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1. n. [Drilling]

The amount of pressure (or force per unit area) in the wellbore that exceeds the pressure of fluids in the formation. This excess pressure is needed to prevent reservoir fluids (oil, gas, water) from entering the wellbore. However, excessive overbalance can dramatically slow the drilling process by effectively strengthening the near-wellbore rock and limiting removal of drilled cuttings under the bit. In addition, high overbalance pressures coupled with poor mud properties can cause differential sticking problems. Because reservoir pressures vary from one formation to another, while the mud is relatively constant density, overbalance varies from one zone to another.

Antonyms: underbalance

See: cuttingsdifferential sticking