In geotechnical engineering, drilling fluid is a fluid used to drill boreholes into the earth. Often used while drilling oil and natural gas wells and on exploration drilling rigs, drilling fluids are also used for much simpler boreholes, such as water wells. Liquid drilling fluid is often called drilling mud. The three main categories of drilling fluids arewater-based muds (which can be dispersed and non-dispersed), non-aqueous muds, usually called oil-based mud, and gaseous drilling fluid, in which a wide range of gases can be used. The main functions of drilling fluids include providing Driller pouring a foaming agent down the rod string on a drilling rig hydrostatic pressure to prevent formation fluids from entering into the well bore, keepingthe drill bit cool and clean during drilling, carrying out drill cuttings, and suspending the drill cuttings while drilling is paused and when the drilling assembly is brought in and out of the hole. The drilling fluid used for a particular job is selected to avoid formation damage and to limit corrosion.
Types of drilling fluid
Many types of drilling fluids are used on a day-to-day basis. Somewells require that different types be used at different parts in the hole, or that some types be used in combination with others. The various types of fluid generally fall into a few broad categories: • Air: Compressed air is pumped either down the bore hole's annular space or down the drill string itself. • Air/water: The same as above, with water added to increase viscosity, flush the hole,provide more cooling, and/or to control dust. • Air/polymer: A specially formulated chemical, most often referred to as a type of polymer, is added to the water & air mixture to create specific conditions. A foaming agent is a good example of a polymer. • Water: Water by itself is sometimes used. • Water-based mud (WBM): A most basic water-based mud system begins with water, then clays and otherchemicals are incorporated into the water to create a homogenous blend resembling something between chocolate milk and a malt (depending on viscosity). The clay (called "shale" in its rock form) is usually a combination of native clays that are suspended in the fluid while drilling, or specific types of clay that are processed and sold as additives for the WBM system. The most common of these isbentonite, frequently referred to in the oilfield as "gel". Gel likely makes reference to the fact that while the fluid is being pumped, it can be very thin and free-flowing (like chocolate milk), though when pumping is stopped, the static fluid builds a "gel" structure that resists flow. When an adequate pumping force is applied to "break the gel", flow resumes and the fluid returns to itspreviously free-flowing state. Many other chemicals (e.g. potassium formate) are added to a WBM system to achieve various effects, including: viscosity control, shale stability, enhance drilling rate of penetration, cooling and lubricating of equipment. • Oil-based mud (OBM): Oil-based mud can be a mud where the base fluid is a petroleum product such as diesel fuel. Oil-based muds are used for manyreasons, some being increased lubricity, enhanced shale inhibition, and greater cleaning abilities with less viscosity. Oil-based muds also withstand greater heat without breaking down. The use of oil-based muds has special considerations. These include cost and environmental considerations.
Drilling fluid • Synthetic-based fluid (SBM): Synthetic-based fluid is a mud where the base fluid is asynthetic oil. This is most often used on offshore rigs because it has the properties of an oil-based mud, but the toxicity of the fluid fumes are much less than an oil-based fluid. This is important when men work with the fluid in an enclosed space such as an offshore drilling rig. On a drilling rig, mud is pumped from the mud pits through the drill string where it sprays out of nozzles on the drill...