Experimental Assessment of Water Based Drilling Fluids in High Pressure and High Temperature Conditions



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Proper selection of drilling fluids plays a major role in determining the efficient completion of any drilling operation. With the increasing number of ultra-deep offshore wells being drilled and ever stringent environmental and safety regulations coming into effect, it becomes necessary to examine and understand the behavior of water based drilling fluids - which are cheaper and less polluting than their oil based counterpart - under extreme temperature and pressure conditions.

In most of the existing literature, the testing procedure is simple - increase the temperature of the fluid in steps and record rheological properties at each step. A major drawback of this testing procedure is that it does not represent the continuous temperature change that occurs in a drilling fluid as it is circulated through the well bore. To have a better understanding of fluid behavior under such temperature variation, a continuous test procedure was devised in which the temperature of the drilling fluid was continuously increased to a pre-determined maximum value while monitoring one rheological parameter. The results of such tests may then be used to plan fluid treatment schedules. The experiments were conducted on a Chandler 7600 XHPHT viscometer and they seem to indicate specific temperature ranges above which the properties of the drilling fluid deteriorate. Different fluid compositions and drilling fluids in use in the field were tested and the results are discussed in detail.