Quality requirements for industrial minerals used in drilling fluids
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 1988
The quality of mineral additives used in a drilling fluid (mud) can dramatically affect the fluid's properties and the overall cost of drilling an oil or gas well. The principally wed minerals are bentonite, barite, barite/hematite blends, and hematite alone. The high specific gravity minerals, barite and hematite, are used to increase drilling fluid density. Bentonite clay is used to increase drilling fluid viscosity and gel strength and to provide a low permeability filter cake. A multimillion dollar investment in a well and the safety of the personnel on the drilling rig can depend on how effectively these mud additives perform with other constituents in the mud. This paper points out effects caused by small amounts of certain carbonate and sulfide mineral impurities in barite or hematite and how polymeric extender additives in bentonites contribute to unpredictable behavior of a mud. Effects like these are the reason oil companies using these materials sometimes set their own quality standards beyond those already specified in APZ Spec. 13A. Also discussed in this paper are the current standardization activities of API Committee 13 on these minerals.