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New Lightweight Fluids for Underbalanced Drilling by William J. McDonald, Ph.D. ( John H. Cohen ( C. Mel Hightower ( MAURER ENGINEERING INC. 2916 West TC Jester Houston, Texas 77018-7098 713-683-8227 INTRODUCTION The production of oil and gas in the USA is declining rapidly because the economics of many onshore fields are marginal due to high drilling costs and low well productivity. New reserves are located primarily in deep water where drilling costs are high and new technology must be developed. As a result, there is a need for techniques to significantly reduce drilling costs to allow economical development of deep water reservoirs, and to increase well productivity by reducing formation damage during drilling and completion operations. These problems are addressed on this DOE project. This project was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Technology Center under contract DE-AC21-94MC31197 with Maurer Engineering Inc., 2916 West TC Jester, Houston, Texas; fax: 713-683-4618; email:

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