
To fully establish the effects of pressure and temperature and establish a ngerprint of the uid
behaviour to provide information to distinguish between normal losses, down hole losses, or gains
the following steps should be taken.
When the mud has reached equilibrium operating temperatures for each interval establish and record
the normal changes in surface volume due to:-
1. operation / shut down of mud pumps,
2. Running mud pumps at different rates,
3. Operation / shut down of mix pumps and solids control equipment.
Mud Coolers
To lower both the surface and downhole circulating temperatures a mud cooler may frequently be
used on HTHP wells. This surface cooling can lead to a reduction of > 25 - 50 F (14 - 28 C) plus in the
maximum owline and circulating downhole temperature. This is of particular benet for extending the
range and life of downhole tools.
CONFI-DEEP
CONFI-DEEP is a at rheology invert emulsion drilling uid system designed and formulated for
application in deep water drilling.
HSE: The CONFI-DEEP system is handled in the same way as any other non aqueous system. Always refer
to the MSDS of the base oil and the individual additives for safe handling instructions.
In deep water environments, a seawater temperature of 39 F (4 C) is typically measured. The
formation temperature may range to 212 F (100 C) or more. This variation in temperature causes wide
uctuation of rheological properties in conventional invert emulsion drilling uids which leads to:
pressure spikes
induced fractures with wellbore ballooning/breathing
barite sag
poor cuttings suspension
reduced hole cleaning
excessive ECD
severe mud losses
cuttings pack-off leading to stuck pipe
reduced drilling efciency
9
The problem is compounded when pore pressure and fracture gradient converge. The margin for
density uctuations is low or non-existent. Strict control of the ECD is required to prevent fracture
induction and often extremely expensive mud losses.
A comprehensive investigation of the complex and interactive chemistry of surface active agents
including emulsiers; wetting agents and novel polymeric rheological modiers to formulate a uid
system with remarkably constant rheological properties over a broad temperature range has been
undertaken. Development was and continues to be focused on reducing the organophilic clay content
and balancing hole cleaning, suspension requirements using special rheology modiers to deliver a
uid with cold water viscosity values 33 50% of those of a conventional invert system
The result is the at rheology CONFI-DEEP system which delivers a consistent rheological prole over
a wide range of temperatures, 40 - 200+ F (4 - 95 C) with ongoing development work demonstrating
the potential of the system to perform at temperatures up to 250 F (121 C). Flat rheology of these
deepwater systems typically considers plastic viscosity, yield point, and 6 rpm values.
Each application is rigorously pilot tested in the lab to assure conformance of design to ECD
requirements established by very detailed hydraulic modelling.
Figure 1 compares the yield point and 6 rpm values of CONFI-DEEP with a typical non aqueous uid.
Figure 1 Rheology of CONFI-DEEP
CONFI-DEEP system is surprisingly tolerant of solids, water and oil contamination. While the
rheological properties change with contaminant concentration, the uid remains stable and very
resistant to water wetting of solids. Rheological properties remain at despite high concentrations
of contaminants. Incorporation of drill solids actually improves system properties and performance
Y
P

(
I
b
/
1
0
0
f
t
2
)

/

6

r
p
m

r
e
a
d
i
n
g
10
Section
11cnon aqueous drilling fuids
CONFI-DEEP can be formulated using wide variety of base oils providing the same level of exibility
as with any other conventional non aqueous system currently in use in deep water drilling:
low toxic mineral oil
linear parafn
linear alpha olen
internal olen
Conversion Flexibility and System Stability
The standard invert emulsion system CONFI-DRILL may be converted to the CONFI-DEEP system, but
only after thorough pilot testing. Conversion of salvaged mud offers potential cost savings and in some
cases a more stable and at pre-aged mud system. The conversion process and the treatment have
been veried in the laboratory using a variety of salvaged mud systems mixed in 33 50% proportions.
Extensive lab tests also have conrmed the ability of CONFI-DEEP to incorporate surprisingly large
quantities of drilled solids, seawater, and cement as illustrated in Figure 2.
Figure 2: CONFI-DEEP System Stability
(after hot roll @ 200 F for 16 hours)
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
40 F 70 F 120 F 150 F
Temp (deg F)
C O N F I -D E E P + 4 0 p p b r e v d u st
C O N F I -D E E P + 2 5 p p b r e v d u st + 5 p p b c e m e n t
C O N F I -D E E P + 2 5 p p b r e v d u st + 2 0 % ( v/v) se a w a te r

Figure 2 CONFI-DEEP contamination tolerance
Y
P

(
I
b
/
1
0
0
f
t
2
)
11
Performance:
Stable Rheology over wide
range of temperatures
Pressure spikes minimised
Carrying & Suspension capacity increased
Decreased barite sagging tendencies
Advantages:
Improved ECD management
Reduced fracture induction
Reduced losses
Less chances of formation breathing
Better hole cleaning

Decreased pack off chances
Less dilution required
Can be converted from CONFI-DRILL system
Can be formulated using variety of base oil
Less chances of stuck pipe
Flexible formulation
Reduced environmental cost
Lower overall well cost
Optimized drilling performance
The CONFI-DEEP system, similar to other invert emulsions, consists of three phases, two immiscible
liquids, base oil and brine, and the third, a solids phase of barite and drilled solids.
CONFI-DEEP products
Pilot testing at the wellsite, with these products, is strongly advised for assuring economical and
effective treatment levels
Base Fluid
As noted previously a wide selection of base uids may be used to build a CONFI-DEEP system, however,
as is the case with any system for low temperature applications a base uid with a pour point lower
than the expected sea bed temperature must be used to avoid mud solidication.
Brine
Calcium chloride, CaCl
2
, is the salt of choice to be used for lowering the mud activity to balance shale
activity. CaCl
2
is used to ensure Aw as close to that of the clay/shale or lower.
cDEEP-MUL
A specially engineered surface active emulsier and wetting agent in the CONFI-DEEP system is based
upon complex surfactant chemistry, cDEEP-MUL emulsies the brine in the base uid and maintains an
oil wet state of drilled solids, barite, and other solids. Other functions of cDEEP-MUL include
deocculation of system components and rheological control and stability. cDEEP-MUL also provides
very effective HPHT uid loss control up to about 200 F (93 C), reducing the requirement for uid loss
agents.
cDEEP-MUL provides stable and tight emulsion over a wide temperature range from 32 250 F
(0 - 120 C). The cDEEP-MUL concentration is custom optimised for each eld application to provide
stable rheology and uid loss over the temperature range specic to the well.
CONFI-MUL SA
A blend of saturated fatty acids used in non-aqueous uids to increase viscosity and provide
support for weight materials particularly for freshly mixed muds during transportation as the full
viscosity of the uid is dependent on heat and shear in the wellbore along with solids incorporation.
When exposed to higher temperatures in the wellbore CONFI-MUL SA liquees, the initial temporary
viscosity is lost, and the product and works as a weak secondary emulsier. Its primary function is
to provide suspension characteristics to freshly prepared mud before the viscosiers have fully yielded.
12
Section
11cnon aqueous drilling fuids
cDEEP-MOD
Is a specially designed organic polymer designed to maintain a at rheological prole over the full
range of temperatures encountered in a deepwater well. cDEEP-MOD is the primary viscosier of the
CONFI-DEEP system at temperatures > 68 F (20 C).
cDEEP-RM
Is a secondary modier to assist in maintaining a at rheology prole while drilling. An engineered
combination of a special organic polymer and rheology modier provides a stable dynamic ow prole.
CONFI-GEL HT
Premium organophilic clay which may be used as a supplementary viscosier in the CONFI-DEEP
system to provide additional gel structure to minimise sag. CONFI-GEL HT primarily provides
rheological control below about 68 F (20 C) when used at low concentration. CONFI-GEL HT also is an
effective emulsier of water into non-aqueous uids and a uid loss reducer.
cDEEP-TROL
Is the primary uid loss control additive for the CONFI-DEEP system. The additive has a synergistic
effect with the system emulsiers in controlling and reducing the HPHT uid loss.
Other non aqueous uid loss additives may also be used but should be pilot tested before addition.
The effectiveness of different uid loss control additives is dependent on OWR; temperature, density
and the type of base oil. Laboratory tests are advised for ascertaining the correct formulation for the
project.
cDEEP-BAR
Is an economical non API sub-400 mesh barite for use in deepwater operations. cDEEP-BAR typically
exceeds API quality specications for mineral quality. cDEEP-BAR is specically ground for formulation
and maintenance of drilling uids in which barite sag is virtually eliminated in all uid types and
densities. cDEEP-BAR is a solution for fracture induction losses due to a narrow mud weight window.
The products inherently low contribution to viscosity supports use in ECD sensitive wells.
cDEEP-THIN
A specially formulated and engineered complex surfactant polymer used in low concentrations as a
thinner for the CONFI-DEEP system. It is very powerful and must be used carefully and judiciously
again pilot testing must take place before addition of ANY quantity. Overtreatment of any non-
aqueous uid with a thinner, can result in a serious deterioration of uid properties which may be
expensive to correct.
Lime is required for activation of the emulsiers and proper solubilisation of cDEEP-MOD. Extensive
studies have determined that the EXCESS lime content must be maintained greater than 3 lb/bbl
AT ALL TIMES
13
Product Function Concentration Concentration
lb/bbl kg/m
3
base fluid
cDEEP-MUL
CONFI-MUL SA
cDEEP-MOD
cDEEP-TROL
CDEEP RM
CONFI-GEL HT
cDEEP-THIN
lime
CaCl
2
DRILL-BAR
Continuous phase of emulsion
Primary emulsifier and wetting agent
Suspension for fresh mud
Primary viscosifier flat rheology
additive
Filtration control
Secondary modifier
Secondary viscosifier
Thinner rheology control
Alkalinity
Water phase activity, Aw
Density
As required
7 - 13
1 3
1.5 3
2 5
As required pilot
test
0 4
< 0.5
(as required)
8
As required
As required
As required
20 - 37
2.85 8.55
4.3 8.55
5.7 - 14
As required pilot
test
0 11.4
< 1.4
(as required)
22.8
As required
As required
Table 7 General Formulation
Density lb/gal 7.9 9.0 10.5 15.0
Products
cDEEP-MUL lb/bbl 13 13 13 13
cDEEP-MOD lb/bbl 2 2 2 1
CONFI-GEL HT lb/bbl 3 2 1.5 1
cDEEP-MUL SA lb/bbl As required As required As required As required
lime lb/bbl 8 8 8 8
95% CaCl
2
- lb/bbl 36 34 35 22
DRILL-BAR 61 153 394
Fluid Properties
OWR 70/30 70/30 75/25 75/25
Rheology at 150 F
PV cP 13 13 16 22
YP - lb/100 ft
2
20 20 16 25
6 rpm 13 12 12 15
HTHP filtrate, ml <4 <4 <4 <4
Table 8 CONFI-DEEP formulations (Product concentrations lb/bbl will vary with base uid selection)
Example CONFI-DEEP formulations (by density and SWR) with Saraline 185V
CONFI-DEEP formulations
General formulation
14
Section
11cnon aqueous drilling fuids
The following graphs, gure 3 plot the rheology of different uid densities vs. temperature
7 .9 p p g ( so lid fr e e )
9 p p g
1 0 .5 p p g
1 5 p p g
7 .9 p p g ( so l id f re e )
9 p p g
1 0 .5 p p g
1 5 p p g
CONFI-DEEP - 6 rpm graph
CONFI-DEEP - Yield Point graph
6
-
r
p
m
,

D
R
Y
P
,

I
b
/
1
0
0
f
t
2
20
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
16
12
8
4
0
Temp, deg F
40 F 70 F 120 F 150 F
Temp, deg F
40 F 70 F 120 F 150 F
Density - SG 0.95 9.0 1.26 1.80
Products
cDEEP-MUL kg/m
3
37 37 37 37
cDEEP-MOD kg/m
3
5.7 5.7 5.7 2.85
CONFI-GEL HT kg/m
3
8.55 5.7 4.3 2.85
cDEEP-MUL SA lb/bbl As required As required As required As required
lime lb/bbl 22.8 22.8 22.8 22.8
95% CaCl
2
- lb/bbl 103 97 100 63
DRILL-BAR 174 436 1123
Fluid Properties
OWR 70/30 70/30 75/25 75/25
Rheology at 150 F
PV cP 13 13 16 22
YP - lb/100 ft
2
20 20 16 25
6 rpm 13 12 12 15
HTHP filtrate, ml <4 <4 <4 <4
Table 9 CONFI-DEEP formulations (Product concentrations kg/m
3
will vary with base uid selection)
Example CONFI-DEEP formulations (by density and SWR) with Saraline 185V
15
CONFI-DEEP mixing procedure:
Add the required amount of base uid in the mixing tank.
Add cDEEP-MUL to the base uid at the required dosage.
Mix cDEEP-MOD slowly in the mixing tank and shear thoroughly for proper dispersion to get
viscosity. The use of a shearing device is recommended.
Mix CONFI-GEL HT if required and continue shearing. Shearing is very important for viscosiers to
yield.
Add lime
Add prepared brine of the required salt concentration to the mixing tank. If brine is not available,
bleed in water slowly running the hopper continuously while bleeding in the brine or water.
Add CaCl
2
powder if brine was not prepared.
. Thoroughly shear the uid to develop maximum emulsion stability and viscosity.
Add cDEEP-TROL required for HPHT uid loss control and continue shearing.
If the desired viscosity has not been achieved in the mud plant due to low shear levels even with a
dedicated device, add CONFI-MUL SA which will impart viscosity at low temperature with low shear
in a low solids system.
Load barite to get the desired density.
Shear the system to get stable uniform properties.
Bridging agents should not be mixed in the liquid mud plant (LMP) to avoid shear degradation.
Bridging agents are best added in the eld immediately before their use is required.
7 .9 p p g ( so lid free )
9 p p g
1 0 .5 p p g
1 5 p p g
Temp, deg F
CONFI-DEEP -PV graph
P
V
,

c
P
40 F
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
70 F 120 F 150 F
Figure 3 Rheology vs. Temperature and pressure
16
Section
11cnon aqueous drilling fuids
High PV
High YP
High Gels
Non-Flat
rheology
Low values of
LSRV & YP
Low ES
High HTHP Fluid
loss
Decreasing Oil
Water ratio
Solid build up
Inefcient or inadequate solid
removal
Solid build up
Water contamination
Excess viscosier
High LGS
High Solids
Less concentration of cDEEP-MOD
Poor emulsication
High concentration of organophilic
clays
Reduction in cDEEP-MOD
Reduction in cDEEP-RM
Unstable emulsion
Drop in concentration of
cDEEP-MUL
Weak emulsication or less
emulsier in the system
Less of Fluid Loss additive
Less of clay in the system
Solids build up
Surface water contamination
Excessive shale dehydration -
removing water from formation
Check Shaker screens for holes
Use ner screens
Run Centrifuge in correct mode
Dilute the system with base oil
For solids as above
Add base oil to get the correct
OWR and to reduce viscosier
concentration
Same as A
In case Rheological parameters
permit add cDEEP-MOD
Mix cDEEP-MUL
Dilute SBM with base oil and mix
cDEEP-MOD
Mix cDEEP-MOD
Mix cDEEP-RM Be careful to
ensure Flat rheology is maintained.
Excess of organophilic clay may give
temperature dependent rheology.
Mix cDEEP-MUL
Mix cDEEP-MUL
Add cDEEP-MUL
Mix cDEEP-TROL
Reduce solids as per A
Check all water sources like taps on
surface check drill oor cleaning
Bleed in base oil to increase OWR
with concurrent treatment to
maintain parameters
Observe shale cuttings for being
very brittle & fragile due to excessive
dehydration. Normal dehydration
strengthens shale
Reduce WPS by dilution and treating
the drilling uid with proper
additives
Observation Possible Reasons Recommended Treatment
Table 10. Supplementary products for EXTRA-VERT systems
Field Trouble Shooting of the CONFI-DEEP system:
17
Problems which OPTA-VERT minimises include:
Wellbore instability caused by hydratable shales above or inter-bedded in the reservoir sands.
Fluid instability due to high bottom hole temperatures.
Excessive torque and drag related to high angle and extended reach drilling.
The result is a system that provides strong benets as a high performance, non-damaging drill-in uid
optimising production rates across a wide range of completion methods:
Open hole gravel pack or non gravel pack completions.
Expandable slotted screen completions.
Slotted or perforated liner completions.
Cased hole completions where hole cleaning or minimised uid invasion is critical.
The system is highly inhibitive and ideally suited to drilling reservoirs with shale interbeds.
The OPTA-VERT system can be used to drill overbalanced by optimising the concentration of the
bridging material to effectively seal new virgin formation as it is exposed by the bit, thus preventing
losses.
Benets of the OPTA-VERT System include:
Highly inhibitive
Low lter loss
Re-use
Can be engineered on reservoir specic basis
Rapid bridging
Easily removable lter cake
Filter cake has low lift off pressure
Filter cake can be back produced through
slotted liners
Acid soluble lter cake
Re-use
Can be engineered with environmentally
friendly base uids
Simple to use
Fluid properties are tolerant of solids
Resistant to contamination
Protection against corrosion
Low dilution rates
Can be formulated to relatively low
densities
OPTA-VERT

System Description
OPTA-VERT is an invert emulsion DRILL-IN uid that has been custom designed to provide minimal
reservoir damage across of a wide range of porosities and permeabilities whilst laying down a lter cake
readily removable on draw down.
The system is custom designed for each individual reservoir and uses a range of high quality
components and design tools to facilitate the design process including the HyPR-SIZER program which
allows the concentration and particle size of the bridging agent to be optimized to ensure solids are
deposited across the pore throat with minimal invasion while sealing off the reservoir with a thin and
resilient lter cake.
OPTA-VERT is recommended for reservoir drill-in applications with the raised potential for problems
such as emulsion blocking associated with water based drilling uids.
18
Section
11cnon aqueous drilling fuids
A number of aspects of this formulation need to be highlighted.
Note the relatively low concentration of emulsier. The system is run with little or no excess
emulsier to minimise emulsion blockage in the formation. However, must be emphasised that the
amount of emulsier must be sufcient to ensure emulsion stability.
Filtration control additives maybe restricted to prevent formation damage. In that case ltration control
is provided by the emulsion and the concentration of bridging material.
The concentration, particle size distribution and type of the OPTA-CARB bridging material, will be
project and well specic.
Engineering Guidelines
Ensure that the emulsion remains stable, with low lter loss and no water break through. It is
also imperative that there is sufcient bridging material of the correct size to ensure that the non
damaging nature of the uid. The drilling process will degrade the bridging material and some of
the material will be removed by the shale shakers. New bridging material should be added to regularly
to the circulating system to maintain the correct particle size distribution.
Mud Weight
PV
YP
6 RPM
SWR
ES
HTHP (@ Bottom Hole Temp F)
9.1
26
21
13
85:15
1040
<4.0
lb/gal
cP
lbs/100 ft
2
dial reading
volts
ml/30 min
Property Typical Value Units
Table 12. Typical OPTA-VERT properties
Table 11. Example OPTA-VERT formulation
Product Function Concentration Concentration
lb/bbl kg/m
3
Base Oil LP
CONFI-MUL P
CONFI-MUL S
CONFI-GEL
calcium chloride
drillwater
lime
OPTA-CARB
0.65 bbl/bbl
6 - 8
3 - 4
4 - 6
15
0.12 bbl/bbl
10
10 55 as required
0.65 m
3
/ m
3
11.4
8.55 11.4
11.4 17.1
42.75
0.12 m
3
/ m
3
28.5
18 156 as required
Base Fluid
Primary emulsifier
Secondary emulsifier
Viscosifier
Brine phase
Lime
Bridging & density
The advantages of the system must be considered along with the limitations:

High cost of losses
High initial make up costs
May have environmental restrictions
Formulation
An example of an OPTA-VERT formulation and associated properties is shown in Table 11. All formulations
must be engineered specically for each reservoirs individual characteristics.
May require complex clean up procedures
Cost of remediation
Re use may lead to build up of drill
solids content
19
Mixing OPTA-VERT
Add the required quantity of base uid to the mixing tank.
Add the primary emulsier, CONFI-MUL P, and secondary emulsier, CONFI-MUL S, as required.
Add organophilic viscosier, CONFI-GEL / CONFI-GEL HT, as required.
Add required amount of water to the above mixture. If brine is to be used, then add brine after the
lime additions.
Add rheology modier e.g. CONFI-MOD or CONFI-RM as required.
Add lime as required.
Add ltration control additives, CONFI-TROL, CONFI-TROL HT, CONFI-SEAL or CONFI-TROL F, as
required.
Add calcium chloride powder if brine is not used. If calcium chloride powder is not available, then
mix the calcium chloride akes into the water and add as a brine.
Mix above for several hours to ensure a good emulsion is formed.
If the formulation requires barite add the required amount.
Add the bridging material e.g. OPTA-CARB as the nal product.
After the bridging material has been added it is advisable that shear in the mixing system is
minimised to prevent the grinding of the bridging material. It is recommended that if logistically
possible the bridging materials are not added to the uid until it is needed e.g. immediately before
entering the reservoir or after the casing / liner is drilled out.
The shear available on most rigs is rarely sufcient to ensure that the organophilic clays have fully
yielded. Once the uid is sheared through the bit the rheology prole may increase.
Filter Loss
The HPHT should be run at the maximum expected bottom hole temperature. As there is a minimal
concentration of emulsiers in the uid, the HPHT test should be run several times on each shift to
ensure that the uid remains within the required parameters.
Density
Initial density is provided by the OPTA-CARB in the system. Barite should be added only if the
engineered bridging material is not sufcient to provide the required density.
In order to minimise the amount of solids, alternative weight materials such as HAEMATITE, or for
specialist applications, HYDRO-MAX, may be used. These weight materials will deliver uids which
have lower plastic viscosities than systems formulated with conventional barite.
Rheology
It must be highlighted that while drilling ahead there will be an increase in rheology as the
organophilic clay yields. This is particularly true when new fresh mud is delivered to or mixed on the rig.
Ensure that this increase in rheology does not become an operational problem, it must be controlled.
The two principal methods of imparting rheology is by the use of the Organophilic clay, CONFI-
GEL / CONFI-GEL HT and or low end rheological modiers. Optimise the effectiveness of organophilic
clays, with the addition of CONFI-MOD and/or CONFI-RM.