It’s one of the most problematic areas of oil and gas drilling, so it should be no surprise to hear that there are a whole host of interesting facts and figures in relation to a loss of circulation.
It’s something which can cost companies considerable amounts of money to rectify, and it’s not been unheard of for some to just abandon a drill and start again in a completely different location. To highlight the process in further detail, here are some of the interesting facts we touched upon in the previous paragraph…
The different degrees of leaks
There are three types of losses of circulation; minor, severe and total. The minor type is unsurprisingly the lease significant and focusses on those leaks which are between 6 and 470 barrels. If the situation is worse, it’s generally classed as “severe” and is defined as any leak that’s above the 470 barrel mark. There is also the total loss of circulation, with this occurring when the whole drilling fluid is completely lost to the surface. Depending on the scale of the drill, a leak could be described as either minor or severe, as well as of the total variety. Read: Ways to Make your New Building Welcoming and Attractive
Newspapers can control the situation
This might be something of an exaggeration, but one of the most common items that is used to control a loss of circulation are newspaper shredding. This is one of the most common types of additives out there, although by no means the only one. It’s not been unheard of for golf balls to be used, while some companies will rely on basic liquids in minor circumstances. There are also specialist solutions available from third party companies, with this one being a prime example.
Additive decisions are not black and white
The previous paragraph leads on perfectly to this next issue; additive decisions are not straightforward. The process in choosing an additive is prolonged to say the least and the operative will have to consider issues such as the depth of the well, the size of the drill nozzle and even the drilling fluid in use. Some of the additives are designed to increase the viscosity, while others aim to just plug the holes which are causing a problem.
Additives sometimes aren’t even used
While a lot of this article has highlighted the importance of additives, we should also add that they aren’t necessarily used all of the time. Sometimes companies will decide that it’s no longer efficient to plough the drill with additives and will instead accept the minor losses, and continue with the project.
There are also other occasions, usually at the extreme end of the scale, where cement is poured down the drilling area. This cement is then able to plug the holes that are causing the loss of circulation, with the drill then going through the remaining cement. It’s hardly an ideal workaround, but it’s quite a cost-effective option if the circulation problem is very severe.