COSTA MESA, California — Designed and engineered to make its original downhole lubricant even more effective for operators, ProOne scientists introduced Diamond Dust two-in-one drill fluid additive as the company’s second major technological breakthrough, which began with XPL+ eight years ago.
What occurred technologically during that period? First, XPL+ redefined drilling lubrication with film strength fifty times that of conventional lubricants. That strength delivered a lengthy capabilities list including friction reduction exceeding 70%, 50% torque and drag reduction, greatly improved ROP and more. Then, results this good made tribologists ponder: “What if we combined our leading lubrication technology with an innovative powder asphalt that inhibits shale and delivers fluid loss control?” And from the lab came the two-in-one conditioner.
Powder asphalt technology
Not just anybody could develop what was expected by ProOne executives, so they brought in a game-changing innovator, the former head of R&D at a major oil company with years of knowledge in unique asphalt formulations. The result generated a quick, positive reaction in the field among drilling engineers and drill site personnel collectively saying “It’s turning ordinary muds into super muds.”
How? It’s a bonus for drilling rigs because combining the asphalt product with XPL+ provides all the asphalt properties plus exceptional lubricity. Most operators buy Diamond Dust as a replacement for other sulfonated asphalts since it adds lubricity where the others have none.
Several key product features drew that “super muds” comment, in addition to shale inhibition and controlling fluid loss:
- In competitive tests called for by major oil companies, the product at a low 1.5% concentration performed better than others at 7.5
- In coefficient of friction reduction its lower concentration had the practical effect at drill sites of providing stronger performance using less product
In the ongoing technological evolution of enhancing muds for optimal downhole lubrication, it is also significant that the product is easily dispersed in any mud, whether water-based or oil-based and benefits not only laterals but also verticals and curves. Of particular importance is that the product is an EP (Extreme Pressure) lubricant, which is how XPL+ lubricant really earned its name in the field. It accomplishes the seemingly improbable, migrating toward extreme heat and pressure instead of away from extremes. In a friction test, bearings subjected to extreme pressure incurred severe damage at 4,000 lbs/psi compared to the ProOne technology’s minimal damage at 50 times that pressure.
Improved drilling operations
Operators and their drilling engineers are typically most interested in not only product performance but how that plays out in time and money savings. In addition to the above-referenced key attributes, including saving money, Diamond Dust:
- Considerably reduces bit balling and wear
- Noticeably reduces torque and drag as well as differential sticking
- Creates a filter cake which is tough, thin and slick
- Reduces drill string corrosion
- Offers an improved response to seepage and enables LCM control
Owing directly to technologically being a multi-purpose product, operators can now reduce (or completely replace) e.g., wall cake enhancers, wetting agents, gilsonite and/or sulfonated asphalt. Also, the only daily maintenance requirements are 1-2 lbs/bbl. Apart from performance it should not go unnoticed that the product is also carrying on the XPL+ product tradition of eco-friendliness. Per strict international standards it is quickly and fully biodegradable and offshore is completely non-toxic to marine life.
From the lab, through intensive testing and into field application, Diamond Dust is doing what operators never expected when facing the issue of “Why change my mud additive? Basically, muds are muds.” Now more and more well-site results are showing that this next-gen technology is actually a game-changer for drilling mud, according to drillers.