Advanced slim hole drilling technologies being introduced for creating cost-effective deep exploration and development wells require a totally new type of drilling fluid that minimises parasitic pressure losses while maintaining effective suspension properties at high temperatures.

A set of high-density organic brine systems based on formate salts has been designed to meet these, and other performance criteria visualised as necessary for an ideal deep slim hole drilling fluid. High-temperature-high-pressure rheology and fluid loss experiments, in both conventional laboratory equipment and IFP's fluid test loop, have confirmed that the new brine formulations have good thermal stability to at least 150°C.

The results from many detailed rheological measurements on these formulations will be fed into advanced fluid hydraulic models to validate the original design concept for minimising parasitic pressure losses in deep slim hole wells by using low-viscosity brine-based drilling fluid systems.

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