Millions of barrels of water-based muds are used each year to explore and exploit oil and gas resources both in the onshore and offshore drilling environments. Conventional water-based muds usually have poor contaminant tolerance and hence trigger different borehole problems in down hole conditions. Some of the contaminant induced borehole problems such as induced loss of circulation, poor hole cleaning, stuck pipe, etc may cost thousands of dollars for a single well and thus may increase overall drilling cost dramatically. This highlights the technical and economic significances of a high contaminant tolerant water-based mud for current and future drilling operation.
Dedicated research conducted by Saudi Aramco lead to the development of a high contaminant tolerant water-based drilling mud system that is immune to mono and divalent salts, drill solids and cement that are usually encountered in any drilling operation. Experimental results at room and elevated temperature indicate excellent contaminant tolerance capacity of the newly developed mud system. The mud is environment friendly, virtually non-toxic, OHS friendly and thus expected to eliminate the scope of any short and long term occupational health and environmental hazards.
Due to high contaminant tolerant and no/negligible environmental impact, the newly developed water-based mud is expected to be an excellent drilling fluid system to be in the forefront of best drilling practices in sensitive environments.