Simply put, drilling fluid originated as water, revolutionized in to mud and refined to bentonite — and is now the standard in today’s drilling industry.  

Many horizontal bores are over a mile in length with varied and challenging soil conditions. In heavy clays, many drillers use only water. Clay gets slippery and that can be good but clay can also get sticky and that can be bad for those trying to drill in it. Their solution: add soap. Soap can reduce balling and sticking to tools, but it isn’t effective or necessarily good for the environment. In sandy conditions (pure, dry, shifting sand), drilling fluid can permeate out of the borehole causing loss of slurry, loss of return, collapse of the borehole and loss of product being pulled back.

The complexity of these problems could be made simple — a drilling fluid that works in all soil conditions. The challenges of adapting to varied conditions in the field more economically coupled with Europe’s strict disposal laws has sparked the development of a new product. The University of Dublin (Ireland) has developed a universal product solving the issues of soil condition changes, biodegradability and cost-effective disposal and is a one-bag mix.

  • Sticky clay: Prevents balling and sticking, maintains good flow and carries returns well.
  • Dry, sandy conditions. It creates a cake layer keeping the slurry in the hole. It is extremely slippery so it pills easily while keeping the bore hold open carrying cuttings, resulting in reduction of volume of slurry needed.
  • Recycling? Yes, using standard screen shakers.

Consider the ease of operation on a long, expensive bore with ever-changing conditions: from clay, to sand, to shale, to sand, to clay using the same slurry from start to finish without any additives. It alleviates frustration, guess work and down time and actually becomes an insurance policy for expensive, difficult bores.

Clearbore recently consulted on a project with Florida Power and Light as it was using a 54-in. auger to set 100-ft (+/-) concrete polls. Florida Power and Light was backfilling with gravel in an effort to keep the borehole open and had used a variety of mixes. All the mixes were different. None worked due to the challenging, changing soil conditions. Then they tried the biodegradable, one-bag mix product and the poles set. No clean up. Job was completed using Dublin’s one-bag mix product.

Submitted by Clear-Bore USA.