Novel, Thermally Stable Fluid-Loss Pill Performs Better Than Guar-Based Gels
- Adam Wilson (JPT Special Publications Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- November 2013
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 134 - 136
- 2013. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 1 in the last 30 days
- 87 since 2007
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This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper SPE 165096, "Performance and Formation-Damage Assessment of a Novel, Thermally Stable Solids-Free Fluid-Loss Gel," by Pubudu Gamage, Jay P. Deville, SPE, and Bill Shumway, SPE, Halliburton, prepared for the 2013 SPE European Formation Damage Conference and Exhibition, Noordwijk, The Netherlands, 5-7 June. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
A novel solids-free fluid-loss pill for higher-temperature reservoirs has been formulated. This pill can be used effectively in reservoirs with temperatures up to 350°F. Static thermal aging at 320°F demonstrated no noticeable loss of gel strength for at least 20 days. With regard to thermal stability and fluid loss, the synthetic-polymer-based gel outperforms guar-/borate-based gels tested under similar conditions.
High downhole temperatures put a strain not only on equipment but also on the complex chemistry of drilling muds, drill-in fluids, and viscous pills. Some conventional materials, such as polysaccharide gums and sodium tetraborate crosslinking agents, are demonstrably unstable or simply rendered useless under high thermal loads for extended periods. This paper describes the development of a material for one such challenge—replacement of biopolymer-based gels for high-temperature applications. Research produced a novel, workable aqueous monovalent brine-based gel derived from a synthetic water-soluble polymer. The gel, which can be used for a variety of downhole applications including well kills, perforations, and other fluid-loss applications, is thermally stable and can be applied at temperatures up to 350°F, conditions where both polysaccharides and borate crosslinking begin to fail.
The gel was specifically developed to be used in a 320°F gas reservoir. Gas regained permeability was used to assess any formation-damage issues of the gel in downhole applications. However, leakage of brine into the core during the hold-off period alters the water saturation of the core, adding complication in the regained permeability experiments because of water blockage.
Gel Formulation. Gel was formulated with a high-density brine solution of a synthetic water-soluble polymer and a metal-based crosslinker. Further additives include pH buffers to lower the pH to an appropriate range for crosslinking to occur (pH of 4 to 5) and thermal stabilizers to mitigate gel decomposition by radical reactions and other processes. Concentration of polymer, the polymer/crosslinker ratio, and the pH of the formulation were tuned carefully to provide optimized gelling and fluid-loss properties. The formulations presented in this paper were based on 10.0-lbm/gal brine prepared by diluting stock 12.5-lbm/gal NaBr brine with water.
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