Characterization of Microbubble-Based Drilling Fluids: Investigating the Role of Surfactants and Polymers

Document Type: Research Article

Authors

1 Faculty of Chemical Engineering, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, I.R. IRAN

2 Exploration Directory, National Iranian Oil Company, Tehran, I.R. IRAN

Abstract

Colloidal Gas Aphrons (CGA), consist of gas bubbles with diameters ranging from 10 to 100 micron, surrounded by a thin aqueous surfactant film. This fluid combines certain surfactants and polymers to create the systems of microbubbles. The function of surfactant in CGAs is to produce the surface tension to contain the aphrons. Also, a biopolymer needs to be considered in the formulation as a viscosifier as well as a stabilizer. The aphron-laden fluid appears to be particularly well suited for drilling through depleted zones. The unique feature of aphron based fluids is to form a solid free, tough, and elastic internal bridge in pore networks or fractures to minimize deep invasion using air microbubbles. This microenvironment seal readily cleans up with reservoir flow back as production is initiated, thereby reducing the cost associated with stimulation processes. This paper presents a comprehensive, comparative study of rheological behavior and filtration properties of CGA based drilling fluids with various concentrations of polymer and surfactant. Laboratory evaluations showed that the CGA based fluid is one of the ideal engineering materials which can control and kill the loss circulation, save cost and increase productivity in which rheological characteristics and filtration properties of them are greatly influenced by the level of polymer and surfactant concentration.

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