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PreparationofPotassiumFormate&MicromaxCompletion&DrillingFluids

Introduction
WereceivedarequesttoformulateaPotassiumFormate/Micromaxcompletionfluidat16ppg&4250f.Thisfluid
wasintendedtoreplaceCesiumFormatebrineusedonHPHTcompletions.
ThesuccessfulresultsofthistestingbyElkemhavebeencompleted.SubsequenttothisthecustomeraskedElkemto
formulateaPotassiumFormate/Micromaxdrillingfluid,againat16ppg&4250f.Thetestingforthishasalsobeen
successfullycompleted.
Theresultsofthesuccessfulformulationsarepartofthisreport.Alsoincludedaredescriptionsoftheprocessby
whichweobtainedourresults,theproblemswehad&ourrecommendations(intheattachedappendix)for
successfullytestingofpotassiumformatefluidsathightemperatures.

CompletionFluid
Therequirementsforthiswerefora16ppgfluidstableto4250ffor14days&withminimalsag.Theresultant
formulationissimple,usingminimumadditivestoproduceacompletionfluidwithnorequirementforfluidloss,but
withminimalsag.
Asepiolite,PangelHV,wasusedtoprovideextrasuspension&adispersant,ESMD2,wasusedasadeflocculantto
preventflocculationoragglomerationduringsustainedhightemperatureaging.Theresultswithminimalsag,even
after14daysstaticat4240f,areshownbelowinTable1:
Table116ppgPotassiumFormate/MicromaxCompletionFluid
Additives in order of addition

Mixing Time

Conc in gram

Conc in gram

650

650

650

0.35
8
4
268
16.0

0.35
8
4
268
16.0

0,35
8
4
268
16.0

Potassium Formate Brine (SG1.57)


Soda Ash
Pangel HV Viscosifier
ESM D2 Dispersant
Micromax
Mud Weight, ppg

Heat Aged at ( 4240f )


600 rpm
300 rpm
200 rpm
100 rpm
6 rpm
3 rpm
PV @ 120F, cP ( 50 C )
YP, lb/100ft2
10 sec Gel, lb/100ft2
10 min Gel, lb/100ft2
pH
Supernatant liquid ( ml )
Density Top
Density Bottom
Sag Factor

5
5
5
10

BSHA
62
39
31
23
12
11
23
16
18
21
9

ASHA
7 days
4240f
93
68
58
45
25
23
25
43
20
21
12.88
0
2.15
2.20
0.506

BSHA
62
39
31
23
12
11
23
16
18
21
9

ASHA
10 days
4240f
124
94
81
67
45
40
30
64
25
26
13.0
0
1.91
1.95
0.505

Conc in gram

BSHA
62
39
31
23
12
11
23
16
18
21
9

ASHA
14 days
4240f
130
92
79
63
37
34
38
54
26
26
12,2
0
1,98
2,08
0,512


DrillingFluid
Therequirementsforthepotassiumformate/Micromaxdrillingfluidwerefor16ppg@4250fwithlow,upperend
rheologytoprovidelowECDs,minimalsag&anHPHTfluidlossof<30ml.Whilsttheformulationforacompletion
fluidprovedquitestraightforward,thecreationofarobustformulationforadrillingfluidwasmorecomplex.This
wasforthefollowingreasons:

Thedrillingfluidrequiresfluidlosscontrolatca4250f.Therearefewadditivesavailabletosuccessfully
managefluidlosscontrolatthishightemperature
Thecompletionfluidrequiredsimplecontrolofchemicalstability&sag.
Testingformatefluidsatultrahightemperaturesraisesanumberofissues,whicharedescribedbelow

Extensivetestingwasdonetoprovidearobustformulationmeetingthecustomersrequirements.Wediscovered
thatacombinationofDristemp(anAMPSderivative)&PACLVtogetherwithCaCO3(20)providedacontrollable&
stablefluidloss.Nootherfluidlossadditivesareneeded.Othersuchadditivesweretested&failedeitherbecause
theydegradedatsuchhightemperaturesorbecausetheysaltedout.TheuseofESMD2,Elkemsproprietory
deflocculant,wasalsorequiredtostabilisetherheologyatsuchhightemperatures.
ThesuccessfultestresultsareshowninTable2.
Table216ppgPotassiumFormate/MicromaxDrillingFluid
Additives in order of addition

Mixing
Time mins

Conc in gram

Conc in gram

Conc in gram

Water

0 WB

187.5

187.5

187.5

PAC LV

5 WB

4.0

Dristemp

5 WB

16.0

16

16

Pangel HV

5 WB

6.0

2 WB/ Silv

480.0

480

480

Potassium Formate Powder

2 Silv

427.5

427.5

427.5

CaCO3 20

5 Silv

18.8

18.8

18.8

Soda Ash

2 Silv

0.5

0.5

ESM D2

2 Silv

6.0

15 Silv

437.5
BSHA
ASHA
20HRS
@
392 F

Potassium Formate brine 1.57 sg

Micromax
Heat Aged

BSHA

437.5
ASHA
20HRS
@
392 F

ASHA
16HRS
@
420 F

BSHA

437.5
ASHA
ASHA
16HRS
30HRS
@
@
392 F
392 F

ASHA
30HRS
@
420 F

600 rpm

71

59

71

68

53

75

88

117

85

300 rpm

41

35

42

40

30

45

50

70

48

200 rpm

31

26

33

38

21

32

35

48

35

100 rpm

20

16

20

20

12

20

18

24

20

6 rpm

3 rpm

PV @ 120F, cP ( 50 C )

30

24

29

28

23

30

38

47

37

YP, lb/100ft2

11

11

13

12

15

12

23

11

10 sec Gel, lb/100ft2

2.5

10 min Gel, lb/100ft2

15

Fluid loss at 150 C (ml)

54

46

14

10

44

20

12

Filter cake (mm)

4.5

<1

<1

<1

<1

<1

pH

10.3

10.9

9.3

11.46

11.87

9.12

11.31

11.4

11.5

Descriptionof&RecommendationsforTestingaPotassiumFormateFluidatHighTemperature
Formulating&testingsaturatedpotassiumformatefluids,especiallyatultrahightemperatures,presentcertain
issuesnotseeninotherwaterbasefluids:
a) Potassiumformateisextremelysolubleinwateratupto77%w/w.Thisresultsinleavinglittlefreewaterto
dissolveadditives.Accordingly,whenaddingaproductrequiringsolubilisation,suchasafluidlosscontrol
polymer(Dristemp,Kemsealetc),sufficienttime&energyisneededtoallowdissolutiontotakeplace.Oneof
theconsequencesofagingathightemperaturemaybethatthesepolymerssaltout,evenifproperly
dissolvedpriortoaging.Therefore,theuseofcertainpolymersmayprovetobeimpossibleabovecertain
concentrationsathightemperature.Whenintendingtouseasaturatedpotassiumformatefluiditis
recommendedto:

I.
II.
III.

Prehydratepolymersinwater
Addsaturatedpotassiumformatebrine
Addpowderedpotassiumformatetobringtheresultingfluiduptosaturationwrtpotassium
formate

Nondissolvingadditivessuchassepiolite(PangelHV),Micromax,CaCO3etcdonotrequireprehydration,but
doneedsufficientsheartoproperlydisperse.
b) ThenaturalpHofsaturatedpotassiumformatebrineisalkaline.Thebrineusedinthisstudywasaround10.
Thepotassiumformatepowderwasstronglyalkalinewhenaddedtothefluidtosaturateit.Without
treatmentthiswouldresultinpHvaluesof>11bothbefore&afteraging.Topreventhydrolysisofadditivesit
isrecommendedtoreducethepHusingformicacid,beforeaging,toca9.5.Furthertreatmentafteraging
maybenecessary
c) DespitereducingthepHbeforeagingitisrecommendedtobufferthefluidwithNa2CO3orNaHCO3.The
reasonforthisistomaintainanequilibriumawayfromdecompositionoftheformate
d) Formatesdodecomposeathightemperature,butthereisamuchgreaterdegreeofdecompositionunderlab
testingthanoccursinthefield.CabotinboththeirFormateManuals&inconversationhaveexplainedthe
largedifferencebetweenresultsachievedinlabtesting&thoseachievedinthefield.Essentially,labresults
showmoredecomposition&corrosion,whichtheyhavenotseenoccurringinthefield.Theyattributethisto
thefollowing:

I.
II.

III.
IV.
V.

FormatedecompositiontoCO,CO2orH2isanequilibriumprocess
TestcellscontainheadspacegassuchasN2,CO2orairinamuchhigherproportiontothat
experiencedinawell.Thislargeramountofgasleadstomoredecompositionbecausethe
reactiongasesescapeintotheheadspace&delayequilibriumbeingreached
Labtestingisconductedatlowpressure(100sofPSI).HPHTwellsareathighpressure
(thousandsofPSI)&equilibriumisreachedearlier.Higherpressurerestrictsdecomposition
Labtestcellsaremadeofstainlesssteelalloyscontaininge.g.nickel,whichactascatalystsin
thepotassiumformatedecompositionreaction
Wellscontaintubularscoveredincorrosionproductssuchasmillscale,whichpoisonsuch
catalyticactivity

Insummary,labderivedfiguresformaximumoperatingtemperaturesaresignificantlyexceededinthe
field&thetemperaturelimitsofusingpotassiumformatesshouldnotbebasedonmostofthelabwork
previouslyconducted.TestsdonebytheWoodsHoleInstusingspecialequipmentdeterminedthat:
3

Thedecompositionofformatebrineswill,underrealistichydrothermalconditions,reach
equilibriumrelativelysoon.
Themajorproductofformatedecompositionisbicarbonate,whichisalreadypresentinformate
brineasacomponentofthepHbuffer.Somecarbonateisalsoformed,whichisthesecondpH
buffercomponent.
Byaddingextracarbonate/bicarbonatebuffertothebrine,itshouldbepossibletoformulatea
thermallystableformatefluid.Suchafluidreachesequilibriumafterjustaveryminordegreeof
decomposition.

e) Becausemoredecompositionoccurswhilsttestinginlabconditions,manytestscanbedifficulttorun
accurately.AtthehightemperaturesappliedheretheproductionofH2&CO2resultedinsignificantfoaming
ofthemudinthetestcell.Suchfoamingcancompromisetestssuchasthesagfactor.Forrheologyorfluid
testingitisbettertoallowthesampletobegentlystirredbeforerunningtheteststopermittheremovalof
theentrainedgases
f) Agingcellsusedtotestformatebrinesaresubjecttocorrosionfromthedecompositionproducts.Therefore,
itisrecommendedtouseTeflonlinersuptoca3900f&glasslinersabovethat

Conclusions
Thetestingofwaterbasefluidsathightemperaturesisadifficultprocess.Manychemicalreactionsareaccelerated&
additivesmaydegradefrome.g.oxidationorhydrolysis.However,itiswellknownthattheuseofformatesextends
thetemperaturerangeofmanypolymers,primarilythroughtheantioxidativenatureoftheformates.However,at
hightemperaturesunderlabconditions,formatefluidsdecomposeatlowertemperaturesthanoccurinthefield.
Thiscausesproblemsineffectivelyformulating&testingsuchfluids.Despitethesedifficultieswehavesuccessfully
formulated&testedbothacompletion&adrillingfluidto16ppg&4200f.Todothiswediscovered:

Astrictprocess(asdetailedabove)needstobefollowedtosuccessfullytestformatesathightemperature
Althoughmanypolymershavetheirtemperatureoperatinglimitssignificantlyextendedinformates,high
concentrationsofsuchpolymersmayresultinthemsaltingoutathightemperature.Therefore,thechoiceof
polymeradditiveisnotobviousfromitschemistry&requirestestingtodetermineitssuitabilityforsuchan
application
Dristemp,PACLV,&CaCO3(20)weretheonlyfluidlossadditivestosuccessfullywork(together)underthe
prescribedconditions
Adeflocculant,ESMD2,isneededtoensurerheologicalstabilityundertheseconditions
Asuccessfulformulationhasbeenachievedmeetingthecustomersrequirements