Laboratory Study of Environmentally Friendly Drilling Fluid Additives to Be Used a Thinner in Water-Based Muds


The use of conventional chemical additives to control drilling mud specifications causes serious health, safety, and environmental side effects. To mitigate these lasting hazards, an economic multifunctional bioenhancers should be exploited as additives in place of the traditional materials to achieve the desired drilling mud properties. Using a bioenhancer is not only safer for the environment, but it poses no risk to drilling personnel and is more cost-efficient than conventional methods.

In this work, two concentrations of is Palm Tree Leave Powder (PTLP) were added to the base mud and drilling fluid properties were measured. The pH test demonstrated PTLP's ability to minimize alkalinity. At 1.5% (11 gm) PTLP, the pH was decreased by 21%, while 3% (22 gm) PTLP showed a reduction of 28%. A reduction in seepage loss (cc/30min) of 26% and 32% was also observed, respectively, when comparing it to the reference fluid. Simultaneous improvement of the mud cake was seen over the reference fluid, signifying PTLP could also substitute fluid loss control agents. The plastic viscosity (PV) of the reference fluid was insignificantly affected by the introduction 1.5% (11gm) PTLP. However, when the concentration of PTLP was increased to 3% (22 gm) a tangible increase in PV was seen due to the inefficient grinding of the palm tree leaves (PTL) and irregular dispersal of particle sizes. To mitigate this, a more effective form of grinding for PTL is needed as well as a sieve analysis to ensure equal distribution of particle sizes. The second component of viscosity, yield point (YP), was drastically reduced by 59% at both 1.5% (11 gm) and 3% (22 gm) as compared to the reference fluid. Additionally, initial and final gel strengths were significantly reduced at both concentrations. These results are an indicator that PTLP can be a viable option as a thinning material for water-based mud.

Considering the previously stated results, PTLP can be a feasible replacement or at least supportive material for conventional pH reducers, filtration loss control agents, and viscosity thinners. This biodegradable drilling mud additive shows great potential and is a practical option to replace or at least support toxic chemicals traditionally used such as lignosulphonate, chrome-lignite, and Resinex. This work outlines a practical guide for reducing drilling fluid costs as well as the impact on drilling personnel and the environment.

Meeting Name

Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference, 2019, ADIP 2019 (2019: Nov. 11-14, Abu Dhabi, UAE),


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for Research in Energy and Environment (CREE)

Keywords and Phrases

Alkalinity; Biodegradable polymers; Biohazards; Drilling fluids; Filtration; Forestry; Gasoline; Grinding (machining); Infill drilling; Mud logging; Particle size; Particle size analysis; Personnel; Risk management; Security systems; Viscosity, Conventional methods; Distribution of particles; Drilling fluid additives; Drilling fluid property; Health , safety , and environmental; Laboratory studies; Thinning materials; Traditional materials, Additives

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2019 Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Nov 2019