The popularity of formate-brine drilling muds continues to increase as a result of the benefits in the drilling and completion stages of well construction, as well as the lessened environmental impact when compared to some other muds. Growth in use of these muds has caused operators and service companies to re-examine environmental correction algorithms because of the substantial effects these mud systems can have on nuclear logs. In addition, because formate muds generally contain lower solids than conventional muds, they can be strongly invasive. Thus, the influence of formate muds on LWD logging measurements includes both borehole environmental effects to be corrected and formation invasion effects that affect log interpretation.

A combination of laboratory experiments and Monte Carlo simulations have been used to develop a better understanding of the influences formate muds have on LWD gamma-ray, density, PE, and neutron porosity logs. Several hundred lab experiments and numerical simulations have been conducted in this investigation to fully characterize LWD responses to formate muds for families of sensors comprising two collar sizes used in a large range of hole sizes. The results were used to develop borehole corrections for the nuclear logs.

Formate brines are formulated to achieve a desired fluid density by using a mixture of dissolved compounds: sodium, potassium, and cesium formate. In some instances, the mixture results in a fluid with a substantially lower-than-normal hydrogen index. The mud may also have a larger-than-normal potassium concentration. Because invasion consists of nearly the whole formate mud, correct log evaluation in porous, permeable formations requires interpretation techniques that are beyond the scope of customary borehole corrections. We have taken lab measurements to attempt to quantify the effect of this invasion on LWD tool responses.

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