Brine-based reservoir drilling fluids are a special class of fluids designed to minimize formation damage, provide the necessary hole cleaning, help reduce wellbore cleanup time and cost, and allow reservoirs to be produced to the maximum of their potential. These fluids should address the wide range of difficulties frequently encountered in horizontal drilling, completion, and workover operations. Filtration control chemicals for currently available drill-in fluid systems exposed to extremely high bottomhole temperatures and pressure conditions are not effective or stable for drilling long horizontal sections of the reservoir. Failure to secure a low filtration rate and thin wallcake causes stuck pipe and loss of expensive downhole tools.

Conventional fluid loss control additives for high performance brine-based drill-in fluids include nonionic water soluble polymers, such as starches, derivatized starches, gums, derivatized gums, and cellulosics. Cross-linked starches are often considered the benchmark of performance for utilization in reservoir fluids, but they do not have the thermal stability required for successful deployment at temperatures exceeding 300°F for extended contact periods.

Conventional linear synthetic polymers are also utilized, but oftentimes they require another additive, such as phyllosilicate particles, to be able to effectively function as fluid loss control additives. The use of clay can be problematic in drill-in fluids, as removing the clay from the formation can be difficult because it infiltrates into pores. Furthermore, the addition of the linear synthetic polymers dramatically increases the viscosity of the fluid, which can result in increased equivalent circulating densities (ECD) and decreased drilling rates.

Through advanced synthetic polymer techniques, a novel polymeric fluid loss control additive has been developed for brine-based reservoir drill-in and completion fluids. The new polymer provides enhanced thermal stability to temperature in excess of 400°F in monovalent and divalent halide brines. This paper presents detailed fluid formulations and discusses the polymer evaluation data under simulated downhole HPHT conditions.

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