Research Papers: Petroleum Engineering

Experimental Study of Drilling Fluid's Filtration and Mud Cake Evolution in Sandstone Formations

[+] Author and Article Information
C. P. Ezeakacha, S. Salehi

Petroleum and Geological
Engineering Department,
University of Oklahoma,
Norman, OK 73069

A. Hayatdavoudi

Petroleum Engineering Department,
University of Louisiana at Lafayette,
Lafayette, LA 70503

Manuscript received September 19, 2016; final manuscript received December 1, 2016; published online January 16, 2017. Editor: Hameed Metghalchi.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 139(2), 022912 (Jan 16, 2017) (8 pages) Paper No: JERT-16-1377; doi: 10.1115/1.4035425 History: Received September 19, 2016; Revised December 01, 2016

In real time drilling, the complexity of drilling fluid filtration is majorly attributed to changing mud rheology, formation permeability, mud particle size distribution (PSD), filter cake plastering effects, and geochemical reaction of particles at geothermal conditions. This paper focuses on quantifying the major effects as well as revealing their contribution toward effective wellbore stabilization in sandstone formations. We conducted an extensive experimental and analytical study on this subject at different levels. First, we used field application and the results as guides for our experiments. We have considered both oil-based mud and water-based mud. Next, we optimized the mud particle size distribution (PSD) by carefully varying the type, size, and concentration of wellbore strengthening material (WSM). Laboratory high pressure high temperature fluid loss tests were carried out on Michigan and Bandera Brown sandstones. The results from these tests identify the formation heterogeneity and permeability in successful wellbore stabilization. Filter cake permeability calculations, using the analytical model for linear systems, were consistent with filtration rates, and the expected trend of permeability declines with time. Finally, we investigated the evolution of internal filter cake and plastering mechanism, using scanning electron microscopic (SEM) analysis. The test results revealed a significant difference in the formation permeability impairment for the optimal mud PSD and WSM blend.

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Fig. 1

Wellbore stabilization schematic

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Fig. 2

PSD of wellbore strengthening materials

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Fig. 3

SEM analysis of the wellbore strengthening materials

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Fig. 4

Permeability plugging apparatus (PPA) set up

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Fig. 5

Michigan and Bandera Brown sandstone cores and disk specimen

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Fig. 6

PSD of different mud blends

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Fig. 7

Cumulative fluid loss comparison over a period of 30 min

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Fig. 8

Experimental rock disks with their corresponding SEM images before filtration experiment

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Fig. 9

SEM analysis of cross-sections of Michigan (right) and Bandera Brown (left) specimens after filtration. The arrows indicate the direction of mud filtrate flow from top of the disk in PPA to bottom of the disk; showing the sequence of particle invasion at various depths (thickness) of the disk.

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Fig. 10

Base surface of external filter cake in contact with the formation. The arrows point to a combination of large and small particles, of various sizes that have accumulated at the base of external filter cake bridging the surface of the formation.

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Fig. 11

Top of the external filter cake in contact with moving drilling mud. The arrows point to small particles that have accumulated at the surface of the external filter cake.

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Fig. 12

Cumulative filtrate loss versus square root of time




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