Synthetic-based mud ( SBMs ) proposed to substitute the toxic mineral oil based muds need to be fully investigated and compared on the basis of both performance and environmental acceptability. Esters, polyalphaolefins, ethers and alkyl-benzenes are the biodegradable fluids candidates to replace mineral oil and solve the critical problem of disposal of the drilled oily cuttings into the marine environment without the need of costly washing processes or transport to onshore disposal sites.

This paper describes the experimental procedures and the results of the tests and analyses performed on different pseudo-oil based mud systems: stability to contaminants, HTHP rheology, lubricity, effect on cement slurry and ecotoxicity characteristics are evaluated and compared. The study includes the investigation of the quantity of pseudo-oil retained on cuttings by the tested mud formulations.

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