Innovative Drilling Mud Additive Dramatically Reduces Downhole Friction

Tested & Field-Proven” continues to be the expression that underscores operators’ use of ProOne’s drilling fluid treatment.

By Tim Wagner, April 14, 2015

Following successful use by operators of its innovative XPL+ (Xtreme Pressure Lubrication) drilling mud additive in more than 700 North American wells, USA-based ProOne Inc., has expanded product distribution. Now primarily shipped from 300+ locations in twenty countries worldwide through major oilfield service company National Oilwell Varco’s DistributionNOW spin-off, Eurasia locations include Nizhnevartovsk, Sakhalin, Chengdu, Shanghai and Shanghai FTZ.

Impetus for this expansion was the product’s unique tested and field-proven capabilities on two fronts: solving problems and saving money. It solves more than a dozen major downhole drilling challenges and, in accomplishing that, this lubricant saves as much as $1 million per well (all examples are in U.S. dollars) by dramatically reducing friction from a rig’s entire downhole drilling system.

Developing a proprietary downhole drilling treatment

In R&D at ProOne, jointly headquartered in Houston, TX, and Orange County, CA (USA), scientists focused on a top priority for oil and gas operators:  how to overcome, friction, the No. 1 enemy of downhole drilling. With friction occurring literally everywhere downhole, R&D determined that drilling mud should be the carrier of a new lubricant which reaches every internal part involved in “making hole.”

The result is a treatment unlike any others ever added to drilling mud.  Engineered to be bio-stable and ultimately biodegradable, the lubricant exhibits two primary qualities:

    •    fifty times the film strength of conventional lubricants
    •    seemingly defying scientific laws, is actually attracted to instead of being repelled by extreme heat and pressure

Hearing those kinds of product statements, operators in the typically conservative oil and gas industry were initially skeptical and reluctant to change from their established lubricants. After all, they insisted, “lube is lube,” suggesting that it was hardly comparable to inventing an iPhone. Then, one by one, operators agreed to “give it a try” without expecting anything newsworthy to happen. To their amazement, when the results started rolling in, a new chapter opened in downhole drilling.

Can greatly benefit Eurasian drillers

No longer a hollow sales claim, this widely tested and field-proven lubricant is demonstrating its value not only for delivering new cost-efficient solutions to operators everywhere but also provides special value in drilling regions such as Russia.  Eurasia Drilling’s CFO stated that the number of new rigs needed by Russia will cost approximately $9 billion. With more than 50-percent of its oil and gas rigs older than two decades, the importance of reaping major drilling cost savings is a message not lost in this huge spending news.  As one of the largest petroleum reserves and as the world’s largest natural gas exporter, the potential for the technology is especially high in drilling regions such as Russia.

What results should drilling supervisors and crews typically see in terms of how the lubricant’s extremely high lubricity solves major drilling challenges and produces major cost savings? One example is the reduced number of expensive trips, which can take a full day costing operators $70,000-$90,000.

Exposed to more wear and tear (along with intense heat and pressure) than