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Targeting Friction in the Williston Basin

In the Williston, drilling laterals with brine-based muds can be challenging. Most commercially available liquid lubricants have a tendency to “grease out” due to high-salt content of the brine found in the formation. In addition, torque generally increases substantially after around 16,000 MD—limiting ROP and damaging equipment. And this high friction makes it difficult to control directional drilling. Encapso® can help drill these laterals faster, delivering superior protection and directional control without greasing out.


Case Study


With its novel encapsulated design, Encapso® drilling lubricant remains protected from interactions with the high-salt content of Williston brine. It is hydroscopic and compatible with sodium (Na), magnesium (Mg) and calcium (Ca). Encapso® was used in a multi-well pad by an operator with an underperforming rig—two wells using Encapso® were compared to two offset wells drilled with liquid lubricant. The following aspects of the ® wells and offset wells were the same:

  • Same formation (Three Forks)
  • Same BHA (e.g., bit and stabilizers were same make and model)
  • Company man in charge of operations


Use of Encapso® was associated with faster drilling, lower torque and shorter slide time over multiple wells. The same initial Encapso® drilling fluid was used over the three wells on the pad (with product periodically added to maintain an effective concentration).

  • 20% increase in overall ROP
  • 54% increase in slide ROP
  • 23% decrease in slide time
  • 17% reduction in torque
  • 25% time savings when drilling the lateral*


Minimizing Friction

Increasing ROP

Maximizing Uptime

* Results were achieved on an underperforming rig and do not indicate expected results on future cases.