Innovation of Purified Glycerol Palm Oil in Drilling Fluid System

Document Type: Original Article


Department of Petroleum Engineering, Institut Teknologi Bandung, West Java, Indonesia.


Glycerol is by-product of palm oil biodiesel industry which potential to be applicable in drilling
fluid system. With its characteristic; low price and low toxicity, glycerol application in drilling
fluid is very beneficial compared with other materials which still widely used in drilling
industries without considering toxicity and cumulative impact on terrestrial, coastal, and marine
habitats. Thus, the development of sustainable material which could produce a highly
biodegradable base fluid and act as an additive for drilling fluid was conducted.
This study focus on two types of glycerol utilization; as a new alternative base fluid for
Synthetic-Based Mud (SBM) and lubricant for Water-Based Mud (WBM). In purpose to
evaluate stability of glycerol as base fluid for SBM, an invert emulsion mud was developed and
the study of emulsion stability, rheological properties, and thermal conditioning effect was
conducted. On the other hand, study of lubrication properties, rheology, filtration loss, and its
compatibility with other additives was evaluated in WBM which contain glycerol as lubricant.
The experiment was carried out by comparing performance of glycerol with other oil-based mud,
such as saraline and biodiesel. The result showed a significant performance given by glycerol,
especially its capability to lubricate drilling fluid without affecting other properties of drilling
fluid. Thus, the glycerol characteristic and performance in drilling fluid system add up to be a
potential innovation in drilling fluid.