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Problems encountered when drilling for oil and gas, that are caused by drilling fluids and their remedies Stuck pipe A stuck drill string is generally caused by the drill pipe sticking to the mud cake on the wall of the wellbore due to filtrate loss in wall of the well, or due to cuttings settling back into the wellbore when drill fluid circulation is stopped. Stuck pipe is also possible when hydrostatic head is lower than necessary and when there is inadequate hole cleaning. Remedies Rotating and reciprocate the drill string if possible Increase the pump rate of mud Increase mud weight for hole instability

Lost Circulation Lost circulation occurs when a very porous and permeable formation is encountered in the subsurface. The drilling mud flows into the formation without building up a filter cake. During lost circulation, more mud is being pumped down the well than is flowing back up.

Remedies Add circulation loss materials to block the formation permeability Gunk squeeze, cement or case the hole. The gunk squeeze is a method of sealing off a zone of lost circulation by spotting a large amount of clay in the zone and forcing it into the formation, where it swells or hydrates and fills up any cracks or crevices. Drill through the zone of lost circulation and to set a string of conductor casings below the porous zone.

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Circulate low density fluids- air or foam Kick/Blowout A kick is the flow of reservoir fluids into the wellbore during drilling operations. The kick is physically caused by the pressure in the well bore being less than that of the formation fluid. If not taken under control, a kick situation can lead to a blowout which is very dangerous. Blowouts often ignite due to the presence of an ignition source from sparks from rocks being ejected along with flammable liquids or simply heat due to friction. Remedies Increase mud density by adding bentonite clay or dense material such as powdered barium sulfate (barite). Heaving shale problems Some areas are characterized by shale sections containing bentonite or other hydratable clays, which continually absorb water, swell and slough into the hole. These types of formations are known as heaving shales. The heaving shales may cause 'stuck up', excessive solid build up in the mud, cavings and hole bridging. Remedies Use high calcium content and gypsum base mud which represses hydration. Increase circulation rate for more rapid removal of particles Increase mud density for greater wall support Changing to oil emulsion mud Changing to oil-based mud Differential sticking This is a condition whereby the drill string cannot be moved (rotated or reciprocated) along the axis of the wellbore. Differential sticking typically occurs when high-contact forces caused by low reservoir pressures, high wellbore pressures, or both, are exerted over a sufficiently large area of the drill string. Remedies

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Drill with mud density as low as practical. Keep hole as straight as possible. Keep solids content of mud as low as possible. Keep static drill string time to a minimum. Use extreme pressure (EP) lubricants. Avoid long strings of drill collars Use an oil-based mud. Hole enlargement/Washout A washout in an open hole section is larger than the original hole size or size of the drill bit. It can be caused by excessive bit jet velocity, soft or unconsolidated formations, in-situ rock stresses, mechanical damage by BHA components, chemical attack and swelling or weakening of shale as it contacts fresh water. Remedies Use appropriate mud types and additives Increase mud density by adding bentonite clay or powdered barium sulfate. Reduce drill bit jet velocity Formation breakdown. Formation breakdown occurs if the mud weight is too high. Mud pressure may then induce a fracture or open a natural fracture system, leading to massive mud losses. Remedies Reduce the circulation velocity of mud Reduce the weight/density of mud by adding fresh water

Inadequate hole Cleaning Hole cleaning is one of the basic functions of any drilling fluid. Cuttings generated by the bit, plus any caving and/or sloughing, must be carried to the surface by the mud. At times this is in adequate due to the following reasons; Drill string washout above the bit

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Low circulation rate in a large hole with an un weighted mud system Sloughing shale Gravel bed in the shallow portion of the hole Partial returns of the drilling fluid Remedies Increase the viscosity of the drilling fluid Increase the flow rate of drilling fluid and pipe rotation Cuttings transport efficiency is largely a function of annular velocity and the annular velocity profile. By Increasing annular velocity hole cleaning can be improved. Casing Jamming Sometimes it is not possible to lower the casing and well screen to the bottom of the hole. This can be caused by the following reasons. Bad hole cleaning Collapse of part of the bore hole Swelling of clays in contact with water based drilling fluids thus reducing the size of the borehole Presence of too thick mud cake The borehole path being deviated resulting in the casing digging into the wall of the borehole. Remedies Reciprocate the casing Rotate the casing References William.C.Lyons&Gary J.Plisga(2005): Standard Handbook of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering; Gulf professional publishing

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