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Drilling & Well Technology

Environmentally Friendly Mud Additives for Superior Drilling-fluid Design to Meet the Current and Future Technical and Environmental Challenges

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Drilling fluids introduced in 1887 and used in the period 1887–1901 were basic mixtures of clays and water that had no impact on the surrounding environment. However, they have now become a complex mixture of fluids, suspended or dissolved solids, polymers and chemicals, and thus require an engineered design approach to fulfil their technical performance without having any impact on the surrounding environment, ecosystems and habitats, as well as to ensure the occupational health and safety (OHS) of drilling-fluid testing and handling staff. Environmental problems associated with complex drilling fluids in general, and oil-based mud (OBM) in particular, are among the major concerns of world communities. For this reason, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other regulatory bodies are imposing increasingly stringent regulations to ensure the use of environmentally friendly muds and mud additives. 1

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the EPA and other regulatory bodies imposed environmental laws and regulations affecting all aspects of petroleum-related operations from exploration, production and refining to distribution. 2 In particular, there has been increasing pressure on exploration companies to find environmentally acceptable alternatives to OBMs. This has been reflected in the introduction of new legislation by government agencies in almost every part of the world – including the US, the North Sea, the Adriatic and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) – on the use of OBMs. 3

Nearly three-quarters of the Earth is ocean, which provides huge potential for hydrocarbon resources in addition to other valuable marine resources. According to Liesman, 4 reserves at depths approaching a mile or more now represent the biggest single new oil resources for world communities. For this reason, industry attention is focused on the vast offshore areas. This is reflected in increasing drilling activities in the marine environment. 1 Even though

Mohammed Amanullah is a Principal Research Scientist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organisation (CSIRO)

Mohammed Amanullah is a Principal Research Scientist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organisation (CSIRO) Petroleum in Australia. Prior to joining CSIRO, he worked as a technical specialist (drilling fluid) in Nigeria with Interdril Nigeria Ltd, having previously worked at Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation as an Assistant Engineer. His major areas of research are novel techniques and product development, shale-drilling mud

interactions, borehole instability, water- and oil- (synthetic and plant/vegetable) based mud design, mudcake characterisation, membrane efficiency measurement, mud- and production-related formation damage, water cut problems, water management and environmentally friendly product development for oil field and other industrial applications. He is the lead inventor of vegetable-oil-based dielectric fluid, has published more than 60 papers and reports and also prepared the drilling fluid manual for Interdril Nigeria Ltd. In 2005 he was one of the recipients of the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards, awarded by the Royal Australian Chemical Institute. He completed his PhD in petroleum engineering at Imperial College, London in 1993, having obtained an MSc with first-class honours in mechanical engineering, with specialisation in oil and gas

field equipment, from Moscow Oil and Gas Institute in 1983.

a report by

Mohammed Amanullah

Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organisation (CSIRO) Petroleum

Figure 1: Measured Membrane Efficiency of Several Mud Systems

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Silicate mud

Mud A

Types of mud

Mud B

Mud C

Figure 2: Comparison of the Rheological Behaviour of Mineral- and Vegetable-oil-based Muds

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VOM
RYOM
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MOM
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Figure 3: Comparison of the Rheological Behaviour of Mineral- and Plant-oil-based Muds

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the overall environmental impact of water-based muds (WBMs) is minimal, due to the detrimental effect of some mud additives such as potassium chloride, potassium sulphate, polyamine, etc., drilling and operating companies have been forced to review their mud additive selection guidelines to exclude or control the use of non- environmentally friendly and low-toxic mud additives in the formulation of WBMs.

Some of the WBM additives that were acceptable from an environmental point of view decades ago are not acceptable for current and future drilling operations in environmentally sensitive areas. For this reason, the industry is dedicated to replacing some of the low-toxic, less harmful and less pure WBM additives that may not be tolerable in future due to the introduction of increasingly strict environmental legislation to protect the global environment. Moreover, some of the WBM additives that are considered environmentally friendly on the basis of the evaluation of short-term exposure effect may not be acceptable if they show long- term exposure effect. This may lead to changes in WBM and mud additives selection and disposal guidelines all over the world.

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BRIEFINGS

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Spurt and API fluid losses

(cc)

Spurt and API fluid losses

(cc)

Environmentally Friendly Mud Additives for Superior Drilling-fluid Design

This paper provides a brief description of the muds and mud additives that were developed to meet the current and future technical and environmental challenges likely to be encountered in the exploration and exploitation of international oil and gas resources.

High Membrane Efficiency Water-based Mud OBM eliminates reactive shale and mudrock problems through the formation of membrane at the borehole wall, which allows the removal of water from the shale formation. This concept was used to develop several high-membrane-generating WBMs jointly with Halliburton Baroid. A novel test facility was built for accurate assessment of the membrane-generating efficiency of different WBMs. Figure 1 shows the membrane-generating capability of several newly formulated WBM systems compared with the frequently used silicate-based mud. The data show that two of the newly developed WBMs have higher membrane efficiency compared with the widely used silicate-based mud, and thus are expected significantly to reduce mud-related borehole instability problems.

Vegetable- and Plant-oil-based Muds Due to the poor environmental standing and biodegradation characteristics of conventional oil-based muds, the Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organisation (CSIRO) conducted dedicated research to develop plant- and vegetable-oil-based muds to replace the toxic OBMs. Innovative processing and additive techniques led to the successful formulation of plant- and vegetable-oil-based muds with rheological characteristics similar to conventional OBMs. Figures

Figure 4: Comparison of the Fluid-loss Characteristics of Mineral- and Vegetable-oil-based Muds

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Spurt loss – BHR API fluid loss – BHR

Spurt loss – AHR API fluid loss – AHR

Figure 5: Fluid-loss Characteristics of Plant-oil-based Muds in the Presence of Different Fluid-loss Additives

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the Presence of Different Fluid-loss Additives 40 30 20 10 0 Duratone Barablock Baranex Fluid loss
the Presence of Different Fluid-loss Additives 40 30 20 10 0 Duratone Barablock Baranex Fluid loss
the Presence of Different Fluid-loss Additives 40 30 20 10 0 Duratone Barablock Baranex Fluid loss
the Presence of Different Fluid-loss Additives 40 30 20 10 0 Duratone Barablock Baranex Fluid loss

Duratone

Barablock

Baranex Fluid loss additive

Polyac

Spurt loss

API fluid loss

CMC LV1

2 and 3 show the rheological behaviour of the newly developed vegetable- and plant-oil-based muds. The American Petroleum Industry (API) filtration test, however, indicates much higher API fluid- loss properties (see Figures 4 and 5) for both the vegetable- and the plant-oil-based muds compared with mineral OBM. This problem can easily be fixed by identifying or developing an appropriate fluid-loss additive that is effective in vegetable- and plant-oil-based muds.

Only gas lift valve in the industry tested and approved to the Rogaland test for gas lift barrier valves - ISO 17078-2 and ISO 14310-V0

Dynamic fluid loss (cc)

PV, YP and gel strength change (%)

PV, YP and gel strength change (%)

Environmentally Friendly Mud Additives for Superior Drilling-fluid Design

Figure 6: Comparison of the Dynamic Fluid-loss Behaviour of Novel Fluid-loss Additives with Respect to a Widely Used Modified Starch

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Figure 7: Viscosity and Gel Strength Change of Bentonite Mud after Hot Rolling at 150°C

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Figure 8: Viscosity and Gel Strength Change of Bentonite plus Geosynthetic Polymer Mud after Hot Rolling at 150°C

Hot-rolled GSP bentonite mud viscosity/gel change with respect to original GSP bentonite mud

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Positive values indicate increase Negative values indicate decrease
Positive values indicate increase Negative values indicate decrease
Positive values indicate increase Negative values indicate decrease

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10-second gel

10-minute gel

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PV

YP

These newly developed OBM systems have technical performance standards similar to conventional OBMs because of their lack of interaction with shale and mudrock. Their environmental standing is similar to that of WBMs due to their negligible toxicity effect and highly biodegradable nature. Further information about vegetable- and plant-oil-based mud can be found in Amanullah 5 and Amanullah et al. 6

Highly Pure Corn-based Fluid-loss Additive Conventional starch-based fluid-loss additive is manufactured by gelatinisation using a solvent that generates a huge amount of waste water, which is an environmental liability. Furthermore, the product is not highly pure due to the use of a solvent in the manufacturing process. Moreover, the common starch-based fluid- loss additives used by the industry have a thermal stability of less than 120°C. To extend the thermal stability as well as the purity of starch-based fluid-loss additives, CSIRO Petroleum, jointly with CSIRO Manufacture and Infrastructure Technology (CMIT), developed several highly pure corn-based starches using a process of

thermo-mechanical gelatinisation with a twin screw extruder. The process produces no waste by-product, as no solvent is used in the manufacturing process. Figures 7 and 8 show the static and dynamic fluid-loss characteristics of the novel fluid-loss additives compared with those of a commonly used modified starch. The results show similar or better performance for some of the newly developed starch-based fluid-loss additives in both static and dynamic conditions, along with a thermal stability of up to 150°C. Further information regarding the manufacturing process and the product’s characteristics can be found in Amanullah and Yu. 7

Thermal Inhibitor Bentonite muds, which contain more than 90% water and usually less than 10% bentonite, are environmentally friendly muds that have no impact on the surrounding environment, offshore and onshore areas, sensitive habitats and ecosystems. However, the thermally induced flocculation of this mud at temperatures above 120°C makes it difficult to use for borehole environments with high temperatures.

Dedicated research at CSIRO Petroleum has led to the development of an environmentally friendly thermal inhibitor that can extend the thermal stability of bentonite mud beyond 150°C. Figures 7 and 8 show the change in the viscosity, yield point and gel characteristics of the original bentonite and the geosynthetic-polymer (GSP)- containing bentonite muds after hot rolling. The dramatic change in the rheological properties of original bentonite mud after hot rolling demonstrates serious thermal degradation of the mud. Further information regarding the thermal inhibitor can be found in Amanullah and Richard. 8

Gel-based Lost Circulation Material and Strengthening Fluid Unconsolidated sand formations encountered during drilling create different borehole problems, such as loss of circulation due to high permeability, washout, hole enlargement and sanding due to poor mechanical strength. The sealing of the permeable pathways and bonding of the unconsolidated particles are very important to reduce mud loss and improve load-bearing capacity and resistance to flow-induced failure of the unconsolidated sand formations. CSIRO has recently developed an environmentally friendly gel system that can simultaneously cause blockage of permeable pathways and binding of the loose particles together to reduce the scope of mud loss and borehole washout.

Conclusion These novel environmentally friendly products are expected to improve technical performance without causing any environmental impact. Furthermore, they will maintain technical performance at the same level without causing any impact to the surrounding environment, ecosystems or habitats.

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1. Amanullah M, Yu L, Environment friendly fluid loss additives to protect the marine environment from the detrimental effect of mud additives, Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering,

2005;48(3–4):199–208.

2. Amanullah M, Shale-drilling mud interactions, PhD thesis, University of London, 1993;275.

3. Reid PI, Elliot GP, Milton RC, Burt DA, Reduced environmental impact and improved drilling performance with water-based muds containing glycols. SPE/EPA Exploration and Production Environmental Conference, San Antonio,

Texas, 7–10 March 1993, SPE 25989, 453–63.

4. Liesman S, Big oil starts to tap vast reserves buried far below the waves, Wall Street Journal, 3 July 2000.

5. Amanullah M, Physio-chemical characterisation of vegetable oils and preliminary test results of vegetable oil-based muds. SPE/IADC Middle East Drilling Technology Conference and Exhibition, 12–14 September 2005, Dubai, UAE, SPE-97008-PP.

6. Amanullah M, Tan CP, Camilleri M, Rheological and filtration properties of novel plant-oil-based invert emulsion muds, CSIRO Confidential Report No. 00-025, 2000.

7. Amanullah M, Yu L, Dynamic and static fluid loss properties of novel starches prepared using reactive extrusion technique, Asia Pacific Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition, 18–20 October 2004, Perth, Australia.

8. Amanullah M, Boyle R, An environment friendly and economically attractive thermal degradation inhibitor for bentonite mud, SPE Europec/EAGE Conference and Exhibition, Vienna, Austria, 12–15 June 2006, SPE-99410.

EXPLORATION

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PRODUCTION

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ISSUE

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Supporting New Developments in Drilling and Testing of High-pressure Offshore Wells

Supporting New Developments in Drilling and Testing of High-pressure Offshore Wells

a report by

Energy Institute (EI)

The Energy Institute (EI) is the leading professional body for the energy industry, with over 13,000 individuals and 300 companies in membership across 100 countries. At the heart of the EI lies its scientific and technical programme. Each year, the EI undertakes a focused technical work programme comprising original independent research and investigations, technical responses to legislation and regulation and workshops and seminars, providing the international energy industry with information and guidance on relevant technical matters related to health, safety, environment, aviation, distribution and marketing, test methods and hydrocarbon management. It is supported by BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Maersk Oil, Talisman, ENI, Kuwait Aviation International, Total, Statoil, Murco, BG Group, Nexen, BHP Billiton and Saudi Aramco.

The EI technical programme covers the development of good practice guidance in support of offshore safety and integrity, which has of late included work on high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) drilling. In response to developments in exploration and production, the EI is revising the Institute of Petroleum (IP) Model Code of Safe Practice, Part 17: well control during the drilling and testing of high-pressure offshore wells.

This Code was developed for the safe practice for those concerned with well control during the drilling and testing of high-pressure offshore wells, providing information and guidance on those well control activities associated with high-pressure wells that have an impact on safety offshore. The Code is intended to be used in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) context, but the principles and recommendations have general relevance to similar operations elsewhere. Each chapter covers an important aspect of well control and has an introduction that describes the part each activity plays in the drilling and testing of high-pressure offshore wells. In 2006, the EI’s technical partners agreed to support these revisions and the EI is working with consultants Think Well to provide the expertise needed. This work is being directed by a cross-industry steering group drawn from the EI’s Aberdeen HPHT forum, and includes the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The group is chaired by Bruce McEwan of Shell, with the EI providing management and secretarial functions. To find out more, please visit www.energyinst.org.uk

To find out more, please visit www.energyinst.org.uk ■ ITS Drilling Services is a rental, sales &
To find out more, please visit www.energyinst.org.uk ■ ITS Drilling Services is a rental, sales &
To find out more, please visit www.energyinst.org.uk ■ ITS Drilling Services is a rental, sales &
To find out more, please visit www.energyinst.org.uk ■ ITS Drilling Services is a rental, sales &
To find out more, please visit www.energyinst.org.uk ■ ITS Drilling Services is a rental, sales &

ITS Drilling Services is a rental, sales & service company providing a range of products and services for the drilling, production and refining activities worldwide.

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