Effect of Drilling Fluids on Permeability of Uranium Sandstone
Description:The Bureau of Mines conducted laboratory and field experiments to determine tne amount of permeability reduction in uranium sandstone after its exposure to different drilling fluids. Seven polymer and two bentonite fluids were laboratory-tested in their clean condition, and six polymer fluids were tested with simulated drill cuttings added. Sandstone cores cut from samples collected at an open pit uranium mine were the test medium. The clean fluid that resulted in the least permeability reduction was an hydroxyethyl cellulose polymer fluid. The greatest permeability reduction of the clean polymers came from a shale-inhibiting synthetic polymer. Six polymer fluids were tested with simu-lated drill cuttings added to represent field use. The least permeability reduction was obtained from a multipolymer blend fluid. A field experiment was performed to compare how two polymer fluids affect formation permeability when used for drilling in situ uranium leaching wells. For this test, the polymer fluid with the best laboratory results (multipolymer blend) was compared with a commonly used polymer fluid (guar gum) that gave poorer laboratory results. When fluid injection rates for the four wells drilled with the guar gum were compared with those for the four drilled with the multipolymer blend, no statistically significant difference was found.
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