One of the most widely used materials in drilling mud is Barite. The main function of Barite in drilling mud is its weighting agent properties, which is widely used in water-based mud and oil-based muds.

Barite mines are mainly located in China, USA, India, Russia and Iran. The amount of extraction of this mineral is closely related to the process of oil & crude gas exploration. The consumption of Barite is mainly in drilling mud but a small portion of the produced barite is used in industries such as chemicals, paper, plastics, glass ceramics and pharmaceuticals.

Barium Sulfate is mineral which is used to produce Barite required in the drilling industry. Barium Sulfate ore may contain other by-products. Due to the presence of these minerals, the color of the ore may change from white and milky to yellow, gray or red.

Barite does not dissolve in water and therefore remains as suspended particles in the mud without changing its chemical properties. One of the important features of Barite is its high density, when added to drilling mud, it occupies a smaller volume of mud compared to other particles. As a result, it can increase the density and weight of drilling mud. Increasing the density of mud is suitable for immersing rock particles. Under these conditions, a larger volume of muds remains in liquid phase, as the result the flow of mud will be smoother.

Barite literally means heavy and has Greek roots. The specific gravity of this mineral is about 4.2 to 4.6. Barite hardness varies in the range of 2.5 to 3.5. This mineral is used with different density and hardness to meet requirements of various drilling formations. The amount of alkaline earth metals soluble in water should be less than 250 mg/kg. In addition, Barite used in offshore drilling rigs must meet environmental regulations in terms of the amount of mercury and cadmium content.

Barite usage in Drilling Mud