When a drilling fluid column remains static over a timeframe of several years, the drilling fluid separates into different sediment phases due to gravity separation. These heavy sediments, entitled “settled barite”, are the cause of significant operational problems several years after drilling.

An important problem caused by settled barite occurs when performing casing cut-and-pull operations during slot recovery and well abandonment: the casing is “stuck” due to the sediments in the annulus outside the casing. The consistency and rheological properties of the sediments determine how easily the casing is removed.

In this paper, we report a preliminary study were we have artificially prepared gravity sediment phases for two different types of water-based drilling fluids; one KCl/polymer-based fluid and one bentonite-based fluid. By studying the rheological properties of the obtained sediment phases, we see that there are considerable differences between the sediments for these different drilling fluids.

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