Inadequate hole cleaning often leads to challenges in drilling and well completion operations such as low rates of penetration, pipe sticking, losing tools, difficulties in liner/casing placements, etc. Designing a drilling fluid with improved rheological properties would be a solution to increase cuttings transportation efficiency. This study investigates the performance of nanosilica water-based drilling fluids for the hole cleaning process in directional drilling operations. Different inclination angles have been considered in a flow loop system with different rotational speeds (0 and 150 rpm) to simulate the drilling conditions in a wellbore. The performance of nano-enhanced drilling fluids in the cuttings removal process was compared with conventional water-based drilling fluids, and it was found that silica nanoparticles increased the cuttings transport efficiency in all experiments. The results indicated that the presence of nanosilica in the mud increased the colloidal interactions with cuttings and contributed to the improvements in cuttings transportation efficiency by 30.8–44% for different nano-enhanced water-based drilling fluids used in this study. The implementation of nanosilica in water-based drilling fluids showed promising results in the hole cleaning process which demonstrates the feasibility of using them in extended reach drilling operations.
- Directional drilling
- Hole cleaning
- Cuttings transport efficiency
- Nano-enhanced drilling fluids