Due to increase in environmental legislation against the disposition of oil based mud and an increase in environmental awareness, there is need for drilling companies to come up with a superior drilling mud with little or no aromatic content, which is biodegradable and environmentally friendly which poses no health hazard to oilfield workers and the host community.

For this study, oil extracted from the non food plant seeds (jatropha and canola seeds) were used as the base fluid for drilling mud samples in laboratory, oil in water emulsion was made using oil-water ratio of 70 to 30. 200ml of oil; 350ml of water, 50g of bentonite and barite was finally added to build the density up to 10ppg. Three mud samples were formulated with three different based fluids which are diesel, jatropha and canola oil based mud samples. Different mud laboratory tests such as toxicity, filtration, pH, viscosity and density were carried out on the three samples to ascertain their suitability properties for drilling operation and their degree of safety to the environment.

The results obtained show that jatropha has the lowest viscosity, which imply less resistance to flow and lower pressure losses. The outcome of toxicity test confirmed jatropha to be safer and less harmful to plant life and soil micro organism while diesel proved to be most toxic among the three samples. The overall results obtained from laboratory tests indicate that jatropha oil based mud pose great chance of being among the technically and environmentally viable replacements for convectional diesel oil based mud. The study serves as one of the ending solution to the environmental problem associated to oil based drilling operation especially in deep water exploitation.

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