Foam Drilling

Foams can be classified as "Foam", "Stiff Foam" and "Stable Foam" for discussion purposes. They are in many ways similar type drilling fluids.

Foam is differentiated from "mist" by the fact that foams may contain a blend of water, polymers, clays, surfactants and corrosion inhibitors. Transition from mist to foam may be necessary when difficulties are encountered while using dry gas or mist. Some of these problems are hole erosion, inadequate hole cleaning, loss of returns and water flows. Foam structure provides rheology for lifting cuttings. Foam quality is defined as the ratio of gas volume to total foam volume. This is the major factor which affects flow behavior. Apparent viscosity of the foam increases rapidly as the foam quality increases. Foam quality and foam stability will vary depending on the foaming agent used. The composition of the injection water and the type of fluids entering the wellbore also affect foam properties. Some foaming agents are not effective in salty or hard water. Foams are often damaged by presence of oil. Selection of the right foaming agent can determine the success or failure of a foam drilling operation.

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