Marcellus Shale Drilling Lubricants: What’s best?
Drilling in the Marcellus Shale formation (or any other Fracturing operation) presents more difficult down-hole drilling challenges than other drilling for oil and gas exploration. In these “fracking” operations, fluids are required that can remain stable at the elevated temps > 200°C as well as the higher pressures.
Down-Hole Silicone Fluids can be used in the most extreme environments where high rates of vibration, pulsation and pressure are encountered. Unlike conventional petroleum based fluids like mineral oil, silicone fluids exhibit extremely high compressibility and will not coagulate. Even at pressures of 4,000 MPa, the fluids will not solidify.
Down-Hole Silicone Fluids can be used to dampen vibration and serve as a heat transfer / heat stable fluids in a wide range of Down-Hole pressure gauges, geo-steering instrumentation, transducers, cables, temperature and process recorders, control valves, calibration equipment, flow meters, thermostats.
Environmental Safety: Silicone fluids also offer environmental protection due to their relatively inert composition which has made them the most widely used lubricant in the food industry.
Since Silicone fluids come in a variety of viscosities and formulations the question is which one is best for a a particular drilling environment? A properly selected silicone fluid can significantly extend the service life of equipment and provide more accurate reading in doing so.
Part of that answer will be the determined by the particular range of operating temperatures and pressures, with a low viscosity silicone (http://www.clearcoproducts.com/down-hole-low.html) being used at lower temperatures and high viscosity ( http://www.clearcoproducts.com/down-hole-high-pressure.html) being used in higher pressures and temperatures.
There are many additional considerations for determining the best down-hole drilling fluid but Silicone fluids in either a pure of formulated composition are the material of choice because of their performance and safety properties:
Down-Hole Silicone Fluid Properties
- Clear, colorless, odorless fluids & inert fluids
- Long service life @ recommended service temperatures
- Low viscosity at high temperatures: will not put strain on pumps
- High Flash points High Thermal Stability
- Thermal conductivity: 0.00032 to 0.00035 g/cal/cm/sec °C
- Low vapor pressure High Resistance to oxidation
- Formulated from 100% synthetic sources.
- Long service life when used for recommended temperature ranges.
- Inert to virtually all bath instrumentation and plastics
- Environmentally friendly: VOC Exempt & HAP Free
- Hydrophobic- will not absorb water