The paper will present lessons learnt to mitigate the stabilization of the air/gas entering into lubricious biopolymer water-based system which decreased density of mud while drilling. The system selected for its highly lubricious properties and formation damage free properties to accommodate the usage of resistivity equipment provided excellent results in the field. Performance was almost equivalent to non-aqueous drilling fluid. However, the stabilization of gas/air entering the mud was encountered generating drilling troubles and risk of well control problems.

An extensive study performed, consisted of assessing interactions between components and containments of the mud system with gas/air, crude-oil and drill solids introduced from the reservoir. The testing involved the adding of air from air-compressor for 60-second while mud sample is sheared at 6000 rpm. The mud weights of samples were measured before addition of air, right after and 60-second after the aeration. The percentage of density drop was calculated. Target value was maximum drop of 5% within 60 second after stopping the addition of air. Several combinations of polymers, lubricants, contaminants and other additives were evaluated.

The study demonstrated that the interactions between crude-oil, polymers and lubricants can highly stabilize air/gas entrapment in the biopolymer water base mud system. The phenomena led to significant density decrease, drilling troubles, well control and safety issue in the field. They can also increase the viscosity of the biopolymer mud system. However, highly stabilized air/gas entrapment can be removed by the addition of emulsion breaker at concentration less than 1.5%vol of mud. In addition, the type and nature of the lubricant plays a major role in the stabilization of air/gas entrapment. The selection of the polymers should be combined with the choice of lubricant during the design phase to minimize the gas entrapment.

Knowledge gained from the study establish a new testing protocol to assess in the laboratory the air/gas entrapment close to field shear conditions. The testing protocol showed good correlation with the field. The testing protocol can be used during the design phase or for investigations. It will improve the overall design of mud system where highly lubricious fluid is needed. Combination of polymers and lubricants did also provide low air/gas entrapment tendency.

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