American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021 - 69

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SpecialReport: Fluids Chemistry
The key to turning vast global databases
into safer and more efficient drilling is to
expedite finding and analyzing relevant
data, Dye suggests. He says Newpark
has developed search tools that will enable
engineers to quickly identify offset wells
with comparable downhole environments
and trajectories.
" These tools have the ability to drive
step-changes in operational performance, "
comments Travis Vordick, one of Newpark's Midland-based technical sales engineers. " When drilling picks up in an
area that has been dormant, it takes only
a few minutes to access data from offset
wells and other analogs. We can then use
that data to model trends and identify
best practices. "
Alongside increasingly accurate and
efficient simulations, this historical data
often reveals potential issues before drilling
begins, Vordick reports. " If we cannot
eliminate these risks at the design stage,
we can at least have a mitigation plan for
them, so the operator has a solution on
hand if they occur, " he says.
If an unexpected issue arises, Dye
says the digital tools help engineers
address them by highlighting approaches
that have worked in similar wells.
" Eventually, we would like to measure
mud properties in real time, send that
data to the cloud, and simulate what is
going on down hole so the project engineers can predict what will happen in
the next 100 feet and adjust if needed, "
Dye outlines.
To enable such real-time simulation,
the industry will need to automate measurements of key fluid properties. According
to Dye, it is moving in that direction.
" We cannot yet measure all the properties
that would go on an API mud report, but
recent advancements in fluids automation
are closing the gap, " he reports.
The automated measurements create
the potential for accurately calculating
downhole pressures in near-real time,
Dye says. " For example, when we compare equivalent circulating density values
from our simulation software with downhole tool data, they typically are within
a tenth of a pound per gallon, " he reports.
" This degree of accuracy gives operators
the flexibility to continue drilling in the
event of tool failure, which saves rig
time and money.
" Managing ECD is one of the most exciting applications for real-time measurement and simulation, " Dye mentions. " When
ECD goes awry, the potential for a lost

circulation event increases, often resulting
in nonproductive time. Getting it right
more consistently should make a huge difference in overall well economics. "
Better Muds
Dye says Newpark is applying the
same zeal to creating new muds as it is
to developing digital tools. " For areas
that need oil-based mud, we have introduced a non-aqueous fluid system with
flat rheology, " he reports. " Because the
system's rheological profile is nearly independent of changes in wellbore temperature and pressures, the fluid delivers
measurable improvements in hole cleaning
efficiency and barite sag management. "
A cleaner hole allows drillers to achieve
faster rates of penetration by improving
cuttings removal efficiency and reducing
annular pressure losses, Dye notes.
" We also are working on a next-generation, high-performance water-based
mud, " says Tom Heinz, Newpark's Western
Hemisphere technical manager. " One of
this mud's key elements is a specialized
polymer that performs three functions:
building gel structure, encapsulating cuttings and controlling fluid loss. This minimizes the number additives on site. "
That simplification supports safety
and environment, sustainability and governance initiatives by taking trucks off
the road and letting the crew maintain
the fluid with fewer lifts, Heinz says. He
adds that it reduces the chance of accidentally applying too much or too little

of a specific additive.
" The versatile polymer lays down a
unique filter cake that typically is only
1/32 of an inch thick and is extremely
slick, which reduces the risk of stuck
pipe and improves drilling efficiency, "
he says. " The polymer also improves
the mud's resistance to contamination
and minimizes its reactivity to calcium
or divalent ions, making performance
more consistent. "
Dye points out that the polymer is
commercially available. As it develops
other components of the new water-based
mud system, he says Newpark is advancing
its sustainability by paying close attention
to environmental impacts. " We are using
plant-based chemistries that do not sacrifice performance and are characterized
as renewable resources, " he says. " We
also are optimizing our mud plants, offices
and logistics to use power and water
more efficiently. "
Vordick emphasizes water-based muds'
ability to improve many wells' economics.
" Drilling with oil-based muds generally
makes more sense in wells with high
temperatures, reactive formations or contaminants such as carbon dioxide and
hydrogen sulfide, but in more benign
areas, water-based muds can greatly
reduce drilling costs, " he reports.
As a case in point, Vordick cites the
Midland Basin. In an analysis contrasting
30 wells drilled using modern waterbased muds with 30 wells drilled using
second-generation oil-based muds and

By using automatically-collected mud properties to guide simulations, drillers are
getting an increasingly accurate view of what is happening down hole, Newpark Fluids
Systems relates. For example, the company's simulation software estimates equivalent
circulating density to within a tenth of a pound per gallon of actual measurements taken
by downhole tools.

APRIL 2021 69



American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021

Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021 - Intro
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021 - Cover1
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021 - Cover2
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021 - Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021 - 4
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021 - 5
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021 - 6
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021 - 7
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American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021 - 9
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American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021 - Cover3
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2021 - Cover4
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