Hydroxyethyl cellulose as a rheology modifier for water-based drilling fluids formulated with Algerian bentonite

  • Hocine OuaerEmail author
  • Mourad Gareche
Technical Paper


Under the different geological conditions of wells and during the drilling operation, some of the water-based drilling fluid compositions are sometimes not efficient for the drilling success of the oil and gas wells (case of the Algerian oil and gas wells). In the use of bentonite in drilling fluid applications, the addition of hydroxyethyl cellulose (HEC) is recommended to obtain good rheological properties of the fluid. In this research, we investigate the rheological behaviour in steady state, and dynamic shear rheology of drilling fluids formulated based on an Algerian bentonite with a fixed concentration of 3 wt% and a water-soluble polymer HEC of high molecular weight (~ 9.5 × 105 g/mol) at different concentrations ranged from 0.02 to 0.2%. All the results obtained by a controlled stress rheometer have been commented by taking the interaction between the clay and the polymer molecules into consideration, to highlight the effect of HEC on the rheological properties of bentonite suspensions. Herschel–Bulkley (H–B) model was used to fit and interpret the experimental data. A significant increase in the rheological properties of the mixture bentonite–HEC with the increase in HEC concentration has been shown. These properties reached the maximum at HEC concentration of 0.1 wt%; beyond this value, they decreased. X-ray diffraction test performed on the different samples also allowed understanding the rheological behaviour of the system bentonite–HEC. Indeed, the HEC could intercalate the bentonite interlayer and formed link bridges between bentonite particles below a critical concentration of 0.1 wt%. Based on the results of the study, it is recommended to choose the optimum concentration of HEC to be added to the bentonite suspension to ensure the optimum rheological characteristics of the drilling fluids.


Water-based mud HEC Algerian bentonite Rheological properties X-ray diffraction 

List of symbols

Roman symbols


Storage modulus (Pa)


Loss modulus (Pa)

\( G_{0} \)

Elastic modulus (Pa)


Consistency index (Pa sn)


Flow index


Pulsation (rad/s)

Greek symbols


Time constant (s)

\( \dot{\gamma } \)

Shear rate (s−1)


X-ray wavelength (Å)


Scattering angle

\( \eta \)

Viscosity of the polymer solution (Pa s)

\( \eta_{0 } \)

Zero shear rate viscosity (Pa s)

\( \eta_{\infty } \)

Infinite shear rate viscosity (Pa s)


Shear stress (Pa)


Yield stress (Pa)



We are grateful to Mr. Khalid DRIS for his aid to obtain the (HEC) sample and to Ms. Nadjet AZRIL for her advices and support during this research.


  1. 1.
    Ahmed H, Glass JE, McCarthy GJ (1981) Adsorption of water-soluble polymers on high surface area clays. SPE paper 10101, presented at the 56th annual fall technical conference and exhibition of the society of petroleum engineers of AIME, held in San Antonio, Texas, October 5–7Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Alekseeva OV, Rodionova AN, Bagrovskaya NA, Agafonov AV, Noskov AV (2017) Hydroxyethyl cellulose/bentonite/magnetite hybrid materials: structure, physicochemical properties, and antifungal activity. Cellulose 24:1825–1836CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ali L, Barrufet MA (2001) Using centrifuge data to investigate the effects of polymer treatment on relative permeability. J Pet Sci Eng 29(1):1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Anyanwu C, Mustapha Unubi M (2016) Experimental evaluation of particle sizing in drilling fluid to minimize filtrate losses and formation damage. SPE-184303-MS, presented at SPE Nigiria international conference and exhibition held in LagosGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Arisz PWF, Lusvardi KM (2006) Water-soluble, low substitution hydroxyethyl cellulose, derivatives thereof, process of making, and uses thereof. US patent 0199742 A1Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Baba Hamed S, Belhadri M (2009) Rheological properties of biopolymers drilling fluids. J Pet Sci Eng 67:84–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bailey L, Keall M, Audibert A, Lecourtier J (1994) Effect of clay/polymer interactions on shale stabilization during drilling. Langmuir 10:1544–1549CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Chatterji J, Borchardt JK (1981) Applications of water-soluble polymers in the oil field. JPT 33:2042–2056CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Coussot P, Nguyen QD, Huynh HT, Bonn D (2002) Viscosity bifurcation in thixotropic, yielding fluids. J Rheol 46:573–589CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Cross MM (1965) Rheology of non-Newtonian fluids: a new flow equation for pseudoplastic systems. J Colloid Sci 20:417–437CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Elward-Berry J, Darby JB (1997) Rheologically stable, nontoxic, high temperature, water based drilling fluid. SPE Drill Complet 12:158–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Fan J, Zhu H, Li R, Chen N (2015) Montmorillonite modified by cationic and nonionic surfactants as high-performance fluid-loss-control additive in oil-based drilling fluids. J Dispers Sci Technol 36:569–576CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Greenland DJ (1963) Adsorption of polyvinyl alcohols by montmorillonite. J Colloid Sci 18:647–664CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Guenet JM (1992) Thermoreversible gelation of polymers and biopolymers. Academic Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Güngör N, Ece OI (1999) Effect of the adsorption of non-ionic polymer polyvinyl/pyrolidone on the rheological properties of Na-activated bentonite. Mater Lett 39:1–5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Gûven N (1992) Molecular aspects of clay-water interactions. CMS workshop lectures, clay water interface and its rheological implication, vol 4, pp 2–79Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Hao S-q (2011) A study to optimize drilling fluids to improve borehole stability in natural gas hydrate frozen ground. J Pet Sci Eng 76:109–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hori Y, Nishimura Y, Takahashi F (1985) Fluid composition for drilling. US patent 4519923Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Isci S, Günister E, Ece ÖI, Güngör N (2004) The modification of rheologic properties of clays with PVA effect. Mater Lett 58(1975–1):978Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Jones TGJ, Hughes TL (1996) Drilling fluid suspensions. In: Suspensions: fundamentals and applications in the petroleum industry. Advances in chemistry series, vol 251, American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, pp 10–463Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Jung Y, Son YH, Lee JK, Phuoc TX, Soong Y, Chyu MK (2011) Rheological behavior of clay–nanoparticle hybrid-added bentonite suspensions: specific role of hybrid additives on the gelation of clay-based fluids. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 3:3515–3522CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Karagüzel C, Cetinel T, Boylu F, Cinku K, Celik MS (2010) Activation of (Na, Ca)-bentonites with soda and MgO and their utilization as drilling mud. Appl Clay Sci 48(3):398–404CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Kelessidis VC, Poulakakis E, Chatzistamou V (2011) Use of Carbopol 980 and carboxymethyl cellulose polymers as rheology modifiers of sodium-bentonite water dispersions. Appl Clay Sci 54:63–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Khalil M, Mohamed Jan B (2012) Viscoplastic modeling of a novel lightweight biopolymer drilling fluid for underbalanced drilling. Ind Eng Chem Res 51:4056–4068CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Kok MV (2004) Rheological and thermal analysis of bentonites for water base drilling fluids. Energy Source A Recovery Utili Environ Eff 26(2):145–151Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Kok MV (2009) Statistical approach of two-three parameters rheological models for polymer type drilling fluid analysis. Energy Source A Recovery Utili Environ Eff 32(4):336–345CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Kok MV (2011) A rheological characterization and parametric analysis of a bentonite sample. Energy Source A Recovery Utili Environ Eff 33(4):344–348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Kok MV (2013) Thermal analysis and rheological study of ocma type bentonite used in drilling fluids. Energy Source A Recovery Utili Environ Eff 35(2):122–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Kosynkin DV, Ceriotti G, Wilson KC, Lomeda JR, Scorsone JT, Patel AD, Friedheim JE, Tour JM (2011) Graphene oxide as a high-performance fluid-loss-control additive in water-based drilling fluids. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 4:222–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Kumar AS, Mahto V, Sharma VP (2003) Behavior of organic polymers on the rheological properties of Indian bentonite–water based drilling fluid system and its effect on formation damage. Indian J Chem Technol 10:525–530Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Lebedenko F, Plée D (1988) Some considerations on the ageing of Na2CO3-activated bentonites. Appl Clay Sci 3(1):1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Lee PM, David KJ et al (1989) Defoamer composition for use in water based drilling fluids. European patent application, 0339762 A2Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Li M, Wu Q, Song K, Qing Y, Wu Y (2015) Cellulose nanoparticles as modifiers for rheology and fluid loss in bentonite water-based fluids. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 7:5006–5016CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Luckham PF, Rossi S (1999) The colloidal and rheological properties of bentonite suspensions. Adv Colloid Interface Sci 82:43–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Lyon W (2009) Working guide to drilling equipment and operations. Gulf Professional Publishing, HoustonGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Mahto V, Sharma VP (2004) Rheological study of a water based oil well drilling fluid. J Petrol Sci Eng 45:123–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Malone TR, and Raines RH (1979) Colorimetric field test for determining hydroxyethyl cellulose (HEC) and other polysaccharides in drilling fluids. Paper SPE 8741 presented at the eastern regional meeting of the Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME, Charleston, West Virginia, October 31, November 2Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    M’bodj O, Kbir Ariguib N, Trabelsi Ayadi M, Magnin A (2004) Plastic and elastic properties of the systems interstratified clay–water–electrolyte–xanthan. J Colloid Inter Sci 273:675–684CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Mewis J, Willaim JF, Trevor AS, Russel WB (1989) Rheology of suspensions containing polymerically stabilized particles. J Chem Eng Res Dev 19:415Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Mirarab Razi M, Ghiass M, Mirarab Razi F (2013) Effect of guar gum polymer and lime powder addition on the fluid loss and rheological properties of the bentonite dispersions. J Dispers Sci Technol 34(5):731–736CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Mortland MM (1970) Clay–organic complexes and interactions. Adv Agron 22:75–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Mostafa BA, Assaad FF (2008) Influence of nonionic polymers on the rheological and electrical properties of Egyptian bentonites. J Appl Polym Sci 107:732–774CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Okon AN, Udoh FD, Bassey PG (2014) Evaluation of rice husk as fluid loss control additive in water-based drilling mud. SPE paper no. 172379, Nigeria annual international conference and exhibition, Lagos, Nigeria, London, August 5–7Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Ouaer H, Gareche M (2018) The rheological behaviour of a water-soluble polymer (HEC) used in drilling fluids. J Braz Soc Mech Sci Eng 40:380. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Park A, Scott Jr PP, Lummus JL (1960) Maintaining low solids drilling fluids. Oil Gas J 81– 84Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Raines RH (1986) Use of low M.S. (molar substitution) hydroxyethyl cellulose for fluid loss control in oil well applications. US patent, 4629573Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Russel WB (1980) Review of the role of colloidal forces in the rheology of suspensions. J Rheol 24:287–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Song K, Wu Q, Li M, Ren S, Dong L, Zhang X, Lei T, Kojima Y (2016) Water-based bentonite drilling fluids modified by novel biopolymer for minimizing fluid loss and formation damage. Colloids Surf A 507:58–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Temraz MG, Hassanien I (2016) Mineralogy and rheological properties of some Egyptian bentonite for drilling fluids. J Nat Gas Sci Eng 31:791–799CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Tsenoglou C (1990) Scaling concepts in suspension rheology. J Rheol 34:15–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Tunç S, Duman O (2008) The effect of different molecular weight of poly(ethylene glycol) on the electrokinetic and rheological properties of Na-bentonite suspensions. Colloids Surf A Physicochem Eng. Asp 317:93–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Tung CYM, Dynes PJ (1982) Relationship between viscoelastic systems. J Appl Polm Sci 27:569–574CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Veillon D (2001) La liaison couche-trou. Editions technip. Ecole du pétrole et des moteurs, IFP school. 27, rue Ginoux 75737 Paris cedex 15, FranceGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Wan T, Yao J, Zishun S, Li W, Juan W (2011) Solution and drilling fluid properties of water soluble AM–AA–SSS copolymers by inverse microemulsion. J Pet Sci Eng 78:334–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    William JKM, Ponmani S, Samuel R, Nagarajan R, Sangwai JS (2014) Effect of CuO and ZnO nano fluids in xanthan gum on thermal, electrical and high pressure rheology of water-based drilling fluids. J Pet Sci Eng 117:15–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Yan L, Wang C, Xu B, Sun J, Yue W, Yang Z (2013) Preparation of a novel amphiphilic comb-like terpolymer as viscosifying additive in low-solid drilling fluid. Mater Lett 105:232–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Yan YK, Liang LP, Feng WQ (2007) Rheological study on natural heteropolysaccharide based drilling fluid. J Cent South Univ Technol 0188–04:188–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Brazilian Society of Mechanical Sciences and Engineering 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Hydrocarbons Physical Engineering, Faculty of Hydrocarbons and ChemistryUniversity of M’Hamed Bougara BoumerdesBoumerdesAlgeria

Personalised recommendations