Air Drilling is the use of high volumes of low-pressure air as a substitute to drilling mud.
How is it important to us?
Air drilling is mainly used to reduce hydrostatic pressures in wellbore. Other benefits can be listed as follows:
- Lower cost and faster drilling: up to five times faster than drilling with conventional fluids
- Real time detection of hydrocarbons
- Increased penetration rate in hard hydrocarbon formations,
- Minimized deviation tendency in faulted formations
- Extended bit life
- Minimal formation damage due to the lack of hydrostatic pressure
- Better control of fluids during the drilling, etc.
Air drilling does not only have some advantages. It also presents some disadvantages such as the risk of down hole fires and explosions (with the use of nitrogen, mist, etc.), the sloughing of formation and its incapacity to handle fluids therefore limiting its applications to regions with mature, stable and relatively, dry formations.