American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc.


This paper includes a history of the efforts which have been put forth to minimize or eliminate the various problems caused by hydrogen sulfide.

When hydrogen sulfide enters the borehole during drilling, completion, or testing for hydrocarbons, it creates several very detrimental problems. These problems are encountered regardless of the source of the hydrogen sulfide.

Hydrogen sulfide can be dangerous to personnel on the surface, can cause cracking personnel on the surface, can cause cracking of drill pipe and tubular goods, and destruction of testing tools and wire lines.

Less severe problems, however still important to good drilling practices, are incompatibility of hydrogen sulfide and drilling fluids and obscurement of test results for other ions contained in drilling fluids filtrates which are important to successful drilling practices.

The advantages and disadvantages of using the following compounds for scavenging hydrogen sulfide from water base drilling fluids are compared.

  1. Copper Compounds

  2. Zinc Compounds

  3. Iron Compounds

  4. Hydrogen Peroxide

  5. Chelates

The use of oil base drilling fluids instead of water base fluids for drilling has certain advantages in areas where hydrogen sulfide is likely to be encountered.

Designing special invert emulsion base fluids for use in completion and drill stem testing is suggested and the chemistry of these specially designed fluids is explained.

Testing for the presence of hydrogen sulfide in drilling fluids is discussed.

Many of the efforts that have been reported by service companies and oil companies for combating hydrogen sulfide during drilling operations are summarized.

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