A new surfactant capable of providing stable emulsions to as low as a 20/80 oil/water ratio while still maintaining a continuous oil phase is now possible. The new surfactant works in a variety of brines allowing flexibility in formulations and applications. The high internal phase emulsion allows formulations of higher density with less total solids. These high internal phase emulsions are stable at high temperatures and provide manageable (adequate) low-end rheological properties suitable for drilling and completion applications. This system demonstrates relatively less syneresis than a conventional invert. Using a higher internal phase requires less oil and subsequently lowers costs both from initial base fluid cost and final disposal of the base fluid. This new surfactant can also be used to formulate systems for conventional alpha-beta gravel packing, whereby the rheology profile approaches Newtonian properties.
This paper will detail the chemistry behind the new surfactant, initial laboratory assessments and the potential applications for this new technology.