Updated Classification of Lost Circulation Treatments and Materials with an Integrated Analysis and their Applications


Lost circulation materials (LCM's) have been widely used to avoid or stop losses. Due to a large number of currently available materials, treatments, and their different applications, classification of them is very important. The most recent materials and treatments classification was published a long time ago. This paper intends to present an updated classification including conventional and new technologies. Here, LCM's are re-classified based on their appearance, applications, and chemical and physical properties. Lost circulation control during well construction is more than just selecting the right lost circulation material (LCM), but requires a complete engineered approach. This paper was developed mostly based on the literature with real field data from various Basra's oil fields. More than 200 technical journals papers, textbooks, case histories, real field data, and manuals that address the problem of lost circulation are carefully reviewed and summarized. Lost circulation materials and treatments are extracted from the literature. The results from the lab are compared to what was applied to many oil fields including 800 wells drilled in Basra's oil fields. A new classification for lost circulation treatments and materials is developed. Unlike the current classification, the new classification is based on the applications. Conventional LCM's are currently classified into different categories based on their appearance as fibrous, flaky, and granular or a blend of all three. This paper classifies the lost circulation materials and treatments as corrective and preventive approaches. The corrective treatments can be applied after the occurrence of the lost circulation; however, the preventive techniques can be applied before entering losses zones as a proactive action. The most recent developments in lost circulation materials and treatments have been discussed, in addition to the presentation of a comprehensive summary of today's available LCM's, treatments and alternative approaches with their applications. This paper discusses the most recent developments in materials and treatments with their applications. Treatments and materials are tabulated for each type of losses to provide effective remedies and minimize NPT and cost. The purpose of this study is to develop practical guidelines that are general and not biased towards a particular service company product which will also serve as a quick reference guide for lost circulation prevention and control at the well-site for drilling personnel.

Meeting Name

SPE Western Regional Meeting 2018 (2018: Apr. 22-26, Garden Grove, CA)


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Drilling fluids; Oil field equipment; Circulation materials

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2018 Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Apr 2018

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