About Loss Circulation Material (LCM).
In oil or gas well drilling, loss circulation occurs when drilling fluid, known commonly as “mud, ”flows into one or more geological formations instead of returning up the annulus. Loss circulation can be a serious problem during the drilling of an oil well or gas well.
All types of materials are used to stop fluid loss in the drill-hole as it leaks out into cracks, fissures, sand, salt and other porous formations. Loss Circulation Material (LCM) is a term for substances added to drilling fluids when drilling fluids are being loss to the formations downhole.
Some of the commonly used lost-circulation materials include fibrous (tree bark, shredded cane stalks, mineral fibers and animal hair), flaky (mica flakes and pieces of plastic or cellophane sheeting) or granular (ground and sized limestone, carbonates or marble, wood, nut hulls, formica, corncobs and cotton hulls).
The cost of loss circulation materials varies from $.20 cents a pound for sawdust to over $10 dollars a pound for synthetic loss circulation materials with special polymer compounds. Most drilling fluid engineers have a LCM formula that uses a mixture of several materials even for drilling through rock formations that are low loss (very few holes, cracks or porous areas).
The oil and Gas companies are starting to look at a LCMs made by hemp that works faster to plug the leaks and is cost competitive with most LCM materials.