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Research Papers: Petroleum Engineering

Thermochemical Upgrading of Calcium Bentonite for Drilling Fluid Applications

[+] Author and Article Information
Musaab Magzoub

College of Engineering,
Gas Processing Center,
Qatar University,
P.O. Box 2713,
Doha 2713, Qatar

Mohamed Mahmoud

Petroleum Engineering Department,
College of Petroleum and Geoscience,
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals,
Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia;
Center of Integrated Petroleum Research,
College of Petroleum and Geoscience,
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals,
Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia
e-mail: mmahmoud@kfupm.edu.sa

Mustafa Nasser, Ibnelwaleed Hussein

College of Engineering,
Gas Processing Center,
Qatar University,
P.O. Box 2713,
Doha 2713, Qatar

Salaheldin Elkatatny, Abdullah Sultan

Petroleum Engineering Department,
College of Petroleum and Geoscience,
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals,
Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Petroleum Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received July 15, 2018; final manuscript received October 16, 2018; published online November 26, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Daoyong (Tony) Yang.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 141(4), 042902 (Nov 26, 2018) (9 pages) Paper No: JERT-18-1532; doi: 10.1115/1.4041843 History: Received July 15, 2018; Revised October 16, 2018

The rheological properties of bentonite suspensions depend on the chemical composition and the contained dominant element, such as calcium (Ca), potassium (K), and sodium (Na). Na-bentonite type is the one used in drilling fluids, because it has good dispersion stability, high swelling capacity, and outstanding rheological properties. Ca-bentonite generally has bad rheological performance; however, it can be activated by sodium to be used in drilling fluids, since there are huge unutilized Ca-bentonite resources. Many previous attempts of activation of Ca-bentonite were not feasible, upgrading required addition of many extra additives or sometimes mixed with commercial Na-bentonite to improve its properties. In this paper, a process of integrated beneficiation method is designed to efficiently remove the nonclay impurities and produce pure Ca-bentonite. An upgraded Ca-bentonite was produced using a combined thermochemical treatment in a wet process by adding 4 wt % of soda ash (Na2CO3) while heating and stirring. The new thermal treatment optimized and described in this study greatly improved the sodium activation and ions exchange process and improved bentonite properties. The thermochemically upgraded Ca-bentonite outperformed the rheological properties of the commercial bentonite. And when tested in a typical drilling fluid formulation at high temperature, the investigations showed an identical behavior of the commercial drilling grade bentonite. Moreover, the results obtained showed that the thermochemically upgraded Ca-bentonite has higher yield point/plastic viscosity (YP/PV) ratio than commercial Na-bentonite when mixed with the drilling fluid additives. Higher YP/PV ratio is expected to enhance the hole cleaning and prevent most of the drilling problems.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Purification process developed for as-received Ca-bentonite

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Fig. 2

X-ray diffraction pattern for as-received and raw Ca-bentonite (purified)

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Fig. 3

Scanning electron microscopy images of as-received Ca-bentonite and commercial Na-bentonite

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Fig. 4

Particle size distribution for as-received, raw Ca-bentonite and commercial Na-bentonite

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Fig. 5

Effect of Na2CO3 addition on viscosity

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Fig. 6

Effect of heating at 70 °C on viscosity after 4 wt % Na2CO3 addition

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Fig. 7

Viscosity over shear rate for Ca-bentonites and commercial Na-bentonite

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Fig. 8

Complex viscosity for Ca-bentonites and commercial Na-bentonite

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Fig. 9

Elasticity by frequency sweep test for Ca-bentonites and commercial Na-bentonite

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Fig. 10

Viscosity and yield point for Ca-bentonites and commercial Na-bentonite

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Fig. 11

American Petroleum Institute filtration test at 100 psi and room temperature for bentonite mud

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Fig. 12

Formula-1 viscometer readings for thermally treated Ca-bentonite and commercial bentonite

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Fig. 13

Formula-2 at 71 °C (160 °F) viscometer readings for thermally treated Ca-bentonite and commercial Na-bentonite

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Fig. 14

Formula-2 at 93.3 °C (200 °F) viscometer readings for thermally treated Ca-bentonite and commercial Na-bentonite

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