Oil-based mud is a drilling fluid used in drilling engineering. It is composed of oil as the continuous phase and water as the dispersed phase in conjunction with emulsifiers, wetting agents and gellants. The oil base can be diesel, kerosene, fuel oil, selected crude oil or mineral oil.The requirements are a gravity of 36–37 API, a flash point of 180 °F (82 °C), fire point of 200 °F (93 °C) and an aniline point of 140 °F (60 °C).Emulsifiers are important to oil-based mud due to the likelihood of contamination. The water phase of oil-based mud can be freshwater, or a solution of sodium or calcium chloride. The external phase is oil and does not allow the water to contact the formation. The shales don’t become water wet.
Oil based mud is widely used nowadays for drilling industry because it has good mud properties which waterbased mud cannot provide. However, it also has the drawback as well. Therefore, this article will recap both pros and cons of oil based mud in a simple way. An invert-emulsion mud, or an emulsion whose continuous phase is oil. In the past, the term referred to an oil mud containing less than about 5 vol.% water. This definition, at the time, distinguished mud with less than 5 vol.% water from invert-emulsion oil muds, which had more than 5 vol.% water. Today, this distinction is not practical because most commercial oil muds can be formulated with more or less than 5 vol.% water using essentially the same types of products.
Oil-based mud (OBM) was formulated with soybean oil extracted from soybean using the Soxhlet extraction method. The formulated soybean mud properties were compared with diesel oil mud properties. The compared properties were rheological properties, yield point and gel strength, and mud density and filtration loss properties, fluid loss and filter cake. The results obtained show that the soybean oil mud exhibited Bingham plastic rheological model with applicable (low) yield point and gel strength when compared with the diesel oil mud.
The mud density measurement showed that soybean OBM was slightly higher than diesel OBM with mud density values of 8.10 lb/gal and 7.98 lb/gal, respectively, at barite content of 10 g. Additionally, the filtration loss test results showed that soybean mud fluid loss volumes, water and oil, were 13 mL and 10 mL, respectively, compared to diesel oil mud volume of 15 mL and 12 mL. Furthermore, the filtration loss test indicated that the soybean oil mud with filter cake thickness of 2 mm had a cake characteristic of thin and soft while the diesel oil mud resulted in filter cake thickness of 2.5 mm with cake characteristic of firm and rubbery.
In comparison with previous published works in the literature, the soybean oil mud exhibits superior rheological and filtration property over other vegetable oil-based muds. Therefore, the formulated soybean oil mud exhibited good drilling mud properties that would compare favourably with those of diesel oil muds. Its filter cake characteristic of thin and soft is desirable and significant to avert stuck pipe during drilling operations, meaning that an oil-based drilling mud could be formulated from soybean oil.