During drilling of permeable reservoirs, drilling fluid may penetrate the formation and induce damage to the reservoir rock. Specifically, solids present in the drilling fluid may enter the formation and cause subsequent reduction in reservoir permeability in the area near the wellbore.
When drilling with a water-based drilling fluid in a reservoir, various polymer-based additives are normally applied to reduce the filtration loss. These additives, such as Xanthan Gum, Poly Anionic Cellulose (PAC) and Starch may help in reducing losses to the formation in presence of small pore-throats and low differential pressures. If the pore throats exceed e.g. 20μm and differential pressures reach 500psi, these additives have little effect on reducing loss of drilling fluid to the formation and thereby little effect in preventing solids from entering the formation.
Lost circulation is particularly challenging when losses occur in the reservoir section. This is because LCM treatment may create formation damages. Green et al. (SPE-185889) showed the nature of drilling fluid invasion, clean-up, and retention during reservoir formation drilling. They also showed the lack of direct relation between fluid loss and formation damage. In light of such ideas, a development of new Non-Invasive Fluid (NIF) additives was conducted. These additives were able to handle downhole pressure differences and create a preventative sealing of a permeable formation when applied into a solids-free drilling fluid.
Ceramic discs of various permeability and mean pore-throat size were installed into a HTHP pressure cell. Drilling fluid was pumped through the cell and a filter cake was formed across the ceramic disc. A pressure of 500psi was applied and filtration loss was measured over a 30-minute period.
Examples are herein presented showing how filter cake materials were applied into the drilling fluid and effectively sealing the permeable surface of the ceramic disc. Also, it will be shown how the filter cake was effectively removed from the discs using a breaker solution. Furthermore, a selection of experiments is presented, showing the possibility to heal lost circulation in permeable reservoirs without the presence of weighing materials, clays or drill-solids in the drilling fluid. A test was also conducted in such a way that the disc was fractured inside the test cell to investigate the impact on fluid loss.