Cellulose Nanocrystals Added to Drilling Fluids

Being Canada’s largest producer of oil and natural gas, the province of Alberta will soon benefit from the contribution of a tree-based nanoparticle: cellulose nanocrystals (CNC).

In fact, since 2011, the ArboraNano network, in partnership with Marquis Alliance Energy Group Inc. and Alberta Innovates, has carried out research on the potential role of CNC as an additive to drilling fluids and muds.

It can play a number of roles in the drilling of a well, notably keeping liquids and gases from seeping into the boreholes. The drilling mud also allows drilling debris to rise to the surface and helps to cool the bit and keep it clean during drilling. Under the direction of Professor Yaman Boluk from University of Alberta, this project has shown that the use of CNC as an additive to drilling fluids makes it possible to minimize the loss of mud in boreholes, as well as to limit damage to geological formations, and to ensure that other additives such as clays and polymers perform better in lower dosages.