This work discusses the effect of incorporating blast furnace slag (BFS) as an additive in water-based drilling fluids. The intent of this treatment is rapid development of a thin, impervious, and easily removable filter cake, thereby minimizing detrimental impact of the drilling fluid on formation productivity as opposed to previous applications of BFS in universal fluids. To evaluate the impact of BFS on filter cake properties, permeability plugging apparatus (PPA) tests and dynamic formation damage (DFD) studies were conducted. Drill-in fluids and dispersed muds were tested using varying quantities of BFS. Once a steady rate of dynamic filter cake deposition was achieved, the BFS in the filter cakes was chemically activated. The results obtained from these activation studies were compared with those obtained with no BFS and with unactivated BFS. The nature of the filter cakes was examined with an environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEM). Results obtained from the PPA tests indicate substantial decreases in initial spurt loss and filtrate volume with increasing concentration of BFS. The DFD studies substantiate the aforementioned observations and show enhancement of return permeabilities with BFS activation. ESEM studies demonstrate that BFS can consolidate filter cakes.

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