Drilling and Completion Fluids

This year marks the end of my third term as the Drilling and Completion Fluids reviewer on the JPT Editorial Review Board, and this is my final column in that capacity. The journey has been an amazing one.

It is no secret that nanomaterial is useful in many applications. Its application in drilling fluids is well documented. Nanomaterial exhibits many attractive and unique properties such as the ability to improve mudcake quality, reduce mud-filtrate loss and friction, eliminate differential pipe sticking, maintain borehole stability, protect the reservoir, and enhance hydrocarbon recovery.

Recent research indicates great interest in the use of nanocomposite in drilling fluids. Several researchers are working on formulating various types of nanocomposites to improve functionality and strengthen base fluids. Nanocomposite refers to multiphase solid material in which one of the phases has one, two, or three dimensions of less than 100 nm, or in which structures having nanoscale repeat distances between the different phases making up the material.

There is a growing interest in using nanocomposites to improve drilling-fluid rheology. In recent years, an additive derived from a sequence of graphene-based materials has been reported. The progress of these graphene derivatives has been used as a paradigm for water-based drilling fluids. The evolution of these engineered nanocomposites enhances drilling attributes by providing enriched rheology and other significant properties. Simultaneously, it is equally crucial to produce various nanomaterials from low-cost and eco-friendly sources.

Recent research interest also focuses on turning biodegradable waste sources into carbon-based nanomaterials as environmentally friendly additives in water-based drilling fluids. Such wastes include plastic, coal, chitosan, and glucose. The oil and gas industry is moving toward these eco-friendly practices. Various environmental strategies concerning drilling-waste disposal and management are encouraging the industry to be more efficient with drilling operations. These waste-derived organic additives reduce the negative effects on the environment and impart cost-effective effects on drilling fluids. Several reports in the literature present the use of specific additives derived from biomass in water-based-drilling fluids. The effectiveness of these additives was determined by examining rheological properties such as plastic viscosity, yield point, gel strength, filtrate loss, and mudcake thickness in accordance with American Petroleum Industry standards.

Comprehensive evaluations of several waste materials are helpful in improving drilling-fluid performance. Advanced methodologies for further studies are accommodating the synthesis of waste-derived nanocomposites and graphene-doped additives. Apart from water-based drilling fluids, key mechanisms of these nanoadditives would be ­equally beneficial for synthetic-based or oil-based drilling fluids. Incorporating these nanocomposites requires detailed quantitative study for high-temperature/high-temperature conditions. These fundamental approaches may provide significant breakthrough in enhancing drilling-fluid rheological properties.

I hope you enjoyed and benefited from the selected and highlighted papers. Other interesting papers are on the recommended reading list, and the OnePetro online library has additional papers.

This Month's Technical Papers

Addition of Surfactant-Modified Graphene Improves Water-Based Drilling Mud

New Low-Impact Drilling Fluid for Deepwater Applications

Neural Networks Help Classify Reservoirs by Recognizing Cuttings Lithologies

Recommended Additional Reading

SPE 200248 The Feasibility of Using Green Olive Pits Powder as a Bioenhancing Additive in Water-Based Drilling Fluids by Abo Taleb T. Al-Hameedi, Missouri University of Science and Technology, et al.

OTC 29901 Effect of Silica Nanoparticles on Thermal Stability in Bentonite Free-Water-Based Drilling Fluids To Improve its Rheological and Filtration Properties After Aging Process by Johanna Vargas, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, et al.

SPE 195765 Developing Nanocomposite Gels From Biopolymers for Leakage Control in Oil and Gas Wells by Azis Yudhowijoyo, University of Aberdeen, et al.

Badrul Mohamed Jan, SPE, is an associate professor and researcher attached to the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Malaya (UM), Malaysia. He holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in petroleum engineering from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. Jan’s research areas and interests include the development of superlightweight completion fluids for underbalanced perforation, the development of ultralow-interfacial-tension microemulsion for enhanced oil recovery, and the extraction of graphene from industrial waste for drilling-fluid application. He has published several technical conference and journal papers. Jan is also an active SPE member; he has participated in the SPE Mentor/Mentee volunteer program for several years and is the founder and current adviser to the SPE-UM student chapter. He is the recipient of the 2016 SPE Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum Engineering Faculty for the Northern Asia Pacific Region. Jan is a member of the JPT Editorial Review Board and can be reached at

Drilling and Completion Fluids

Badrul Mohamed Jan, SPE, Researcher and Lecturer, University of Malaya

01 November 2020

Volume: 72 | Issue: 11



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