A new laboratory method defined as the ‘Aramco Method’ developed by Saudi Aramco Scientists can play a pivotal role to reduce the mud related formation damage, enhance the oil and gas production and improve the return on investment. The experimental results produced by the method will provide a comparative assessment of the relative stability of different sized bridging materials that are available for non-damaging drill-in fluid formulations. The method provides a useful tool to select the most suitable and highly durable bridging material for designing and developing superior drill-in fluids to eliminate or reduce mud related formation damage while drilling.

Preliminary experimental results produced by the method using a commercially available sized bridging material indicate significant variation in the PSD (particle size distribution) curve of sized bridging materials after testing due to the attrition effect and thus indicate a change in designed particle size distribution in down hole conditions. Material showing significant variation in the PSD due to the attrition effect during the test has the highest potential to cause formation damage. In case of low attrition resistant sized bridging material, there is a need to discard significant volumes of drilling fluid and to build fresh fluid in order to add new sized bridging material in the drill-in fluid system frequently to restore the desirable particle size distribution. On the other hand, material showing no or negligible variation in the PSD due to high resistance to attrition damage has the lowest potential to cause formation damage. Due to the preservation of the PSD of high attrition resistant bridging material for a long time, the drill-in fluid containing such material needs only infrequent addition of additional sized bridging material in the drill-in fluid system to maintain the desirable particle size distribution and eliminate or reduce the formation damage potential of the drill-in fluid. The engineering significance of the method is that it will provide a guiding tool to select the most suitable sized bridging material to reduce the formation damage potential of drilling mud while drilling and improve the well productivity while producing. The economic significance of the method is that it will reduce the mud management cost and enhance the return on investment by improving the ultimate recovery of oil and gas resources

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