With the increase in the environmental awareness across the oil and gas industry along with the strict environmental regulations related to drilling waste management, different practices have been applied to reduce the impact of drilling waste on the environment such as slim-hole drilling, effective solid control equipment, and environmental friendly drilling fluid additives. The main objective of these techniques is to reduce the volume of the disposed contaminated drill cuttings, therefore, reducing both impact on the environment and the cost related to drilling waste handling.

This paper investigates the feasibility of using bio-degradable waste as an environmental friendly drilling fluid additives. A comprehensive experimental evaluation of different bio-degradable waste materials has been carried out to investigate their effectiveness in improving the different properties of water-based drilling fluids. These waste materials, which were prepared in-house, include but not limited to grass, corncobs, sugar cane, pomegranate peel, soya bean peel, etc. The additives were evaluated at different concentrations and mixtures and the various drilling fluids properties were measured, such as filtration, pH, and rheological properties. The filtration properties were evaluated using the standard low pressure low temperature API filter press.

The results showed that some materials such as soya bean peel powder reduced the fluid loss up to 60% and improved the yield point and the gel strength up to 330 % and 640% with minor to no effect on the plastic viscosity, suggesting the applicability of using both additives as a rheology modifier and a filtration control agent. Other materials such as henna and tamarind gum outer reduced the pH dramatically, suggesting their applicability in being used as pH control agents, especially when drilling through cement.

These promising results showed a good potential for these environmental friendly drilling fluid additives (EFDFA) that were generated from waste material to be used as an alternative for some of the toxic materials currently used in the industry. Using these additives, will contribute towards reducing both; the impact on the environment as well as the overall cost of drilling fluids and drilling waste handling.

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