Fuel, Vol.236, 382-393, 2019
Quantitative evaluation of the impacts of drilling mud on the damage degree to the permeability of fractures at different scales in coal reservoirs
The current study aimed to investigate the degree of pollution from drilling mud on different scales of fractures in coal reservoirs. Drilling mud for field utilization was prepared in the laboratory and different scales of fractures were generated in coal and rock samples before and after being polluted by the drilling fluid and observed using scanning electron (SEM) and an optical microscope. Using Monte Carlo modelling, the networks of the millimeter (mm), micron-and nano-meter sized fractures, before and after pollution were separately determined. After programming, seepage models of mm, micron-and nano-meter sized fractures were separately constructed using Matlab software. The degrees of pollution of the drilling fluid on the different scales of fractures were calculated according to the seepage principle and compared with the measured permeability of the polluted boreholes. The micron-and nano-sized fractures were more sensitive to drilling fluids compared to the mm-sized and larger fractures. When the original permeability of the coal reservoir was low, different scales of fractures were all greatly polluted by drilling fluids, macroscopically showing high damage to permeability of the coal reservoir. However, when the original permeability of coal reservoir was large, the pollution degrees of micron, and nano-sized fractures failed to be macroscopically observed, having insignificant influences on the permeability of the coal reservoir. The results showed that the combination of the Monte Carlo method and the Matlab numerical simulations can more distinctly reflect the pollution degrees of the drilling fluids on different scales of fracture compared to traditional methods that have been used to test the permeability of coal reservoirs before and after pollution.