1. n. [Drilling Fluids]
A water mud containing varying amounts of dissolved sodium chloride, NaCl, as a major component. Undissolved salt may also be present in saturated salt muds to increase density beyond 10 lbm/gal or to act as a bridging agent over permeable zones. Starch and starch derivatives for fluid-loss control and xanthan gums for hole-cleaning are among the few highly effective additives for saltwater muds. Attapulgite and sepiolite are used in saltwater muds only for cuttings lifting. The primary use of saltwater mud is to drill salt strata that are prone to dissolution when exposed to other types of drilling fluid. A saturated salt mud is used to drill salt to prevent hole enlargement. In hot, plastic, salt zones, the hole may close inward unless extremely high mud weight is maintained. As an alternative to high mud weight, maintaining undersaturation in the fluid allows controlled leaching to offset hole closure by plastic flow. Sized salt particles in saturated saltwater muds are used, along with polymers, to bridge over permeable production zones. The salt can be removed later with a water flush. Salt solids can increase density beyond 10 lbm/gal, up to about 13 lbm/gal, if needed.
Synonyms: HE starch