Case Study Shows Benefits of Applying Hollow Glass Spheres to Drilling Fluids

Topics: Drilling fluids
Fig. 1: Micrograph of HGS8000X.

In an effort to optimize drilling operations and economics, an operator examined the effect of adding hollow glass spheres (HGSs) directly to the drilling fluid instead of performing underbalanced drilling. Both nitrogen and HGSs were believed to reduce hydrostatic pressure of the mud column in the hole, resulting in higher drilling rates of penetration (ROPs) and reduced mud losses to the wellbore. This paper provides information on HGSs as an economic alternative to nitrogen to help reduce the hydrostatic pressure of invert-emulsion drilling fluids.


This case study focuses on the application of HGSs in two different sections of the drilling operation—a horizontal section and a vertical intermediate section. Data from a base-case horizontal section using an all-oil drilling fluid were compared with data of another well on the same drilling pad using the same fluid with the addition of HGSs. The intermediate-section data were from a base-case well that used an invert-emulsion drilling fluid, and they were compared with data from other intermediate well intervals in the same field that used an invert-emulsion drilling fluid with the addition of HGSs.

This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper SPE 174010, “Hollow-Glass-Sphere Application in Drilling Fluids: Case Study,” by Arminder Minhas, SPE, Halliburton; Brandon Friess, SPE, Farid Shirkavand, and Barry Hucik, Seven Generations Energy; Teresa Pena-Bastidas, 3M Canada; Bradley Ross, SPE, Halliburton; and Shawn Servinski and Frank Angyal, Seven Generations Energy, prepared for the 2015 SPE Western Regional Meeting, Garden Grove, California, USA, 27–30 April. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Case Study Shows Benefits of Applying Hollow Glass Spheres to Drilling Fluids

01 November 2015

Volume: 67 | Issue: 11