Whiteshot, Charles A. 1905. The Oil Well Driller. Copyright C.A. Whiteshot, Mannington West Virginia.
The work is 895 pages and weighs 7.1 pounds.
This book is subtitled, A History of the World's Greatest Enterprise, the Oil Industry. Other statements by Whiteshot in the preface pages of the book are:
The universally recognized standard authority of the World's history of petroleum crude and refined oil, natural gas, carbon black and its by-products
Throughout oildom with pen and camera for truth and justice, I am, dear reader, yours very truly
CHARLES AUSTIN WHITESHOT
The fluid descriptions for cable toll drilling are primarily taken from this book, Hydraulic rotary drilling, Spindeltop, was given just a few short paragraphs.
Brantly, John Edward 1971. History of Oil Well Drilling. Gulf Publishing Company, Houston.
This book is 1525 pages and weighs 5.9 pounds.
Beginning in the early 1920s, Dr. Brantly worked in the oil industry as a geologist and a drilling engineering expert. According to James A. Clark, president of Energy Research and Education Foundation, "he is a man of culture, wisdom and genius."
Dr. Brantly wrote and published six editions of the Rotary Drilling Handbook, beginning in 1936 and ending in 1961.
More information on Dr. Brantly can be found in the People section of this website.
API 1961. History of Petroleum Engineering. American Petroleum Institute, Dallas TX.
This book is 1241 pages and weighs 6.0 pounds.
This history covers all aspects of upstream and downstream petroleum engineering. It was authorized by the Executive Committee on Drilling and Production Practice in 1951. D.V. Carter, Chairman of the Editorial Board, stated:
"This volume is offered without claim or pretense that it is all that should or could be said of the history of petroleum engineering. That which is presented here happens to be that portion which could be chronicled within reasonable time, with voluntary effort and with only a nominal financial subsidy applicable to research. ... it is hoped that this volume will serve for many years to come as a tribute to the character, determination and intellectual breadth and power of those who have embraced the profession of petroleum engineering."
Dr. Brantly authored the drilling section of the book.
This website is very much a work in progress. In fact, it will always be a work in progress. History is made everyday.
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The history of drilling fluids can conveniently be classified by the following
date ranges. These date ranges are suggested based on the authors perceived paradigm shifts leading to drilling and drilling fluids improvements.
Pre 1900 – Oilwell drilling from the mid 1800s to 1900 was predominately done by the dry hole cable tool percussion drilling. The "drillings" were removed by means of an open-ended bailer. About one barrel of water was added to the open hole to make a slurry, helping to suspend the drillings for easier bailing. Hydraulic rotary drilling was primarily used by water-well drillers. The terminology for " drilled solids" likely changed from the cable tool drillings to the rotary terminology cuttings in the late 1800s. Water well drillers did not usually work with mud, but used clear water to sweep the cuttings out of the wellbore. The cuttings were then discarded and clear water pumped back down the hole.
Paradigm - Imroving cable tool drilling.
1901 to 1929 - With the success of Spindletop, hydraulic rotary drilling became more popular, especially in Texas, Louisiana and California. There is evidence, however, that hydraulic rotary drilling with mud was applied successfully in Baku, Azerbaijan prior to Spindletop. The use of a mud laden fluid was deemed to be essential for rotary drilling. Until the mid to late 1920s the fluid used was just dirt and water. Improvements to the muds used then occurred by using barite for weight control and bentonite for hole cleaning and suspension. The only other additive used was water. In most areas of North America cable tool drilling was the method of choice. Documented use of a mud-laden fluid for cable tool operations was first reported in 1915.
Paradigm shift - Hydraulic rotary drilling and the first mud products.
1930 to 1941 - The first mud sales and service company was formed in 1930 as Baroid Sales Company. Building the first mud products involved R&D efforts by the operators and the service companies. They quickly developed products to solve various problems, such as viscosity control and "wall building" fluid loss control. The mud balance replaced mud buckets and hydrometers for weight control. Harlan Marsh of General Petroleum designed a funnel viscometer for viscosity measurements. Oil Base Inc. was established to market oil muds.
Paradigm shift - Mud service companies, product improvement and mud testing procedures.
1942 to 1946 - World War II severely slowed down R&D progress to just maintain oil and gas production for the war effort. Mud engineers were usually considered essential to the war effort and were exempt from serving in the military, Gasoline and rubber tire rationing were a problem for those field engineers. The world’s deepest well was drilled in 1944 to 15,279 ft by Phillips Petroleum in West Texas. A water based mud was supplied by Magnet Cove Barium Corporation (Magcobar).
Paradigm shift - Support the war effort.
1947 to 1960 - The number of mud products and mud companies expanded greatly after the war. R&D drilling fluid efforts was high priority of the operators, assisted by the mud companies, resulting in improved mud products and rig
operations. Prior to WWII Baroid Sales Company maintained about 85% market share of the mud business. Most of the
primary mud sales companies operated through distributors, such as lumberyards who had fleets of trucks. The suppliers of barite and bentonite, primarily Baroid and Milwhite through the 1930s and Magcobar and IMC Mud Company after the war were tending toward setting up their own distribution systems. Mud technology, testing, products and systems improved dramatically. A number of independent mud companies, some fairly large, were established during this period.
Paradigm shift - Proliferation of competing mud companies and increased R&D efforts for mud products and systems.
1961 to 1985 - Although the API and the AIME had published a number of papers on drilling fluid technology, it wasn't until 1961 that the API Committee 13 was established to set specifications and recommended practices for the industry. The primary mud systems at the time were chemically thinned water-based muds and diesel oil-based muds. The defining event of this time period was the dramatic depression the drilling industry. The US rig started the 1980s with about 4,500 rigs and fell to less than a 1000 in three years. This caused a number of mergers and acquisitions as well as bankruptcies in the industry. Another event that effected the mud industry was the Santa Barbara oil spill and the resulting rise in the EPAs oversight on the drilling industry.
Paradigm shift - API Committee 13 and environmental concerns.
1986 to 1990 - R&D efforts were much slower do to the downturn in the industry. However, because of the scrutiny of the US EPA, work was done on waste management and replacing diesel and mineral oil with synthetic base fluids. The industry slower began a recovery by 1990.
Paradigm shift - Industry downturn, joint industry projects and brine based drilling fluids.
1991 – 2000 - Drilling was still somewhat depressed throughout this decade. But, deepwater and horizontal drilling were being developed and the operators were interested in solving problems while drilling such lost circulation and wellbore stability. Joint industry projects were established to eliminate non-productive time (NPT) due to these issues. Solids control equipment and waste management improvements were developed. The use of chemically thinned, fresh water muds were declining in popularity. The use both organic and inorganic brines for use in drill-in fluids, as were as for regular drilling was being established.
Paradigm shift - Deep water and horizontal mud systems and waste management concerns.
2001 to today - Wellbore stability techniques and wellbore strengthening products and systems became well established. A move toward automation has resulted in the development of new testing protocols and equipment. The development of products and systems, both water-based and non-aqueous, are being developed to solve current and future extremes in pressure and temperature. More movement to establish solids-free drilling fluids is ongoing.
Paradigm shift - Solids free drilling fluids and automation.