Rapid bentonite-cement-oil hydration: Implications to fluid loss control

Ahmed Hafez, Qi Liu, Thomas Finkbeiner, Timothy E. Moellendick, J. Carlos Santamarina*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Conventional particulate additives fail to control drilling fluid losses into large-aperture fractures. The separate injections of a bentonite-cement-oil suspension and water can cause rapid hydration, swelling and hardening to effectively plug fractures. This experimental study investigates underlying processes and implications in view of optimal fluid flow control in fractures. Results identify several concurrent hydro-chemo-mechanical coupled processes: capillarity-driven water invasion; cement hydration and the release of Ca2+ and OH ions; bentonite contractive aggregation and increased hydrophilicity; enlarged inter-aggregate pores that facilitate fluid flow; oil pressurization leading to the formation of oil-filled opening mode discontinuities that facilitate oil escape towards free draining boundaries, and calcium silicate hydrate formation and growth resulting in hardening. The hydration of bentonite-cement-oil suspensions proceeds several times faster than in bentonite-oil suspensions. The optimal mixture should balance competing requirements between flowability, water invasion speed, swelling pressure and plug strength.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110615
JournalJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Bentonite
  • Cement
  • Drilling fluids
  • Lost circulation
  • Swelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fuel Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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