Alot of people are intimidated by drilling fluids. I get it. … There are so many products available on the market that it can be confusing. So where can you get help choosing the proper fluids to maximize your results? Best case scenario, you can get a rep to visit you in the field. Many of you in the drilling industry have met this strange group of individuals that work for mud companies. We travel a lot, teach mud schools and assist on projects making recommendations for drilling fluid mixes. There is a lot of knowledge out there, and as long as there is drilling, there is a place for us. There are two issues here though — there is not a surplus of “mud men” and there are a lot of contractors spread out over many disciplines of drilling. One thing most people do not realize is that if you have a smartphone, and most people do, there is an encyclopedia of knowledge in your pocket. This is a complete source of information on drilling fluids that can be accessed at any time.

If you have not seen it yet, I would like to introduce the CETCO Drilling Resources app. As always — full disclosure here — there are similar apps available from other manufacturers such as Baroid and MI Swaco. Therefore, if you happen to be using their products, there is something for you too. For those of you that are not aware that these apps exist, I am about to introduce you to your new best friend.

Here is what the apps can do for you in the field:

  1. Provide technical data sheets on all products with detailed information on how to use the products and recommended dosage rates based on soil type.
  2. Easy to access MSDS on all products. Simply search the MSDS you require and email it to anyone that has requested it.
  3. Application Guides including grouts and sealants application matrix and cross reference sheets.
  4. Pocket Toolbox listing all the equations and calculations you will require in the field.
  5. Calculators to determine:

a. Drilling fluids required based on soil type.

b. Products used to grout and seal wells.

c. Products used to abandon wells.

d. Products used in geothermal grouting.

The calculators were developed with the contractor in mind. They are extremely easy to use. All you need to do is add data and voilà … you have the manufacturers’ product selections and dosages for the criteria you defined!

Calculators can be used to price a project or provide suggestions while on the project site. The calculators are beneficial for every step of the drilling process. The contractor simply fills in the diameter of the bore, the depth of the bore and the soil type. Then some additional information is filled in including if a recycler is being used on the project, if all products are required to be NSF certified, and if the contractor prefers liquid or dry additives. Our calculator then provides a complete summary including which drilling fluids are recommended, as well as the amount of each product required to complete the project. The contractor is also provided the proper sequence to mix the soda ash, bentonite and additives. Our Grouting and Sealing My Well calculator can then be used to accurately determine the quantity of grout or sealants to properly seal the annular space. Our Vertical Well Drilling Calculator will provide drilling fluid suggestions, in addition to the grouting and sealing materials needed for a particular project.

For the geothermal drillers out there, the geothermal calculator is extremely useful for estimating and calculating the amount of grout, sand and water required to meet a specified thermal conductivity specification. All the details are entered into the calculator including the desired thermal conductivity, the diameter, depth and number of boreholes. The contractor then is provided a report of the suggested geothermal grout to use, the amount of sand and the amount of water required to complete the project. This professional report can be printed out to include in a bid document or summary to a client.

Now go and download your favorite drilling fluid app and see how powerful a tool it really is.

Michael Kleespies is Territory Sales Manager for CETCO Drilling Products. For more Drilling Fluids columns, visit