Author's Reply to Further Discussion of Application of Oil Muds
- J.W. Bloemendal (Consultant)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Drilling Engineering
- Publication Date
- March 1987
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 87 - 87
- 1987. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 6.5.3 Waste Management, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 1.11 Drilling Fluids and Materials
- 1 in the last 30 days
- 142 since 2007
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I thank Benning for his extensive comments and support of most of my remarks.
In my 38 years as a mud engineer, both in research and in the field, I have seen many magic applications rise, shine, and sink. Much frustration and waste of money is prevented if petroleum engineers are more critical and distinguish between sales talk and science, between theory and practice.
Undoubtedly, oil-based muds (OBM's) outperform water-based muds (WBM's) in specific problem areas, but I believe they have been oversold and applied where no hard facts justified their use. In particular, the claimed higher rate of penetration has never been proved scientifically. In drilling practice, too many factors play a role to justify the conclusions without studies supported by measurements in the laboratory. With a relaxed WL CLS mud of the same weight and bottom-cleaning performance, with more weight on bit (as read on the weight indicator) to correct for the friction loss, and with all other factors the same, I expect little noticeable difference between OBM's and WBM'S.
Vague quantitative information-e.g., "better" or "faster"-should not be used. For me, a 5% improvement is not impressive. Moreover, the reported figures should be reproducible. Only the real cost of a mud system-i.e., including cleaning and waste disposal (suppliers take back only volumes originally supplied, usually less than one-fourth)-can warrant good decisions.
The term "toxicity" leads to much confusion; the environmental objections to OBM's will not be overcome by application of less-aromatic makeup oil (always mineral oil). Proper application of an OBM does not pollute the sea as some fear; when it is dumped into the caisson, no sheen will appear on the water, and the cuttings and oil mud on the sea bottom will decompose in a few weeks.
Related papers:SPE 13001, SPE 11356, SPE 13158
Related discussions and replies:SPE 15965, SPE 16445, SPE 16456, SPE 17012
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