Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title







Centre for Sustainable Energy and Resources




National Natural Science Foundation of China / Sichuan Province Youth Science and technology innovation team project / Sichuan Province Science and Technology Project


Xu, C., Liu, L., Yang, Y., Kang, Y., & You, Z. (2024). An innovative fracture plugging evaluation method for drill-in fluid loss control and formation damage prevention in deep fractured tight reservoirs. Fuel, 358(Part A), article 130123.


Lost circulation, resulting from the undesired loss of drilling fluid into formation fractures, stands as a significant technical obstacle in the exploration and production of oil, gas, and geothermal reservoirs. Effective mitigation of this challenge requires the development and application of robust experimental evaluation methods to assess the effectiveness of fracture plugging. The traditional approach to fracture plugging evaluation relies on a uniform evaluation index and experimental parameters for various lost circulation types. Unfortunately, this practice frequently results in inconsistent performance of loss control formulas during laboratory experiments and field tests. To address this issue, this paper introduces an innovative evaluation method that accounts for the specific characteristics of the three major lost circulation types. By adopting this approach, a more scientifically rigorous design and optimization of loss control formulas can be achieved, ensuring their effectiveness in managing lost circulation challenges. The development of the new method involves a systematic five-step establishment process: lost circulation type determination, evaluation index weight calculation, fitness degree analysis between laboratory experiment and field test, experimental parameters optimization, and quantitative scoring of loss control formula. Analytic hierarchy process is adopted to calculate the evaluation index weight. Quantitative scoring model is proposed to finally determine the integrated formula score for the quantitative evaluation and scientific optimization of loss control formula. To bridge the gap between laboratory and field applications, laboratory evaluation tests are developed to address different types of lost circulation scenarios. The experimental results demonstrate significant improvements achieved through the optimized formula. Specifically, the maximum plugging pressure increased from 5 MPa to 20.8 MPa, while the initial and cumulative loss volumes witnessed reductions of 30.3 ml and 121.2 ml, respectively. Moreover, the evaluation method proposed in this paper exhibits a fitting degree of over 90 % when compared to the actual control effect on drilling fluid loss. These findings substantiate the successful establishment of a connection between laboratory evaluations and field performance, providing valuable insights for future applications. Finally, a novel evaluation method for assessing the fracture plugging effect is established, accounting for various lost circulation types in deep fractured tight reservoirs. The reliability of this proposed evaluation method is validated by field test. Building upon this method, a high-score formula is designed and effectively deployed in a deep fractured tight reservoir in Tarim Basin, China. The successful application highlights the practical value and robustness of the developed evaluation method, offering promising prospects for future operations in similar reservoir settings.



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.