The ever-mounting drilling operations of the petroleum industry has been accompanied by tremendous wasted drilling fluid, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in which pose a huge threat to the health of human and ecosystem. Varying approaches have been proposed to remediate the damage caused by wasted drilling fluid, among which photocatalysis has been one of the most promising approaches for organic contaminants removal. The latest investigation shows that Bi2WO6 decorated on hydrophobic CNT can remove up to 80 % organic contaminant within a short time, exhibiting a preferable photocatalytic performance. Moreover, this hydrophobic CNT can play a vital role in stabilizing the wellbore due to its excellent water repellent. The objective of the study was to find out the effect of Bi2WO6 modified hydrophobic CNT on the PAHs photodegradation and wellbore stability in the process of drilling.
Bi2WO6 as a near-infrared driven photocatalyst has attracted worldwide attention due to its preferable oxygen vacancy and quantum efficiency. However, the application of Bi2WO6 was impeded by the low migration efficiency of photo-generated carriers. The combination of Bi2WO6 and composite with good conductivity has been an effective method to resolve this problem. The instability of wellbore caused by shale hydration during oil and gas drilling operations also brings a huge challenge. In this study, a photocatalyst with wellbore stabilization capacity is achieved by hydrophobic CNT modified via Bi2WO6 sheet with nano-size. The fluid loss and wettability property were measured to evaluate the wellbore stabilization capacity of this novel agent. Meanwhile, photodegradation experiments and pathway analysis were conducted to evaluate the effect of photodegradation by Bi2WO6/CNT on the organic contaminants.
Data of photodegradation indicated that the PAHs can be degraded up to 80% after treated by Bi2WO6/CNT, the migration efficiency of photogenerated carriers improved significantly. A slight decrease in fluid loss and distinctive increase in viscosity can be observed after treated with 0.3% Bi2WO6/CNT solution. The results of the rheology test verified that the photocatalyst has little effect on the rheological properties of drilling fluid. The result of SEM indicated that this novel Bi2WO6/CNT composite with a bombax structure can absorb preferentially organic contaminants, which is good at in-situ photodegradation and prevention of water invasion.
To sum up, PAHs in wasted drilling fluids can be photodegraded by the novel Bi2WO6 nano-sheet modified CNT, and the stability of wellbore can also be significantly enhanced due to wettability alteration.