Drilling advances ///

Ask the average person what’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions barium sulfate and the reaction likely will be a squint, followed by “it sounds like something you take for a stomach disorder.” Pose the same question to someone in the drilling fluids business and be prepared for a dissertation on how the market is conspiring against them. Of course, the only real conspiracy is that for the past several years, available supplies of suitable barium sulfate, or more specifically its naturally occurring form commonly known as barite, have been dwindling steadily, with few new reserve bases being added to the supply mix. Consequently, those holding the available supplies of this critical drilling fluid weighting agent are milking it for all its worth, with costs seemingly rising by the day.

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