Radial Filtration of Drilling Mud
- C.L. Prokop (Humble Oil and Refining Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- January 1952
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 5 - 10
- 1952. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 1.11.2 Drilling Fluid Selection and Formulation (Chemistry, Properties), 1.11 Drilling Fluids and Materials, 1.10 Drilling Equipment, 1.6 Drilling Operations
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A laboratory investigation has been made of the effects of mud hydraulics upon the formation and erosion of mud filter cakes. The tests were conducted to simulate drilling conditions as nearly as possible.
The formation of mud filter cake in a drilling well does not proceed at a uniform and unbroken rate. Instead, the rate of cake accumulation depends upon whether or not the mud is being circulated. If the mud column is quiescent, filter cake formation is a smooth function of the filtration characteristics of the system. If the mud is being circulated filter cake formation depends not only upon the filtration characteristics of the mud but also upon the erosive action of the flowing mud column.
Filter cakes formed during continuous mud circulation were observed to reach an equilibrium thickness after several hours' circulation. Mud circulation was maintained at a constant volumetric rate throughout each experiment. The fluid velocity at equilibrium cake thickness was dependent upon the thickness of the filter cake. Muds having exceptionally high water loss deposited thick filter cakes in spite of very high eroding velocities. The muds having good filtration characteristics deposited thin filter cakes at equilibrium circulating velocities well within the range of those used in a drilling well.
It was observed that filter cakes deposited during stagnant filtration were quite difficult to erode by mud circulation. The rate of erosion computed from the rate of filtrate accumulation after equilibrium cake thickness had been reached was in reasonable agreement with the rate of erosion obtained by direct observation. Continuous mud circulation usually caused the permeability of the filter cake to decrease with time.
Many of the difficulties encountered during the drilling of a well have been attributed to the loss of water from the mud and the attendant deposition of solids upon the walls of the hole. Past experience has shown that a reduction of the filtration rate of the drilling fluid eliminates or greatly reduces these difficulties. Definite filtration requirements, however, are hard to establish for a given set of conditions. This is due, in part, to the fact that the usual filtration test performed upon mud does not simulate well conditions as closely as desirable.
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