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Differential Scanning Calorimetry: A New Technique to Characterize Hydrate Formation in Drilling Muds

Abstract : With the increasing number of deep offshore drilling operations, operators and service companies are confronted to more and more complex technical challenges. Extreme conditions encountered at these depths require an adaptation of the drilling muds. In particular, range of temperature and pressure (up to –1 °C and 400 Bars) are favorable conditions to the formation of gas hydrates. Hydrates are solid structures formed from water and gas: water contained in drilling muds will form under certain temperature and pressure conditions, a solid cage which entraps the gas molecules. Formation of these solid gas hydrates is liable to plug kill and choke lines as well as the annular, and may cause interruption of the drilling operation and even destruction of rig equipment. Deep offshore drilling operators are aware of this problem and some operational solutions and drilling mud formulations are proposed and utilized, but when extreme water depths are attained, classical inhibitors solutions alone may be ineffective. The usual way to determine the thermodynamic conditions of the formation of hydrates in drilling mud formulations is to use PVT cell. This technique required heavy instrumentation and often does not permit to work with a whole formulation (specially in the presence of solids). Moreover, PVT cells do not give a quantitative evaluation of the kinetic properties of hydrate formation. In this work, we present experiments using Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) to determine the thermodynamic equilibrium properties and kinetic of hydrate formation in whole mud formulation. With this technique, we measure heat transfer as a function of time, temperature and pressure and thus detect phase transition. The possibility of characterizing hydrate formation with this technique is shown for the first time on a synthetic mud formulation. Validation with PVT cell measurement and investigation of the influence of several additives (salts, solids) are performed. Hydrate formation on a whole mud formulation is underlined. This technique is easy to use and when correctly interpreted permits to determine the dangerous zones for hydrate formation.
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Contributor : Didier Dalmazzone <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, October 20, 2015 - 2:32:38 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, July 3, 2019 - 10:48:04 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-01218017, version 1



Didier Dalmazzone, Christine Dalmazzone, Benjamin Herzhaft. Differential Scanning Calorimetry: A New Technique to Characterize Hydrate Formation in Drilling Muds. 2000 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Society of Petroleum Engineers, Oct 2000, Dallas, Texas, United States. ⟨hal-01218017⟩



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