Abstract

Natural polymers are traditionally added to water based mud to improve rheological and filtration characteristics. Psyllium husk which is widely used in the health and food industries is produced from seeds of a plant which is grown and produced commercially in cool and dry weather. This study evaluates the performance of Psyllium husk as an environmentally friendly additive in water-based mud. Psyllium husk is added to pure water at various concentration to prepare water-based Psyllium husk mud. The optimal concentration of 0.75 to 1% by weight of Psyllium husk is found to have adequate rheological properties comparable with 5% by weight of bentonite. It has a fragile gel structure forming rapidly with time. Filtrate volume is reduced by 13% when Psyllium husk mud with a concentration of 1% by weight is used compared to the base bentonite mud. The insoluble parts of Psyllium husk create a very thin filter cake which are capable of blocking large pores to minimize the water loss into formations. Psyllium husk is more resistant to salinity of make-up water compared to the bentonite based mud and can develop higher viscosity when added to saline water. The advantage of Psyllium husk over currently used water soluble polymers such as Starch and CMC (Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose) is insoluble parts that can possibly block large pores and reduce filtrate volume. The laboratory findings of this research create a groundwork to use Psyllium husk as a viscosity and filtration agent in water-based drilling fluids and may facilitate further research and field trials.

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