Drilling technology in petroleum engineering is associated with problems such as high fluid loss, poor hole cleaning, and pipe sticking. Improvement of rheological and filtration properties of water-based drilling fluids (WDFs) plays a major role in resolving these drilling problems. The application of nanotechnology to WDF in the recent past has attracted much attention in addressing these drilling operations problems. In the present work, we investigate the application of natural aloe vera and CuO nanofluids combined as an additive in WDF to address the drilling problems. The nanofluids of three different concentrations of CuO nanoparticle (0.2, 0.4 , and 0.6 wt%) with aloe vera as a base fluid are prepared for this study by adopting a two-step method. The prepared nanofluids are characterized by their particle size and morphological characteristics. Conventional WDF (DF.0) is synthesized, and the prepared aloe-vera-based CuO nanofluid is added to the WDF to prepare nanofluid-enhanced water-based drilling fluid (NFWDF) of different concentrations of nanoparticles, namely, 0.2 , 0.4, and 0.6 wt%. The prepared drilling fluid mixture is then characterized for its rheological and filtrate loss properties at various temperatures. Thermal stability and aging studies are performed for both WDF and NFWDF. The experimental results are then modeled using rheological models. The results reveal that aloe-vera-based CuO nanofluids improve the thermal stability and rheological properties of drilling fluid and significantly decrease the American Petroleum Institute (API) filtrate. Viscosity for WDF shows an approximately 61.7% decrease in heating up to 90°C. Further, the hot roll aging test causes a 63% decrease in the viscosity of WDF at 90°C. However, the addition of aloe-vera-based CuO nanofluids is found to aid in recovering the viscosities to a great extent. The fluid loss values before hot rolling are observed to be 6.6 mL after 30 minutes, whereas fluid loss values for the NFWDFs are found to be 5.9, 5.4, and 4.6 mL, respectively. The fluid loss value after hot rolling for the WDF is found to be 10.8 mL after 30 minutes, whereas fluid loss values for the NFWDFs are found to be 9.2, 8.5, and 7.7 mL, respectively. The rheological performance data of NFWDF project a better fit with the Herschel-Bulkley model and suggest improvement in rheological and filtration properties. There has been limited research work available in understanding the impact of aloe-vera-gel-based nanofluids in improving the performance of WDFs through the improvement of its rheological and filtration properties. This study aims to exploit the property of native aloe vera and CuO nanofluids combined together to enhance the rheological and filtration properties of WDF by conducting the tests both before and after hot rolling conditions. This study acts as an important precursor for developing novel additives for WDF to improve its rheological and filtration properties. This study is also expected to benefit the industry and solve the major challenges in deep-well drilling operations and high-pressure and high-temperature (HPHT) drilling operations.

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