Oil Drilling

pH Control for Oil Drilling

In the oil drilling process, “drilling mud” is used to lubricate, cool, and keep hoses clear of bore cuttings. Sodium bicarbonate is used to help maintain the pH of the mud, and to scavenge caustic calcium oxide, converting it to a harmless carbonate.

In more technical terms, most drilling muds comprise a suspension of barites and bentonite or attapulgite clay in either a water or petroleum oil base. An effective drilling mud must have a specific gravity of at least 2.0, and should be thixotropic, with appreciable gel strength. When ARM & HAMMER™ brand industrial grade sodium bicarbonate is introduced as a component of drilling mud, it reacts with the hydroxide ions released while drilling out case cement. The sodium salts remaining from the reaction help maintain the mud’s viscosity and gel strength.