Geothermal formations often contain extensive fracture networks. These fracture networks contribute to the significant loss of drilling fluids during geothermal drilling. Multiple loss circulation materials (LCM) such as fiber, granules, and pills have been proposed to tackle this problem but with only limited success. Recent advances in materials science have led to the development of thermoset shape memory polymers (SMP) to address the lost circulation problem. In this paper, we evaluate a thermoset SMP performance in sealing near wellbore fractures of different sizes in geothermal wells. The SMP performance was assessed using granite disks and cylindrical granite cores having fracture sizes of 1000 μm and 3000 μm. A static filtration test was performed using cedar fiber, CaCO3, and SMP. Results showed cedar fiber performed better than the CaCO3., reducing fluid loss by 89% and improving sealing pressure by 200 psi. A novel dynamic testing unit that allows for high-temperature testing under flowing conditions was used in this study. The analysis showed that 3% by weight SMP and fiber blends could bridge and plug the 1000 μm fracture. For a larger fracture of 3000 μm width, there was a need to increase the weight concentration of the SMP to 6% to plug the fracture opening effectively. We showed the influence of key parameters such as the type of LCM, concentration, and particle size distribution in optimizing the performance of drilling fluid loss treatment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Fuel Technology
- Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology