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  • New synthetic fluid system provides stable cold-temp rheologies


    Mike McFadyen, Philip J. Vice, Claude Womack and Tim Wright

    Gulf of Mexico (GOM) operators are taking the necessary steps to ensure that cuttings produced while drilling with synthetic-based fluids (SBF) comply with proposed EPA regulations (see sidebar). Cuttings dryers are being installed on rigs to reduce the oil-on-cuttings (OOC) percentage to an average of at least 6.9%. Commonly used SBFs are being tested to determine if they can meet the requirements and still retain acceptable performance properties. Kerr-McGee Oil and Gas Corp. was the first operator in the GOM to field test a synthetic-based fluid designed specifically to comply with the new EPA standards, giving Kerr-McGee a head start in environmental protection in deepwater locations, Fig. 1. Cuttings produced while drilling with the new, proprietary clay-free Accolade system remained well within the proposed OOC limits, but the fluid can offer an equally important benefit that all deepwater operators are seeking: viscosity reduction in cold temperatures.

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