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Drilling & Production

Drill fluid conditioner improves performance in field tests

ProOne's Diamond Dust has shown potential for reducing costs and improving efficiency for drilling operators

Changes in oil and gas field operations sometimes come so quickly they seem to occur overnight. ProOne, Inc. saw real limitations with existing downhole lubrication and developed what the company feels is a game-changing product.

Eight years ago the company’s R&D scientists’ solution effectively became the next evolution in lubrication technology through their proprietary XPL+ technology, which greatly reduces friction even under the most extreme downhole conditions. With fifty times the film strength of conventional lubricants, the attributes were quickly evident at drill sites including: 70% friction reduction, improved ROP, up to 50% reduction in torque and drag, less corrosion and wear, to name only a few. 
And it solves more than a dozen major drilling challenges, from eliminating excessive trips to freeing stuck pipe to extending drill bit life. All of this saves up to $1 million on each drilling operation. ProOne’s technology has been successfully used in over 800 wells. 

So, what could be better?  The answer is Diamond Dust 2-in-1 drill fluid conditioner, co-developed by an industry veteran who formerly headed R&D at a major oil company.  

Steeped in improving efficiency of drilling fluid systems, this industry expert recognized the potential of combining his exclusive asphalt formulations with ProOne’s XPL+ technology. From that R&D emerged Diamond Dust 2-in-1 drill fluid conditioner. In addition to being an outstanding asphalt-based product for shale inhibition and stabilization and fluid loss control, this easily dispersible powder also contains ProOne’s powerful friction reducer technology.

Mud engineers are familiar with the old saying that “A lube is a lube is a lube… all additives are the same so why look for anything new?” While a catchy quote, savvy engineers actually know better, based on field tests and proven results with additives such as XPL+. In head-to-head laboratory tests conducted against competitive lubricants at the request of major oil companies, it was shown that ProOne’s product at only 1.5% outperformed competitive products at 7.5%. 

Not only did this innovative technology turn ordinary muds into super muds, it attained better results against competitors in coefficient of friction reduction at a lower concentration – three times lower which translates into more power for less product. Now, more and more companies are discovering that this new oilpatch product has just the qualities that improve their drilling operations, through the combination of an EP (Extreme Pressure) lubricant for horizontal laterals with ProOne’s XPL+ technology.

Dispersible in either water-based or oil-based muds, the advantages quickly add up. They include exceptional HP lubricity that reduces torque and drag, differential sticking, bit balling and bit wear; enhances shale inhibition and stabilization; superior high temperature fluid loss control; enables a thin, tough and slick filter cake; improves cleaning of drill cuttings; reduces corrosion on drill strings; ideal for seepage and LCM control; and it is environmentally friendly. The latter eco-quality has been important to ProOne from the outset, with the company ensuring that its downhole drilling fluid treatment is both readily and ultimately biodegradable as defined by stringent international standards. Additionally, relative to offshore operations the product is non-toxic to aquatic life.

For on-site usage, only a conventional mud hopper system is necessary, with 4-6 pounds (from 40 lb package) added per barrel of drilling fluid over 4-5 circulations for initial “mud-up.” Upon application, the key benefits are to verticals, curves and laterals, with either oil-based or water-based muds. As with any product destined for field usage, the actual application is the real barometer of effectiveness versus expectations. To meet maintenance requirements, 1-2 pound per barrel daily additions of this dark brown to black powder are suggested.

The multi-purpose combination product effectively allows the operator to replace or reduce sulfonated asphalt, gilsonite, wetting agents, other HPHT Fluid Loss Control additives and wall cake enhancers and, of course, lubricants.

In a recent field test in Texas, the operator was astounded to find that Diamond Dust performed all the functions of what they had normally used a sulfonated asphalt to handle and it reduced torque by 15-percent even though they were using oil-based mud.

Case study

The product has been well-received by engineers and operators who recognize that Diamond Dust is a 2-in-1 product that is different from anything they have previously seen.  A mud engineer employed by a company that provides drilling fluids, specialty additives and engineering services in the Gulf Coast and Permian Basin was working on a rig for one of the world’s largest oil and gas drilling contractors for a privately held Texas-headquartered company which focuses on using advanced technologies. 

During an afternoon, the engineer immediately walked through what he considered groundbreaking benefits of Diamond Dust based on the following:  Well – OBM, 4,500 feet lateral; 16,500 feet TD; 9 days in OBM in lateral; PDC bit; 1,800 bbl active mud. Based on the engineer's calculations, use of the Diamond Dust saved the operator more than $20,000. 

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