During this second Quarter of the Project, the first four tasks of Phase I--all focusing on the behavior of aphrons--were continued: (a) Aphron Visualization--evaluate and utilize various methods of monitoring and measuring aphron size distribution at elevated pressure; (b) Fluid Density--investigate the effects of pressure, temperature and chemical composition on the survivability of aphrons; (c) Aphron Air Diffusivity--determine the rate of loss of air from aphrons during pressurization; and (d) Pressure Transmissibility--determine whether aphron bridges created in fractures and pore throats reduce fracture propagation. The project team expanded the laboratory facilities and purchased a high-pressure system to measure bubble size distribution, a dissolved oxygen (DO) probe and computers for data acquisition. Although MASI Technologies LLC is not explicitly ISO-certified, all procedures are being documented in a manner commensurate with ISO 9001 certification, including equipment inventory and calibration, data gathering and reporting, chemical inventory and supplier data base, waste management procedures and emergency response plan. Several opportunities presented themselves to share the latest aphron drilling fluid technology with potential clients, including presentation of papers and working exhibit booths at the IADC/SPE Drilling Conference and the SPE Coiled Tubing Conference & Exhibition. In addition, a brief trip to the Formation Damage Symposium resulted in contacts for possible collaboration with ActiSystems, the University of Alberta and TUDRP/ACTS at the University of Tulsa. Preliminary results indicate that the Aphron Visualization and Pressure Transmissibility tasks should be completed on time. Although the Aphron Air Diffusivity task has been impeded by the lack of a suitable DO probe, it is hoped to be completed on time, too. The Fluid Density task, on the other hand, has had significant delays caused by faulty equipment and will likely require an additional month of work. Meanwhile, an assessment of potential methodologies for the Aphron Hydrophobicity project has been initiated …
During this first Quarter of the Project, a team of five individuals was formed to characterize aphron drilling fluids, with the ultimate objectives to gain acceptance for this novel technology and decrease the costs of drilling mature and multiple-pressure formations in oil and gas wells. Aphron drilling fluids are very high low-shear-rate viscosity fluids laden with specially designed microbubbles, or ''aphrons.'' The focus of the Project is to develop some understanding of the aphron structure and how aphrons and base fluid behave under downhole conditions. Four tasks were begun during this Quarter. All of these focus on the behavior of aphrons: (a) Aphron Visualization - to evaluate various methods of measuring bubble size distribution, especially Acoustic Bubble Spectroscopy (ABS), in aphron drilling fluids at elevated pressure; (b) Fluid Density - to investigate the effects of pressure, temperature and chemical composition on the survivability of aphrons; (c) Aphron Air Diffusivity - to determine the rate of loss of air from aphrons during pressurization; and (d) Pressure Transmissibility - to determine whether aphron networks (similar to foams) in fractures and pore networks reduce fracture propagation. The project team installed laboratory facilities and purchased most of the equipment required to carry out the tasks described above. Then work areas were combined to permit centralized data acquisition and communication with internal and external file servers, and electronic and hard copy filing systems were set up to be compatible with ISO 9001 guidelines. Initial feasibility tests for all four tasks were conducted, which led to some modification of the experimental designs so as to enable measurements with the required accuracy and precision. Preliminary results indicate that the Aphron Visualization, Aphron Air Diffusivity and Pressure Transmissibility tasks should be completed on time. The Fluid Density task, on the other hand, has some fundamental problems that may …
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