Partial or total lost circulation is prevalent in the Permian Basin of West Texas during many drilling and cementing operations. Whether losses are due to highly vugular or cavernous intervals or due to low fracture gradients, the problem occurs over the entire region. The common practices for fighting these losses are foamed mud sweeps, foamed cements, lost circulation pills and high-viscosity gel spacers containing lost circulation materials.
This paper presents case histories representing more than 100 wells in which a new environmentally preferred system has been employed. Specifically, instances during drilling are discussed where partial to total losses in returns have occurred and have been restored by pumping 40 to 50 bbls of this new material. These same wells after restoring circulation resume drilling to total depth without any further losses. In addition, cases are presented where the system is used as a spacer pumped ahead of cement, resulting in the circulation of cement in an area where this has not occurred before. Another example resulted in the improvement of bonding by the cement. Additional scenarios demonstrate that pumping this material on a single stage cementing job, could replace the normal two stage job.