Saudi Aramco has developed a novel sized particulate LCM using eco-friendly natural date seed as the raw material. As there is a sustainable and large source of yearly supply of date seeds in Saudi Arabia and in the Middle Eastern Region, it has a great potential to be a viable source of raw material for manufacturing sized particulate LCMs in the Kingdom to help combat moderate to severe loss circulation problems encountered while drilling and cementing. This paper describes the characteristic features, behavior in drilling mud systems and performance of the date seed-based sized LCM product "ARC Plug" when incorporated into various water-based mud systems.

The newly developed "ARC Plug" has been tested and evaluated by incorporating in 65 pcf Bentonite mud, 73 pcf KCl-Polymer mud, 80 pcf NaCl-Polymer mud and 90 pcf CaCl2-Polymer mud widely used in drilling operation. A commercial sized particulate LCM marketed by an international vendor was also evaluated. Tests were conducted at 250 °F temperature and 1500 psi pressure using a 2mm slotted disc and the widely used PPT apparatus. Two different concentrations such as 10 and 30 lbs/bbl were used in each barrel of mud to evaluate their sealing and blocking performance.

The results demonstrated effective sealing and plugging capacity of the Saudi Aramco developed date seed-based sized particulate LCMs "ARC Plug". Both concentrations showed effective sealing and plugging of the slots to prevent the loss of whole mud through the 2 mm slots of the slotted disc. The commercial sized particulate LCM also sealed the 2 mm slot when incorporated in 65 pcf bentonite, 73 pcf KCl-Polymer, 80 pcf NaCl-Polymer muds and 90 pcf CaCl2-Polymer muds. However, the ARC plug showed relatively better performance than the commercial particulate LCMs. This pioneering research indicate that the locally derived novel and ecofriendly date seed-based LCM product is a viable alternative to commercial sized particulate LCMs to help control loss of circulation while drilling and cementing a well.

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