Industry Article: Chrome-free WBM a viable option for ultra-HP/HT applications

Engineering drilling fluids for ultra HP/HT applications, particularly in sensitive ecosystems, can be a daunting proposition.

Publication: E&P
Volume: August
Issue: 2011
Publication Date: 09/01/2011

Oil-base drilling fluids are typically preferred over their water-base counterparts in applications where bottomhole temperatures can approach 260degC with shut-in pressures to 25,000 psi, thereby requiring densities as high as 19 lb/gal (2.2 sg). However, more areas are prohibiting the discharge of oil-base fluids and cuttings, which increases waste management costs and potential liabilities. An alternative is a newly designed, chrome-free, high density water-base drilling (WBM) fluid. The first field application of the new WBM was in an exploration well in southeastern Hungary, which has strong regulations controlling the use and discharge of drilling fluids with employing oil, diesel, or additives containing chrome and other heavy metals. The well was drilled with no fluid-related issues and complied with all environmental regulations. Post-well data validated the capability of the HP/HT water-base fluid to affect tight control over properties to maintain a stable rheological profile.

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