Preliminary Test Results of Nano-based Drilling Fluids for Oil and Gas Field Application
- Md Amanullah (Saudi Aramco) | Mohammed K. AlArfaj (Saudi Aramco) | Ziad Abdullrahman Al-abdullatif (Saudi Aramco)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE/IADC Drilling Conference and Exhibition, 1-3 March, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2011. SPE/IADC Drilling Conference and Exhibition
- 1.10.1 Drill string components and drilling tools (tubulars, jars, subs, stabilisers, reamers, etc), 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 1.11.2 Drilling Fluid Selection and Formulation (Chemistry, Properties), 1.14.1 Casing Design, 1.14 Casing and Cementing, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 4.3.4 Scale, 1.5 Drill Bits, 1.6.6 Directional Drilling, 1.8 Formation Damage, 2 Well Completion, 2.7.1 Completion Fluids, 1.11 Drilling Fluids and Materials, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control
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Current experience shows, it is often impossible to fulfill certain functional tasks that are essential in challenging drilling and production environments using conventional macro and micro type fluid additives due to their inadequate physical, mechanical, chemical, thermal and environmental characteristics. Hence, the industry is looking for physically small, chemically and thermally stable, biologically degradable, environmentally benign chemicals, polymers or natural products for designing smart fluids to use virtually in all areas of oil and gas exploration and exploitation. Due to totally different and highly enhanced physio-chemical, electrical, thermal, hydrodynamic properties and interaction potential of nanomaterials compared to their parent materials, the nanos are considered to be the most promising material of choice for smart fluid design for oil and gas field application. This paper describes the formulation and preliminary test results of several nano-based drilling fluids.
The recently developed nano-based fluids were formulated using a blend of nanos and nanostabiliser to study the rheological and filtration properties and evaluate its suitability for oil and gas field application. Initial mud formulation indicates that development of a functionally viable, physically stable and homogeneous and also long lasting nano-based drilling mud is difficult using water or salt water as the fluid phase. However, use of a suitable viscosifier at a right concentration and adoption of a special preparation method lead to the formulation of a nano-based drilling mud with desirable rheological and filtration properties along with the gelling behavior and mudcake quality. Initial test results indicate that the newly developed nano-based drilling mud produces suitable high and low end rheological properties including gelling characteristics and thus expected to fulfill its functional task during drilling and after cessation of drilling.
Water or oil-based drilling fluid is the first foreign fluid that contacts the reservoir zone of a borehole. Most muds contain sufficient quantities of particles that are used as a part of the mud formulation. These desirable mud solids can cause severe formation damage in the presence of a poor quality mudcake. Moreover, the cutting debris generated while drilling may produce enough micro-sized and colloidal particles to cause severe formation damage if a poor quality mudcake is deposited on the borehole wall. Hence, drilling muds that are unable to form a well dispersed, tight and thin plaster like external mudcake on the borehole wall can cause serious formation damage due to the formation of an internal mudcake in the vicinity of the wellbore. The solids and the liquid phases invading the near wellbore formation may also interact with the formations such as salt, clays, anhydrite, etc leading to precipitation, clay dispersion, pore throat blockage, in-situ polymerization and thus may create a flow barrier to stop or reduce oil and gas flow. Damage by solids particle invasion and difficulties in cleaning the particulate damage have long been recognized by the industry. Hence, prevention of formation damage in the first place is the best strategic tool than cleaning the damage in the second place (Amanullah and Ziad, 2010).
The spurt loss associated with most of the mud systems is one of the notorious sources of solid particles and particulate invasion in the vicinity of the wellbore. According to the experimental results of Beeson and Wright (1952) spurt losses ranging from 2.3 to 7 ml may take place in the presence of formation having permeability in the range of 7 to 469 md.
Mungun (1965) pointed out that the primary cause of permeability reduction in the invaded zone is the blockage of pore passages by dispersed solid particles. This blockage or barrier may be due to the physical movement of the fine particles into the formation or chemical interactions of solids/filtrate with the formation or a combination of both. The investigation of the effect of particle penetration and particle concentration on formation damage and depth of invasion conducted by Todd et al. (1990) indicates that even 1-15 ppm water suspension containing less than 3 micron size particles may cause in-depth invasion with serious damage to the formation permeability. That's why suspended particles, even in very dilute solutions like mud spurt may cause significant permeability impairment and thus may lead to a drastic reduction in oil and gas production.
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