Using a single universal spacer surfactant to clean a wide variety of oil-based mud (OBM) is considered the "Holy Grail" of spacer fluid system. Specialty chemical and service companies have devoted intense research and vast resources to develop the ideal spacer surfactant, but their efforts have not led to a singlesurfactant solution due to uniquely different drilling mud properties. It is no surprise to experts in the field that surfactant selection is extremely mud specific. For instance, one surfactant may effectively clean certain types of OBM, but fail in another mud from a different location that has the same density and base fluid. As a result, service companies have numerous surfactants in their portfolios, further complicating logistics and operations. This paper presents the discovery of a high-performance universal biomicromaterial, which can significantly improve the cleaning performance of any surfactants/spacer fluids to remove most, if not, all types of drilling mud. The innovative bio-micromaterial is an eco-friendly byproduct from another industry.
Successful cleaning of the drilling mud was demonstrated by standard rotor testing with different OBM samples from across North America, and the percentage of mud removal was determined. Furthermore, the ability of the innovative micromaterial to efficiently clean the mud was verified by measuring the strength of bonding between the set cement and the metal casing that had been cleaned by the spacer fluid after drilling mud contamination. Basically, this new procedure simulates downhole fluid displacement by the intermediate spacer fluid, which is ahead of the cement slurry, displacing the mud. Stability and mixability were also studied to determine the effect of the bio-micromaterial addition to the spacer fluid. Finally, a fundamental scientific study using thermogravimetric analysis and imaging techniques was done to characterize the material and determine its thermal stability.
For the first time, newly discovered, high-performance, universal cleaning micromaterial is presented to enhance the OBM removal of any spacer fluid design. This groundbreaking research has successfully demonstrated the unconventional advanced material to be a universal cleaning, single-additive spacer admixture for a wide variety of drilling mud from various regions across North America. To our knowledge, based on extensive literature search, this is the first report about the application of this natural waste product in wellbore cleaning fluids like the spacer.