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Electrical stability of oil based mud is a measure of fluid emulsion stability and oil wetting
capability. Mud with a higher degree of emulsion stability is shiny, smooth and does not adhere
to a string mixer. Lower degree of emulsion stability the mud is dull, grainy and show marked
tendency to adhere to a spindle. Electrical Stability voltage was used to determine the viscosity,
type and concentration of solid, aqueous fluid and emulsifier. The composition of drilling fluid is
solid and liquid. The total solid in drilling mud usually increases while drilling ahead because of
drilling solid, mud chemical additives and weighting material is called solid content. If the
drilling operation has more solid content, the risk for the whole performance will be down is


The experiment is separated into two parts which are part A and part B and contains two
objectives. The objective for part A is to determine the Electrical Stability (ES) of drilling mud
samples and the objective for part B is to determine the liquid and solid contents of the drilling
fluid samples.


Liquid drilling fluid is often called drilling mud. The main functions of drilling fluids include
providing hydrostatic pressure to prevent formation fluids from entering into the well bore,
keeping the drillbit cool and clean during drilling, carrying out drill cuttings, and suspending the
drill cuttings while drilling is paused and when the drilling assembly is brought in and out of the
hole. The drilling fluid used for a particular job is selected to avoid formation damage and to
limit corrosion.

a) Emulsion Test

Emulsion testers are used to indicate the stability and type of emulsion whether water-in-oil or
oil-in-water. This test is used in the evaluation of inverted emulsion drilling fluids, cements, and
fracturing fluids. Time stability and resistance to electrolyte contamination of these systems can

be predicted from a measurement of relative emulsion stability (Lab Manual; Drilling, 2003).
The time stability and resistance to electrolyte contamination of these systems can be predicted
from a measurement of relative emulsion stability.

Electical Stability test is a test that applied to oil-base and water-base muds that indicates the
stability of the emulsion and oil-wetting capacity of the sample. It is determined by applying a
steadily sinusoidal alternating voltage across a pair of parallel flat plate electrodes submerged in
the oil base drilling fluid. Maximum voltage that the mud will sustain across the gap before
conducting current is diplayed as the ES voltage (Electrical (Es) Stability, n.d.) . There is a few
conditions influence the Electrical Stability of a drilling fluid such as resistivity of the continuous
phase, conductivity of the non-continuous phase, conductivity of the non-continuous phase,
properties suspende solids, temperature, droplet size, type of emulsifier used, dielectric
properties of the fluids and shear history of the sample (Electrical Stability Test, 2015). Series of
(ES) measurements will reflect a more accurate condition of the drilling fluid on which drilling
fluid treatments can be based.

b) Solid and Liquid Content

Drilling fluid composition consists of liquid (oill and water) and solid. Solids content is
fundamental to proper control of mud properties such as rheology, density and filter cake
building properties. Amouts of solids need to be controlled to avoid drilling problem such as pipe
sticking. the volume of solids is found by substraction from 100%. Liquid and solid content of a
drilling mud is essential for good control of the mud properties. Some will explain poor
performance of the mud and indicate whether the mud can be conditioned by addition of water or
whether treatment with chemical thinner or the removal of contaminant required (Lab
Manual;Drilling, 2003). The proper control of oil emulsion mud depends of the oil content.

Knowledge of the liquid and solids content of a drilling mud is essential for good control
of the mud properties. Such information will often explain poor performance of the mud and
indicate whether the mud can best be conditioned by the addition of water or whether treatment
with chemical thinner or the removal of the contaminant is required (Drilling waste management,
2015). Similarly, proper control of an oil emulsion mud depends upon knowledge of the oil

For muds containing only water and solids, the quantity of each can be determined from
the mud density and from the evaporation of a weighed sample of mud. Oil and water content
can also be obtained measuring the liquid fraction. The latter method is only applicable to oil
emulsion muds.



Figure 1: Electrical Stability (ES) Tester with calibration kit

The apparatus used in the experiment were Electrical Stability (ES) Tester that used to test the
maximum voltage of the samples which were water based mud and oil based mud. Besides that,
this experiment also used two beakers to place off the samples and calibration kit that functions
as to test the accuracy of the instrument.



Condenser Grease


Figure 2: Oil and Water Retort Kit

In this experiment, the apparatus used was Oil and Water Retort Kit which functions as to run the
experiment by certain processes like heating and condensation. In the retort kit, there were
condenser and furnace chamber that used to condense the evaporated sample to liquid and to heat
up the sample, respectively. Besides that, measuring cylinder was used to accumulate the liquid
from the condenser. Meanwhile, the materials used were wetting agent that functions as to
remove the meniscus so that the level of the oil is at one line. Other than that was grease which
used to reduce the friction between the upper chamber and sample chamber.



Calibration procedure

1 The Electrical Stability (ES) Tester was calibrated by inserting one of the standards to the
probe socket.
2 Then, the equipment was turned on and the test button was pushed on.
3 The measurement of the voltage started and the values showed was nearly the calibration
4 Then, the experiment can be started.

Experimental procedures

1 The electrode body was cleaned thoroughly by using paper towel and the Stability
Testing probe was inserted to the probe socket.
2 Then, the water based mud sample was prepared in the beaker.
3 The probe was inserted into the beaker and stirred for about 5 minutes to insure the
4 The instrument was turned on and the test button was pushed on.
5 The experiment was repeated three times to measure the average value of the voltage.
6 All the procedures were repeated for oil based mud sample.


1 The power supply was switched on and the on/off button was pressed on.
2 The upper chamber was removed from its position and was opened so that the steel wool
can be packed in the upper chamber.
3 Then, the water based mud sample was filled up the sample chamber and the lid was
replaced to allow the excess samples to escape. The excess of the samples was wiped out
by using paper towel.
4 The sample chamber was screwed up with the upper chamber and tightens by using the
square bar retort stand.
5 Retort assembly in heating compartment was replaced and the insulator cover was placed
in it position.
6 The condenser was set up and the measuring cylinder was placed under the drain part of
the condenser after a drop of wetting agent was put into it.
7 The heater was turned on and the experiment was started.
8 The retort was allowed to heat up until the pilot lamp was off to indicate that the retort
had achieved the maximum temperature for the distillation to be completed.
9 The measuring cylinder was taken out from the condenser and weighed out with the
10 The volume of the water and oil were determined and the data were recorded.
11 Then, after the chamber was cooled off, the solid sample was taken out and weighed by
using electronic balance and the data was recorded.

Turn Off Procedures

1 The apparatus was turned off and waited until the chamber cooled off.

2 Then, the chamber was removed from its position and the chamber was cleaned off by
using spatula.
3 The condenser and the measuring cylinder were cleaned off by using pipe cleaner.
4 Then, all the apparatus used were cleaned off properly and placed it at its original


Part A
Resistivity of mud (v)
Type of mud st nd
1 reading 2 reading 3rd reading Average reading
Water-based mud 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0
Oil-based mud 184.0 178.0 155.0 172.3

Part B
Volume of sample : 50.0 mL
Volume of oil : 25.0 mL
Volume of water : 21.0 mL
Volume of solids : 4 mL
Weight of empty case : 91.35 g
Weight of case filled with mud : 130.95 g
Weight of mud : 39.6 g
Weight of dried mud : 17.32 g

% Oil by volume = 50.0

% Water by volume = 42.0
% Solids by volume = 8.0

% Oil by weight = 3.3

% Water by weight = 53.0

% Solids by weight = 43.7


In the first part of the experiment, which is part A, electrical stability of two types of drilling
mud samples is determined. Table 1 shows resistivity reading for both water- mud and oil-based
mud. The average reading for water-based mud is 1V, much less than oil-based mud reading,
172.3V. The concept of electrical conductivity is essential to explain the difference between
these two readings. For a substance to carry a charge (to conduct electricity), it must contain
charged particles and is free to move. Water-based mud, met these conditions and thus, it can
conduct electricity, recording a very low resistivity reading. Oil-based mud, on the other hand
gives a high resistivity reading because it does not contain charged or freely moving particles.
The resistivity of mud is inversely proportional to dissolved salts concentration, proving that
water-based mud contains greater concentration of dissolved salts than oil-based mud (Hossain
& Al-Majed, 2015).

For part B, drilling fluid composition, the liquid and solid content are determined. It is
calculated that the percent by volume of oil, water and solid for the mud are 50%, 42% and 8%
respectively whereas the percent by weight of oil, water and solid are 3.3%, 53% and 43.7%.
Based on its solid and liquid content, a mud can be classified into low-solid muds or high-solid
muds. It has been proven that low solid muds are more easily controlled and provide faster rate
of penetration. Low solid muds contain a minimum amount of bentonite, clay or other low-
gravity solids (Azar & Samuel, 2007). Total solid content is determined, to a great extent, by
density needed to control formation pressures. There are charts and formulas in determining the
specific gravity of the solids, and from this, approximate percent of clay and barite present in
mud can be determined. Since the mud tested is oil-based mud, it is better to run several tests and
notice the trends rather than having only one retort test as an absolute.


Wmud = (Wmud + empty case) - Wempty case = 130.95g - 91.35g = 39.6g

Vsolid = Vmud - Voil - Vwater = 50ml - 25ml - 21ml = 4ml

Vwater water 21ml 1g

100% 100% 53%
Wmud 39.6 g .ml
Percentage (%) of water by weight =

Percentage(%) of solid by weight = Wdried mud /Wmud = (17.32g/39.6g) x 100% = 43.7%

Percentage(%) of oil by weight = 100% - % of solid - % of water

= 100% - 43.7% - 53%

= 3.3%

Voil 25ml
100% 100% 50%
Vmud 50ml
Percentage(%) volume of oil =

Vwater 21ml
100% 100% 42%
Vmud 50ml
Percentage(%) volume of water =

Percentage(%) volume of solid = 100% - Voil(%) - Vwater(%) = 100% - 50% - 42%

= 8%


The objectives in these experiments are to determine the Electrical Stability (ES) of drilling mud
samples and to determine the liquid and solid contents of drilling fluid. For part A, the average
resistivity reading for water-based mud is 1V while for oil-based mud; the reading is 172.3V. The
result shows that water-based mud has low resistance than oil-based mud because it contains
more charged particles which are free to move. For part B, percent by volume of oil, water and

solid for the mud sample are 50%, 42% and 8% respectively whereas the percent by weight of
oil, water and solid are 3.3%, 53% and 43.7%.


1) Clean the electodes by using a tissue to avoid wrong reading while calibrate.

2) Take more than one reading and get a average reading to get more accurate data.

3) Wear a leather gloves when handling hot retort kit.

4) Make sure use more grease so the lid will be easier to open.

5) Compare resistivity of saltwater mud and fresh water mud to investigate the effect of salt

water concentration on resistivity.


Azar, J.J., & Samuel, G.R. (2007). Drilling Engineering: PennWell Corporation.

Drilling waste management (2015), Society of Petroleum Engineers. Retrieved from

Electrical (Es) Stability Meter Ofi No. 131-50, OFI Testing Equipment, pg. 1-4.

Electrical Stability Test (2015), Schlumberger Limited. Retrieved from

Hossain, E., & Al-Majed, A.A. (2015). Fundamentals of Sustainable Drilling Engineering:

Lab Manual;Drilling Laboratory. Department of Petroleum Engineering (2003), King Fahd

University Of Petroleum & Minerals.