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Successful Decarbonization of Drilling Fluids by Using Highly Efficient Technology and Reduced Chemical Usage, Logistics, and Casing Sections

Successful Decarbonization of Drilling Fluids by Using Highly Efficient Technology and Reduced Chemical Usage, Logistics, and Casing Sections

Paper Co-Authored with PEMEX, Schlumberger & CSA Ocean Sciences Presented at OTC Asia 2024


In accordance with the industry’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint in all phases of operation, it has become vital to investigate innovative ways of reducing pollution to acceptable levels and to optimize drilling fluid usage and formulations. As the main us er of chemical products during the drilling phase, the drilling fluid has a significant effect on the carbon footprint, which is exacerbated when drilling fluid losses occur.

An innovative technology has proven to be a very efficient sealant, displacing a number of conventional materials used to reinforce the wellbore while drilling. Thus, the use of calcium carbonate, graphite, Gilsonite, and asphalt, among other products, has been significantly reduced or in some cases, eliminated, from the formulation of specific drilling fluids, due to a technology that provides a thin but highly competent shield that prevents the invasion of fluid and pressure into the formation, thereby expanding the operative window. This technology is used in the drilling fluid, so that every freshly drilled rock is immediately sealed with flexible particles thus preventing the start of fluid invasion and wellbore washout.

This technology enables the operator to reduce not only the amount of chemical products used in the drilling fluid, but also to save casing sections due to the increase in the operative window, prevent drilling fluid loss, reduce land and offshore transportation to the wellsite, and consequently reduce the supply chain process from the original source of the raw materials, manufactured products, to the end users at the rig site.

The average total amount of chemical products utilized per well drilled has decreased by 34%, which has a significant impact on the supply chain, including transportation, associated logistics, and raw materials, among other components.

In addition, each time a casing section is saved, the carbon footprint is lowered, saving casing section (steel production), cementing materials, wireline logging, rig days, logistics, and so on.

This paper will discuss the technological strategy chosen to deploy this sort of technology, the results obtained in terms of operations efficiency, and an estimated calculation of carbon footprint reduction per operation completed.

The materials previously used control potential drilling fluid losses were inflexible and sensitive to shear pressures, such as calcium carbonate, and their size was constantly changing, undermining their ability to form a dependable seal. In contrast, the focus of this research is selecting material that is flexible, making it resistant to shear forces. As it flexes to conform to the size and shape of the pore throat, the elastic capacity mitigates the uncertainties for the best design in a given particle size distribution pore throat.

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