Orville Welch, Li-Jein Lee M-1 Drilling Fluids Co. Houston A recently developed cationic polymer mud, compatible with conventional polymer additives and designed to meet environmental regulations, significantly minimized the gumbo problems common to the water-sensitive shales in the North Sea. The cationic polymer mud was used to drill highly reactive Tertiary shale formations which have caused severe gumbo problems on nearby wells drilled with other inhibitive water-based muds. Although many cationic polymers are toxic, aquatic toxicity tests performed by the Norwegian Statens Forurensningstilsyn (SFT) at the end of the t...

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