The oil and gas industry essentially relies on the drilling process to operate and thrive in the market. This is where the significance of drilling fluids becomes important to understand. The best way to describe drilling fluids is as a type of fluid or liquid used by operators to conduct a seamless, cost-effective, and successful drilling operation. This fluid is first circulated in a well or ground’s borehole to achieve a stable enough hole that doesn’t pose significant damage to the expected formations in the drilling rig.
It’s safe to say that a drilling operation and its success directly depend on how efficiently the drilling fluid performs. Therefore, many oil and gas companies are often concerned about the properties of the drilling fluids they choose for creating boreholes. Some of the key factors to consider when choosing a drilling fluid include its costs, its technical efficiency, and the environmental impact that they create.
With the right geology tools and equipment, it’s always easier to make the best use of the drilling fluids you employ for your oil and gas company. Here are some of the common types of drilling fluids and their impact explained to help you learn more.
One of the most commonly used types of fluids in drilling operations is water-based drilling fluids. It’s because these are primarily used for drilling wells with substances like saturated brine, fresh water, or even saltwater serving as the base fluids. Water-based drilling fluids also come in different types with multiple properties and compositions, depending on the nature of your drilling operation.
You can get water-based drilling fluids with both light and heavy fluid inhibition. The three most popular compositions of water-based drilling fluids include inhibitive, non-inhibitive, and polymer drilling fluids. Inhibitive fluids are manufactured by thickening clay and reducing its ability to hydrate the drilling surfaces. These are some of the best drilling fluid choices for clay zones that don’t need substantial hydration.
On the other hand, non-inhibitive drilling fluids consist of all materials except potassium, sodium, and calcium. These fluids primarily function with the use of native waters instead of relying on the functionality of ions and thinners. Polymer drilling fluids are regular drilling fluids that can serve as both inhibitive and non-inhibitive materials, depending on their overall composition.
Another drilling fluid type that’s only used in certain parts of the world is oil-based drilling fluids. These fluids are created with the strategic incorporation of nothing but oil, including diesel and synthetic oil. The lack of water and other hydrating components make it the perfect drilling fluid for drilling operations in areas with questionable formation of water and its salinity.
Three main types of oils are used as base oils in oil-based drilling fluids. These include paraffin, olefins, and esters. While esters are essentially vegetable oils modified for industrial use, the rest of them consist of different levels of carbon-hydrogen bonds.
Dry and hard rocks and drilling locations often require the use of drilling fluids that are pneumatic. For example, if you’re an operator working on dolomite, you might need a pneumatic drilling fluid for successful drilling operations. These systems are incredibly complex because they involve air circulation into the drill’s rotating head, resulting in the production of a drilling fluid that allows the rotating head to start diverting and flowing through surfaces.
With pneumatic drilling fluids, there’s always a high risk of explosion, increasing the need to be mindful of the rotating head’s distance for workers’ protection at all times. Operators can also substitute air with gas to produce this drilling liquid. However, this doesn’t make a difference to the high risk of explosion in such drilling environments.
If there’s one drilling fluid known for its exceptional sealing effect, it’s a silicate-based drilling fluid. These are one of the most effective drilling fluids, recognized for their ability to improve the well’s membrane efficiency and seal it seamlessly.
Operators often experience deficiencies in silicate-based drilling mud when they use it with chemicals like magnesium or calcium. However, apart from its reduced pH and affected lubricity, the benefits of silicate drilling muds are a lot more significant than its weaknesses.
The choice of drilling mud or fluid depends on the drilling operation you’re about to conduct. Regardless of the kind of drilling fluid you employ, it’s important to have the right geology supplies and equipment for success. You can now check out our mud logging equipment for sale at CNPS to meet this goal. Let us help you thrive in the oil and gas industry with our geology supplies and more. Contact us for more information today!