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As the search for oil and gas moves farther offshore, there is an increasing need for materials that can survive hostile deepwater environments. 3M additive and ingredient technologies are engineered to withstand harsh chemicals, extreme temperatures and crushing pressures – enhancing production efficiency, performance and reliability even under the most challenging conditions.

Ingredient Technologies for Oil and Gas Production Efficiency

Field Applications for 3M™ Glass Bubbles

Field Applications for 3M™ Glass Bubbles

3M™ glass bubbles are engineered hollow glass spheres that can be used as a density reducing additive in down-hole applications such as drilling, completion and/or maintenance of a well to reduce and control bottom-hole pressure, enabling at balance, near balance or under balance conditions. A reduced-density control fluid made with 3M™ glass bubbles is ideal for use in depleted reservoirs, as well as geologically-fractured, poorly-consolidated and/or highly permeable formations, where the reduction of differential pressure can result in reduction or elimination of fluid loss/lost circulation, formation damage and differential sticking.

To achieve at balance, near balance or under balance conditions, a control fluid’s weight (or density) needs to be carefully adjusted. 3M™ glass bubbles may be used to reduce weight; significantly or just slightly. As an engineered material, not only do they have the highest strength-to-weight ratio they also have a density that is precise and consistent, making them ideal for fine tuning a control fluid’s weight. 3M™ Glass Bubbles successfully and predictably reduce the density of any control fluid, including drilling, completion and work over fluids, as well as spacers and cement slurries, offering the potential to reduce costs and improve performance.

A reduced-density control fluid made with 3M™ glass bubbles is an effective and economical alternative solution to aerated drilling fluids. It is homogeneous, incompressible, and stable. In spite of the benefits gained by overcoming overbalance conditions, several concerns exist with aerated fluids*; for instance aerated fluids are compressible, require complex hydraulic calculations, generate drill string vibration and signal attenuation while drilling, as well as increase the overall cost because of the need for specialized resources.

(*) Source: Maurer, W. et al (2001) Development and Testing of Underbalanced Drilling Products, DOE Contract No. DE-AC21-94MC31197

Read about field applications for 3M™ Glass Bubbles

Lightweight insulation with 3M™ Glass Bubbles for ultra-deep offshore pipelines

Lightweight insulation with 3M™ Glass Bubbles for ultra-deep offshore pipelines

With crushing pressures and the extreme cold of deepwater operations, offshore drilling may seem an unlikely application for hollow glass spheres. But high-strength, low-density 3M™ Glass Bubbles, used to enhance the performance of syntactic foams, are engineered to survive even the most demanding undersea conditions – while protecting valuable equipment and helping ensure reliable product flow.

Learn more about 3M glass bubbles for insulation and buoyancy


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