Our main laboratory is located in the office building at the corporate headquarters in Bakersfield, California. GEO Drilling Fluids, Inc. constructed this facility for the purpose of insuring quality control, expanding research and development, and providing laboratory backup for our drilling fluids engineers working on local projects.
The Mud Lab is a 'built to purpose' facility enjoying the full support of the administration. The design of this facility, facilitates both its use as a laboratory for pilot testing and experimentation, but also is ideally suited to support the in-house mud school. Provided with the latest technology in testing equipment when it was built, the laboratory includes a Fann 75 Viscometer, an Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer, a Lubricity Tester, a computerized Hot Roll Oven, Heat Fusion equipment, and a Centrifuge among others. In addition, standard mud testing equipment is provided, including a bank of filter presses for multiple sample evaluation. Management considers this laboratory important enough to hire a full time staff to man its operation. Our laboratory manager, is Mr. Andy Philips.
A quality assurance program is continuously maintained at GEO through the services of the laboratory. All reagents and testing chemicals that are required by our field engineers are formulated and standardized at our facility. A complete line of testing equipment and supplies are stocked and maintained by our technicians in the laboratory. To maintain complete assurance and reliability at GEO Drilling Fluids, Inc., both new and used equipment is completely tested and calibrated prior to being allocated to our Engineering Department.
Routine quality control consists of testing our drilling fluids products, such as weight materials, viscosifiers, thinners, polymers, etc., per API specifications or comparisons to industry standards. Oil base muds, brines and completion fluids are also tested and pilot checked prior to leaving our warehouse and mixing plant.
Make-up waters are checked for all physical and chemical constituents prior to spudding a new well. Should an unsuitable water be detected in such a manner, precautionary treatments can then be introduced or the water source changed.
Lab & Field Coordination
Coordination of lab work and field work is achieved through the availability of laboratory services to all technical and engineering personnel on a local 24 hours basis, just as our engineers work. Assistance by laboratory management and technicians is always available should an abnormal condition occur.
During the process of drilling a deep well, with water base mud daily filtrate monitoring can be routine at the laboratory. In a matter of minutes, a complete determination of Cations and Anions can be performed with the aid of a computerized Atomic Adsorption Spectro-photometer and a pH-Ionalyzer.
This is extremely important when drilling with an inhibited mud system. We then provide, on a daily basis, a complete record of all significant Cations and Anions in the system.
In addition, we quite frequently, with the cooperation of the mud loggers and the operator, provide a complete analysis of Cation Exchange Capacities on drilled cuttings from spud to total depth.
Complete rheology as well as API and HTHP filtrate analysis can also be conducted by lab personnel in a short period of time. The Fann Model 75 Automatic High Pressure, High Temperature (HTHP) Viscometer uses a newly designed proprietary software for fully automatic control for Pressure, Temperature, and Motor Speed, as well as full manipulation of data for final presentation. The instrument measures rheologies to a maximum of 20,000 psi and 500 F. It allows consistent results and more reliable data due to integrated control of temperature, pressure and motor speed.
The Fann 75 replaces the FANN 50 (capable of measuring viscosity at up to 500 degrees and 500 psi) with a computerized instrument capable of measuring viscosity at up to 500 degrees and 20,000 psi. The Fann 75 is fully integrated with a personal computer for real time readout and digital data recording. Output can be documented with an onboard graphic display, or exported to other software applications for research and well analysis. This can be an invaluable tool in deeper projects at elevated temperatures and pressures, especially when utilizing oil muds. The ability to measure and record viscosities and gel strengths on a regular basis at bottom hole temperatures and pressures can mean the difference between success and failure. We also have a Malvern Microsizer laser particle size analyzer for solids particle size analysis, an Extreme Pressure Lubricity Meter and a Dynamic HTHP Filter Press.
Specialized HTHP equipment is available to measure filtrate up to 400 F. This includes dynamic properties where the fluid and cake are dynamically stirred. Computer aided hot rolling aging ovens are available to test muds for prolonged exposure to heat.
Particle size analysis is important to the long term effects on drilling fluids. Measurements by outside labs take days or weeks and are costly. GEO has purchased a desktop unit from Malvern with a stable single lens optics system. This allows quick setup and ease of measurement of drilling fluids. The unit is operated through a PC shared with the Fann 75. It generates a variety of reports and graphs allowing detailed analysis of the particle size distribution. Measurements are made from 300 to 0.3 microns.
In addition to the above every day duties that are performed in the laboratory, some of the other responsibilities and tests that are routinely carried out are: corrosion coupon analysis, pilot testing, evaluating new products, etc.
Research & Development
Although much of the mud work in the laboratory is routine, the Research and Development group at GEO Drilling Fluids, Inc. is very active in the development of new products and techniques. With complete cooperation of management, engineering, and our technical department, many projects are in an active state of development at all times.
An example of the outcome of focused R&D would be the patent awarded to GEO Drilling Fluids, Inc. for equipment to dewater waste drilling fluids while drilling. The application of the technology was the culmination of two years of studying the chemistry of recycled drilling waters and fluids.
Due to the importance and invaluable knowledge gained from the study of various complex formations, continuous efforts with the use and availability of such instruments as, Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer, pH Ionalyzer, X-ray Diffraction, X-ray Fluorescence, and Petrographic Microscope, are being conducted on selected core and shale samples. These analyses are coordinated at GEO’s lab facility for programming appropriate drilling fluids, evaluating comparability of completion mediums, and solving immediate problems encountered on active projects.