Abstract: Nanotechnology has made revolutionary changes in various fields of engineering and is expected to have a great potential in improving oil and gas industry in the next few years. Nanotechnology has introduced the nanoparticles that were found very striking for petroleum engineers to be used in different petroleum applications. The extremely tiny size and large surface area to volume of nanoparticles gave them the capability of upgrading several operations including exploration, drilling, completion, production and processing. In this paper, a study of how nanoparticles can be used to improve the drilling operation by upgrading drilling fluid properties is conducted in the manner of eliminating or decreasing the probability of drilling problems. An experimental study is steered and discussed in order to evaluate the effect of adding Alumina oxide nanoparticles to a water base drilling mud. Nanoparticles were tested by the X-ray diffraction (XRD) which confirmed their identity and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) which confirmed that the average particle size is in the range of 60 nm to 90 nm, these tests were carried out at the Egyptian Petroleum Research Institute (EPRI). A conventional drilling fluid was prepared at the British University in Egypt fluids lab and was tested with the intention of appraising its characteristics, namely Low shear yield point (LSYP), yield point, gel strength, fluid filtrate volume and mud cake properties. Same tests were conducted on a Nano-enhanced fluid for the sake of constructing a comparative analysis between the two fluids in terms of the mentioned parameters. Three samples of drilling fluid with different nanoparticles w/w concentrations were prepared in order to determine the optimum nanoparticle concentrations that will yield the best results. A reduction of the filtrate volume to about 45% accompanied with a reduction of the mud cake thickness to about 42 % were observed at a concentration of 1.5 wt% of Alumina oxide nanoparticles in the water base fluid, this indicates the great capability and potentiality of Nanofluids to minimize the probability of differential pipe sticking and formation damage. Enhancements of the rheological properties were observed, and valuable amounts of drilling fluids were saved.
Keywords: Nanoparticles, Drilling fluids, Water Bas Mud, Alumina oxide.