pill | Energy Glossary

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1. n. [Drilling]

Any relatively small quantity (less than 200 bbl) of a special blend of drilling fluid to accomplish a specific task that the regular drilling fluid cannot perform. Examples include high-viscosity pills to help lift cuttings out of a vertical wellbore, freshwater pills to dissolve encroaching salt formations, pipe-freeing pills to destroy filter cake and relieve differential sticking forces and lost circulation material pills to plug a thief zone.

See: cuttingsdifferential stickingdrilling fluidlost-circulation materialthief zone

2. n. [Drilling Fluids]

A small volume of mud used for a specific purpose in a drilling operation. Various types of pills are needed from time to time on the rig, such as to stop circulation loss or free stuck drillpipe.

See: granular lost-circulation materialgunk pluglost circulationlost-circulation materialmudrheologyslugspotting fluidviscosity

3. n. [Well Workover and Intervention]

A relatively small volume of specially prepared fluid placed or circulated in the wellbore. Fluid pills are commonly prepared for a variety of special functions, such as a sweep pill prepared at high viscosity to circulate around the wellbore and pick up debris or wellbore fill. In counteracting lost-circulation problems, a lost-circulation pill prepared with flaked or fibrous material is designed to plug the perforations or formation interval losing the fluid.