Baker Hughes has introduced the LATIDRILL water-based drilling fluid system that aims to enhance wellbore quality and increase drilling efficiency in extended lateral sections in unconventional shale plays. Laboratory and field testing shows the system can improve wellbore stability by controlling the clay hydration typically associated with the use of a conventional water-based fluid. Clay hydration can lead to sloughing shale and borehole enlargement.
The system uses a proprietary wellbore stabilizer that mechanically maintains wellbore integrity. By delivering a more stable wellbore in long horizontal sections, pore pressure transmission is reduced, minimizing or even eliminating mud losses. Drilling efficiency also can be improved with specially purposed lubricants that coat metal surfaces, drill cuttings and formation walls to reduce torque and drag, particularly in high-pressure, high-temperature applications. The lubricants also allow for the delivery of greater amounts of hydraulic horsepower to the drill bit and result in faster rates of penetration.
Because the system is water-based, disposal of oily cuttings is unnecessary, and cleanup time on the rig can be reduced by as much as two days compared with that of oil-based systems.