Conventional drilling and completion fluids containing weighting solids or hydrocarbons or halide brines can create problems with hydraulics, well control, well integrity and well productivity in HPHT operations. The negative influence of conventional fluids on drilling and completion operations can be sufficiently serious to compromise safety and degrade the economics of challenging HPHT field developments.

Formate brines have been developed specifically to provide improved drilling and completion fluids that are free of the troublesome components found in conventional fluids and therefore better suited to meet the needs of oil companies involved in difficult HPHT well constructions.

Formate brines have been successfully used as reservoir drill-in, completion, workover and suspension fluids in more than 130 HPHT well construction operations over the past 10 years. These applications have included 100 cases in which high down-hole pressures have necessitated the use of cesium formate brines for well control purposes.

Some 15 applications of cesium formate brines to date have been HPHT reservoir drill-in operations in high angle wells where operators considered that conventional fluids could create a safety risk and adversely effect project economics. We review the published information on the field performance of the cesium formate brines in HPHT applications, and conclude that the novel benefits of the technology that were first promised some 15 years ago during the early product development phase have now been fully validated.

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