Project TitleMagnetic Gradient Drilling System
Track CodeLSU-2016-030
Short Description

Oil and gas well drilling requires a careful balance of drilling mud weight to avoid rock formation fracture and uncontrolled entrance of formation fluid into the wellbore. Maintaining this balance is especially difficult in formations that have only a very narrow window between fracture pressure and pore pressure.

This magnetic gradient drilling fluid system allows for drilling in these areas by allowing selective manipulation of the wellbore annulus pressure profile, through use of a magnetorheological drilling fluid (MRDF) and magnetic assembly tools (MATs). As the MAT generates a magnetic field, the surrounding MRDF changes, instantaneously and reversibly, from a viscous fluid to a semi-solid.

Each MAT creates an additional pressure drop between the wellhead and bottom hole, increasing the equivalent mud density (EMD) of the drilling fluid below. Drilling mud pressure can be manipulated along the wellbore annulus such that higher pressure is exerted in select areas to prevent entry of fluid into the wellbore, while lower pressure is exerted in vulnerable areas that would otherwise fracture under high fluid weight. The need to set expensive strings of protective casing of these vulnerable areas is greatly reduced.

Posted DateJun 26, 2017 11:18 AM


  • Cost savings from reduced number of protective casing strings due to lower pressure exertion in vulnerable areas
  • Minimized loss of drilling fluid into cracks in the rock formation as vulnerable areas are protected from high pressures and subsequent fracturing
  • Minimized differential sticking, in which pressure differences cause the drill pipe to become stuck in an unnatural position
  • Time savings from improved efficiency
  • Iron particles in MRDF can take place of traditional weighting agents
  • Insensitivity to contaminants


  • Down hole drilling where the window between pore pressure and fracture pressure is narrow

Licensing Contact


File Name Description
LSU-2016-030 Tech Summary Magnetic Gradient Drilling System Download

Intellectual Property

Patent Number Issue Date Type Country of Filing
PCT/US17/25435 None Other Patent Not Applicable (PCT App)