Lost Circulation Corrective: Time-Setting Clay Cement
- J.U. Messenger (Magnolia Petroleum Co.) | J.S. McNiel Jr. (Magnolia Petroleum Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- March 1952
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 59 - 64
- 1952. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 1.6 Drilling Operations, 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 1.11.2 Drilling Fluid Selection and Formulation (Chemistry, Properties), 1.14 Casing and Cementing, 1.11 Drilling Fluids and Materials, 1.10 Drilling Equipment
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In the drilling of oil wells the control and prevention of lost circulation of the drilling fluid is a problem which is frequently encountered; in many cases existing materials and methods for alleviating this condition have not been adequate. For severe cases of lost circulation in which the simpler methods, such as application of various bridging materials to the mud system, have proven unsatisfactory, a new material and method for applying to the loss zones have been developed which appear to be superior to existing techniques in many respects.
The material, called a clay cement, is capable of being handled as a drilling fluid after initial mixing of the solid ingredients with water and may be pumped down the drill pipe and squeezed into loss zones. After a short period, the material develops a very high gel strength which seals off the zone against further losses of the drilling fluid.
In field tests, the process has been demonstrated to be a very effective method for combatting lost circulation.
Methods of treating lost circulation in rotary-drilled wells by the addition of special materials to drilling fluids have long been in the process of development and are continuing to improve. However, the annual drilling costs which can be traced directly to lost circulation difficulties still run into the millions of dollars. The loss of mud materials into highly permeable zones may range up to $50,000 per well in some areas. In addition to mud costs, excessive requirements of casing, cement, rig time, and the attendant blowout hazards further emphasize the importance of the need for improved methods of combatting lost circulation. The shortcomings of presently-used materials and methods have led to the development of a new lost returns material in the form of a timesetting clay cement. In field tests this material has proven very successful in plugging off loss zones, which other more conventional materials had failed to do.
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