Smart, horizontal, and multilateral wells provide an attractive option for maximizing reservoir contact in both oil and gas fields in Saudi Arabia. Formate drill-in fluid has been selected lately for drilling gas wells because of its ability to preserve conventional polymers at high temperatures. The formate salts also can reduce the rate of hydrolytic and oxidative degradation of many viscosifiers and fluid loss agents at high temperatures.
Drilling fluid filter cake can reduce the flow efficiency of cased or openhole wells. Calcium carbonate particles are frequently used as weighting material to maintain the pressure that is required for well control and minimize the leakoff. Such solids become consolidated and trapped in the polymeric material and this makes the filter cake a strong permeability barrier.
The conventional method for cleaning the filter cake is by circulating solids-free formate brines at a high flow rate. This mechanical technique removes only the external drilling fluid damage. Chemical fluids like acids, oxidizers, or chelating agents are usually used as an alternative method for dissolving both the external and internal filter cake. Most of these fluids cannot give a full coverage to the wellbore because of the formation heterogeneity.
A new class of esters can generate an acid downhole at a low rate and distribute it uniformly through the wellbore. Fluid compatibility and thermal stability tests were studied in detail. Return permeability experiments were conducted by using high-pressure/ high-temperature (HPHT) dynamic fluid loss cells. The ester solution was effective in cleaning the filter cake in comparison to the formate brines completion fluid and other organic acids results. Also, circulating formate brine to restore the wellbore permeability or remove the internal filter-cake damage was found to be insufficient. Surface tension measurements indicated that the generated alcohol and lactic acid from the ester solution had lowered the surface tension more than the formate brines.