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Drilling mud

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Drilling mud ,

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drilling mud

drilling mud

drilling mud, also called drilling fluid, in petroleum engineering, a heavy, viscous fluid mixture that is used in oil and gas drilling operations to carry rock cuttings to the surface and also to lubricate and cool the drill bit. The drilling mud, by hydrostatic pressure, also helps prevent the collapse of unstable strata into the borehole and the intrusion of water from water-bearing strata that may be encountered.

Drilling muds are traditionally based on water, either fresh water, seawater, naturally occurring brines, or prepared brines. Many muds are oil-based, using direct products of petroleum refining such as diesel oil or mineral oil as the fluid matrix. In addition, various so-called synthetic-based muds are prepared using highly refined fluid compounds that are made to more-exacting property specifications than traditional petroleum-based oils. In general, water-based muds are satisfactory for the less-demanding drilling of conventional vertical wells at medium depths, whereas oil-based muds are better for greater depths or in directional or horizontal drilling, which place greater stress on the drilling apparatus. Synthetic-based muds were developed in response to environmental concerns over oil-based fluids, though all drilling muds are highly regulated in their composition, and in some cases specific combinations are banned from use in certain environments.

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