Evaluation of Malaysian Ilmenite Performance as an Alternative Weighting Material in Water-Based Drilling Fluid
Barite (BaSO4) has been preferably applied by oil and gas industry worldwide to increase the density of drilling
fluids since 1922. However, the high quality of barite is running out due to the extreme growth of the hydrocarbon
exploration and development activities in order to satisfy the current escalating global energy demand. This paper describes
the evaluation of an iron-based material, ilmenite (FeTiO3), to be applied as a weighting material in water-based drilling
fluid. The objective of this research was to determine the effect of different sizes of Malaysian ilmenite ranging from 38-89
μm as a weighting material on rheological properties of the drilling fluid. The results of the use of barite and ilmenite as
weighting materials in the drilling fluid have been compared and concluded. Laboratory experiments were carried out to
determine the rheological properties including mud density, plastic viscosity, yield point, gel strength, coefficient of friction,
filtration loss and mud cake thickness. Lower solid content and lower fluid loss resulted by the use of ilmenite can improve
the rate of penetration and reduction of formation damage. The findings also showed that ilmenite as a weighting material
resulted in lower plastic viscosity. Low plastic viscosity can reduce the differential pressure and this can avoid the
differential pipe sticking. Moreover, both minimum particle size of Ilmenite-K and -P samples showed comparable results of
CoF with API standard barite. Ilmenite-P of size 38-44 μmgave a comparable performance with API standard barite.
Ilmenite-P has a huge potential to be used as an alternative weighting material in water-based drilling fluid.
Keywords – Ilmenite, weighting agent, rheological properties, water-based mud