Streaming Potential of Muds Containing Starch
- E.J. Lynch (Stanford U.) | W.M. Byers (Stanford U.) | J.E. Drury (Stanford U.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- March 1962
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 329 - 330
- 1962. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 1.11 Drilling Fluids and Materials, 1.11.2 Drilling Fluid Selection and Formulation (Chemistry, Properties)
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Measurements made with starch muds indicate that the presence of starch serves to depress the streaming potential of a clay mud system. Measurements with pure starch slurries show that the addition of NaCl or CaO reduces the streaming potential significantly. The addition of NaOH, however, causes only a minor reduction in potential even when there are large changes in mud resistivity.
In their excellent study of the streaming potential, Hill and Anderson proposed that the presence of conductive solids within the filter medium will reduce the generated potential. This theory was demonstrated with measurements on shaly sandstone cores having various "b" factors; the cores with the higher negative b factors showed markedly lower potentials. (The factor b was originally defined by Hill and Milburn in an expression relating the resistivity of a shaly sandstone to the resistivity of the interstitial water:
The factor b, therefore, is a measure of the contribution of the conductive solids to the total conductivity of the sample. It has been found experimentally to be directly related to the amount of chemically exchangeable ion per unit pore volume.) In the logical extension of this hypothesis to the streaming potential created by filtration through mud cakes, they suggested that the presence of nonconductive starch in a drilling mud would have the opposite effect; i.e., it would cause the streaming potential to be increased. The high streaming potentials that they observed with lime muds were attributed to this cause. A cross-plot of some of their results which are relevant to this discussion is given in Fig. 1. The lime-mud curves and untreated-mud curve are taken from curves given in their paper. The gyp-mud line was estimated from their statement that the measured streaming potential for gyp muds in the range of 1.5 to 2.0 ohm-m was approximately 18 mv/1,000 psi. These gyp-mud potentials were the lowest that they reported for any of the bentonitic-clay muds, and were the only ones which were less than the untreated-mud potentials. This very low streaming potential of gyp muds has also been observed in field studies. By way of comparison, a U. of Texas publication gives the approximate compositions for lime and gyp muds shown in Table 1. These materials are added to a bentonitic-clay mud base. It can be seen that both of these muds contain significant amounts of calcium salts and that the gyp mud has the higher concentration of starch. It would appear from this and from the data shown in Fig. 1 that starch may well be the cause of a streaming-potential reduction, rather than a potential increase.
A series of streaming-potential experiments has been performed using a cell of a design similar to that reported by Wyllie. Calomel electrodes were used in both the mud slurry and the filtrate. Pressure in the cell was generated with high-pressure nitrogen. The primary objective of the investigation was to determine the effect of starch on the potential. Five different slurries were made which ranged in composition from untreated bentonitic mud (Baroid Aquagel) to a pure starch suspension (Baroid Impermex). The intermediate slurries were prepared by mixing together a 9-lb/bbl clay mud with a 12-lb/bbl starch suspension in the ratios 1:3, 1:1 and 3:1. when starch was used alone, it was necessary to use an 18-lb/bbl mixture, since leaner mixtures would not form a suitable filter cake. The clay mud used in the experiments was aged for three months before use. In addition to this series of measurements on the starch-clay mud mixtures, other experiments were performed to determine the effect on the potential of the absolute starch and Aquagel concentration, and the effect of adding various chemicals.
The effect of starch on the streaming potential is shown clearly in Fig. 2.
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