Gilsonite or Asphaltum is a naturally occurring asphalt resinous hydrocarbon. This natural asphaltite is a hard Hydrocarbon and is often called a natural asphalt, asphaltite, uintaite, or asphaltum.
Gilsonite is used in drilling mud fluids and oil well cementing. Gilsonite, in a range of softening points and particle sizes, is a standard ingredient in oil-based drilling muds used in shales and other intricate geological formations. It is mined and ground to the desired particle size.
Weak or fractured drilling wellbores can result in lost circulation. Adding Gilsonite to water-based drilling fluids helps minimize washout by bonding cracks and sealing off highly permeable sands.
Adding Gilsonite to oil well cement reduces slurry weight without loss of compressive strength. It acts as a significant bridging and plugging agent to seal fractures in weak formations while cementing.
Gilsonite’s grind size and softening point are ideal for reducing whole mud losses to the formation when mixed with organophilic clays.
Gilsonite reduces the number of stuck pipe and stuck tools by thoroughly sealing permeable formations, even in locations where there is an imbalanced pressure differential. It also improves filter cake lubricity.
Gilsonite is used in oil drilling to:
- Control fluid loss and seepage
- Stabilize shales
- Prevent lost circulation
- Strengthen the wellbore to increase stability
- Minimize differential sticking
- Promote significant filter cake development
- Perform in oil- and water-based drilling muds
- Work in HP/HT environments
- Minimize HSE risks
Preparation & Procedures
Gilsonite should not be stored or used near products such as chlorates, nitrates, or peroxides. Adequate ventilation is required during storage as excessive dust is subject to combustion or explosion upon contact with sparks or open flames.
Those individuals who work with or are involved with Gilsonite should wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment Use good industrial hygiene practice, including dust masks and eye protection.
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