WorldWide Drilling Resource

8 DECEMBER 2022 WorldWide Drilling Resource® New Drilling Fluid Technology for Exploration Drilling Adapted from Information by Curtin University Dr. Masood Mostofi and his research team at the Western Australian School of Mines: Minerals, Energy and Chemical Engineering at Curtin University have developed new technology for the rapid cleaning and reuse of drilling fluids. The project, funded by the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia (MRIWA) and the Deep Exploration Technology CRC, is paving the way toward more efficient and environmentally-friendly mineral exploration. When drilling for mineral deposits, special drilling fluids are used to lubricate and cool the drill head. It’s important the drilling fluid doesn’t leak away through cracks and porous rocks. “New Coiled Tubing drilling technology being developed for mineral exploration needs much higher volumes of these special fluids than conventional drilling,” said Dr. Mostofi. “We have developed a system that can meet these fluid needs in remote locations where geologists might explore for new mineral deposits, and reduces the risk of releasing fluids that might affect the local environment.” “Working alongside partner technologies being developed in the MinEx CRC, this method will help deliver continuous samples of the rock material a drill is cutting through up to [about 3300 feet] below the ground, while allowing the drilling fluid to be efficiently cleaned and recycled.” A new remedial drilling fluid to better control fluid loss in fractured and unconsolidated formations was also developed. The patented fluid (CTrolXX) is composed of a two-part polymer solution which forms a cross gel structure. This blend of polymers with enhanced shear thinning properties was designed to exhibit high viscosities at low shear rates corresponding to the conditions of fluid loss in fractures and unconsolidated formations. It also significantly lowers the viscosity at the high shear rates experienced during fluid circulation in a drill string. The viscosity of CTrolXX exceeds the conventional commercial alternative providing enhanced resistance to fluid loss during drilling. The project also witnessed the development of a new method for both keeping boreholes stable and rapidly separating rock chips and solid materials from the fluid as it returns to the surface. In releasing the research report, MRIWA CEO Nicole Roocke said the research helps move the exploration industry toward safer, greener, and cheaper drilling. “This is an important step forward for the mining industry,” she stated. “By supporting these improvements in drilling technology, the Western Australian government is helping our exploration industry develop the tools it needs to succeed.” Reformulated drilling fluid eliminates the use of hydrocarbons. EXB Thank you so much. I enjoy your magazine. God Bless. Tony Zucker Virginia