John Candler, Environmental Manager, Schlumberger
Jim Friedheim, Schlumberger

Presentation Date: May 18, 2023

Since the 1980s, discharge limitations have shifted the focus of drilling. This shift has compelled drilling fluid chemistry development to evolve. Originally, the focus was simply on drilling performance and cost-value for new drilling fluid chemistries and products. Since then, environmental discharge requirements have become the industry’s driving force. The level of priority may vary slightly depending on the region, or country, but the overall trend to limit discharges while drilling remains consistent. Furthermore, additional environmental sustainability challenges hover on the drilling fluids horizon.

To successfully meet environmental sustainability challenges, operators will need to reflect on key changes already made to drilling fluids since 1985. They will need to build on that historical knowledge to successfully identify and implement new tools and strategies to increasingly limit emissions. The two bookends of drilling fluids and their chemistry technologies will be reviewed: high-performance water-based drilling fluids and nonaqueous drilling fluids. Studying these extremes will cover the gamut of drilling fluid chemistry development thus far. The knowledge gained through looking back will make it possible to develop the state-of-the-art products needed for the future.

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