SILDRIL Drilling Fluid System | SLB


Silicate-based drilling fluid system

Mountain landscape.

Whether you’re drilling in 1,000 ft [305 m] of water or the most environmentally fragile jungle, a gumbo environment or interbedded shales, or a vertical or high-angle hole, the SILDRIL system gives you flexibility you never thought possible from a water-based drilling fluid.

SILDRIL system capitalizes on the very latest in silicate technology to give you formation-inhibitive performance approaching that of oil-based mud but with the environmental acceptability of a water-based fluid.

The system's advanced silicate polymerization mechanism creates complex inorganic structures that react with both shale surfaces and drilled cuttings. These inorganic polymeric structures result in both physical and chemical stabilization.

As a result, you reap the benefits of superior wellbore integrity, high penetration rates, decreased trouble time, and superb solids removal performance—all with minimal environmental impact.


how SILDRIL system stays on top of rock.
Sodium silicate fluids form complex gelatinous structures, which react with the clay and non-clay surfaces of the formation to provide an effective barrier to the imbibition of water, effectively stabilizing the shale structure.
how SILDRIL system stays on top of rock.
Before and after SILDRIL system shows more solid cuttings.
Left: cuttings from a reactive formation drilled with a conventional KCl polymer fluid. Right: higher cuttings integrity using SILDRIL system in the same formation.

SILDRIL system components

Depending on the application, a soluble sodium or potassium silicate is the basic building block of the SILDRIL system. These silicate products are available in liquid and dry forms.

  • SILDRIL L system is a liquid monosilicate that polymerizes in the fluid. It forms a complex inorganic molecule that adsorbs onto the shale surfaces, forming a physical barrier that is the key to the inhibition process. Liquid sodium and potassium silicate additives are available.
  • SILDRIL D system has been spray dried to enhance the solubility. It is also available as a sodium and potassium product. SILDRIL D system provides an excellent alternative where logistics is a key issue; SILDRIL L and SILDRIL D systems can be combined to meet specific logistic needs.
  • SILDRIL K system is used to specifically identify the silicate additive to be a potassium silicate product. It provides an excellent alternative for land disposal requirements where supplemental potassium salts cannot be used. Numerous studies and papers demonstrate the commercial application for potassium silicate as a soil conditioner.
  • SILDRIL EPL additive is a lubricant designed for use in the SILDRIL system that reduces torque, drag, and the potential for differential sticking.

Fluid design

The relatively small number of components that comprise the nondispersed SILDRIL system provide a great deal of flexibility in designing the system to meet the needs of a particular application. Fewer products also mean ease of maintenance, simpler logistics, and lower drilling costs.

While the additives may be few, the advantages are many. Complementing its superior inhibitive characteristics that consistently deliver cost effective drilling performance in the most reactive and dispersive shale formations, SILDRIL system provides supplemental benefit few water-based fluids can match.

Because SILDRIL system reliably produces a stable and near-gauge wellbore, it provides an excellent opportunity for enhanced log interpretation. The system consistently demonstrates its capacity to allow the most advanced formation evaluation tools to reach the bottom, even in applications where logging with alternative drilling fluids had either been unsuccessful or resulted in unacceptable nonproductive time (NPT).