Water-based mud designs as alternatives to oil-based or synthetic-based muds are compared versus history of use. Water-soluble designs and water-insoluble designs are discussed as well as a combination approach used by Woodside Energy to drill on the Northwest Shelf, Offshore Australia. Perfornance of a water-based 2-phase polyglycol mud system containing a Drilling Enhancer with an appropriate bit design was technically and economically equivalent to that with a synthetic-based mud.

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