Ground breaking non-contact technology from ABLE Instruments & Controls achieves real-time measurement of drilling fluids in partially full pipe conditions.
It has long been recognised that flow and density measurement of drilling fluid (mud) results in improved drilling control and increased safety whilst lowering non-productive time (NPT) of the drill rig, reducing overall costs without compromising safe operation.
The challenges to achieve this goal are extreme due to the variation in conditions of the drilling fluid during operation, including partially full pipe conditions and wide variations in the fluid make up.
Following extensive trials with a major drilling operator, the ABLE MudMasterTM has succeeded in achieving accurate and repeatable measurement of both oil based mud (OBM) and water based mud (WBM) in real time, providing invaluable information for drilling optimisation and identifying leading indicators to potential operating problems.
Sweep efficiency, lost circulation and kick detection
During drilling operation, drilling fluid is pumped into the drill string to stabilise the well bore, remove cuttings and cool the drill bit. Maintaining proper density of the fluid is imperative to ensure downhole pressure is correctly managed, whilst accurate measurement of flow rate entering and exiting the well provides assessment of drilling performance and indication of a potential well control event.
Drilling fluid sweeps are commonly run using high density material to augment hole cleaning and prevent accumulation of cuttings which if left unattended can lead to hole pack-offs, stuck pipe and other unwanted incidents of NPT.
Variations between the balance of inlet and outlet mud flow and density can indicate lost circulation – the effect of the drill encountering fractures or caverns in the formation resulting in lost fluids – or detect a kick – pockets of formation fluids flowing into the well. Without early indication enabling appropriate action to be taken these well control incidents can lead to significant increase in NPT or even a catastrophic event such as a blow out.