Global Drilling Fluids Market 2021

Market Overview

The global drilling fluids market, estimated at $6,100 million in 2021, is expected to exhibit a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.8% and reach $12,928 million by 2031. This growth can be attributed to the increasing onshore and offshore drilling activities driven by the rise in energy demand.

One of the key drivers for the drilling fluids market is the growing demand for energy, which has led to an increase in drilling activities. Governments worldwide are implementing supportive initiatives to meet the rising energy demand, further contributing to the market growth. Drilling fluids play a crucial role in the drilling process by controlling formation pressures, removing wellbore cuttings, sealing permeable formations, transmitting hydraulic energy, cooling and lubricating the bit, and maintaining wellbore stability. The composition of drilling fluids varies based on rig capabilities, wellbore demands, and environmental considerations. The growth in shale gas exploration has also contributed to the surge in demand for drilling fluids. Countries like the United States and India are focusing on developing their shale gas resources to meet the increasing demand for natural gas. For example, the US Energy Information Administration predicts that shale gas will account for 50% of domestic gas production in the US by 2035.

Product Type

Market Report

No. of Pages


Release Date

June 2022

Base Year


Forecast Period


Market Size

USD 6.1 billion in 2020

Market Segments

Application, Product Type, Region



No. of Companies Mentioned


The application of drilling fluids extends to both onshore and offshore drilling. Onshore drilling is one of the leading applications, driven by the increasing number of onshore rigs and the growth of onshore oil and gas exploration and development activities in countries such as the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and China. The total number of oil and gas rigs in the US was approximately 424 in January 2021, and this number is expected to continue rising. Offshore drilling is also a significant contributor to the drilling fluids market, with countries like the UK, Norway, and India heavily involved in offshore exploration and production activities. In the UK and Norway, more than 65% of operations occur offshore.

The drilling fluids industry is experiencing significant growth and is characterized by ongoing research and development efforts to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of drilling fluids. Furthermore, a large number of wells are projected to be drilled in the coming years, indicating a positive outlook for the market.

While the demand for drilling fluids is driven by factors such as increasing energy demand and growing drilling operations, there are also limitations and challenges to consider. The volatility in crude oil prices can impact the consumption of drilling fluids as oil companies adjust their drilling activities based on market conditions. The cost of deepwater and ultra-deepwater drilling poses another limitation, as these drilling operations are more expensive. Additionally, the environmental impact of drilling fluids is a concern, and companies are striving to develop more environmentally friendly alternatives.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the global supply chain of the drilling fluids market. The oil and gas industry, in particular, witnessed a decline in demand due to lockdowns and restrictions, leading to decreased demand for drilling fluids.

In conclusion, the drilling fluids market is driven by increasing drilling activities, the focus on shale gas, and supportive government initiatives. However, challenges such as price volatility, high drilling costs, and environmental concerns need to be addressed in order to sustain the market’s growth.

Market Segmentation

The market is segmented based on various factors, including application, product type, and region.

Segmentation by Application

Segmentation by Product Type
Water-Based Drilling Fluids
Oil-Based Drilling Fluids
Synthetic-Based Drilling Fluids

Segmentation by Region
North America – U.S., Canada, and Mexico
Europe – Norway, Turkey, Russia, and Rest-of-Europe
Asia-Pacific and Japan – India, Indonesia, Australia, and Rest-of-Asia-Pacific and Japan
South America – Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Rest-of-South America
Middle East and Africa – Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, U.A.E., and Rest-of-Middle East and Africa

The dominance of onshore applications is expected in the global drilling fluids market within the application segment. This is primarily due to the increased activities of oil and gas exploration in onshore oil fields and the advantage of having customized drilling fluids based on the formation location. During the forecast period from 2022 to 2031, onshore applications are anticipated to be the largest application among various end-use applications of drilling fluids. The growth can be attributed to the rising number of onshore oil and gas fields and rigs, which leads to an increased usage of drilling fluids. Additionally, research activities to develop abandoned oil and gas wells and revived projects in several onshore oilfields contribute to the growth of this particular application.

Offshore oil drilling refers to the extraction of fossil fuels beneath the ocean’s surface. This method is favored due to the abundant oil wells found on the ocean floor. However, offshore drilling presents challenges in identifying offshore oil resources and setting up oil rigs on the water’s surface, making it a more expensive option compared to onshore drilling. Despite the higher cost, offshore drilling has its advantages, such as meeting a significant portion of a country’s energy requirements with a single offshore drilling rig. This reduces reliance on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and decreases the potential for oil price manipulation. Furthermore, offshore drilling has the potential to unlock vast untapped oil sources and enhance energy independence. The Pacific Ocean holds the most untapped potential, and offshore oil rigs are the primary means of accessing these resources. By expanding oil supplies, lowering oil prices, generating revenue windfall profits for governments, and creating employment opportunities, offshore oil drilling could significantly impact the oil industry.

Water-based drilling fluids dominate the global drilling fluids market. This can be attributed to their cost-effectiveness and lower environmental impact compared to other types of drilling fluids. Concerns about the toxicity of alternative drilling fluids also contribute to the demand for water-based drilling fluids. Among the different types of drilling fluids, water-based drilling fluids, also known as water-based muds, held the largest market share in 2021 and are expected to continue leading the market during the forecast period from 2022 to 2031. Water-based drilling fluids are widely used due to their environmental friendliness, cost efficiency, and ease of processing. They are proven to be effective for drilling wells. Ongoing research and innovative advancements in water-based mud systems further propel the growth of this product type.

In 2021, water-based drilling fluids accounted for approximately 52% of total sales in the global market. The increased use of water-based muds in operations is driven by environmental and economic concerns. These muds, composed of minerals, salts, and organic substances, utilize water as the basic fluid, making them less expensive than oil-based drilling muds. Water-based fluids offer various advantages such as higher latent heat, increased flow rate, and reduced consistency, making them a preferred choice. Inhibitory properties of water-based muds help prevent shale from expanding and breaking during drilling, ensuring a consistent performance across a wide range of temperatures required in deep-water and shelf drilling. Companies in the drilling-fluid industry have been working on developing high-performance water-based fluids that offer similar attributes to oil-based and solvent-based fluids but at a lower cost. The focus on inhibitive and thermal enhanced performance of water-based models for non-watery fluids used in testing applications such as onshore and offshore drilling operations is expected to drive the market for water-based fluids throughout the forecast period.

North America is projected to be the largest market for drilling fluids, mainly driven by growing oil and gas production and significant oil field development, particularly in the United States. North America was the leading region in the drilling fluids market in 2021 and is expected to maintain its dominance throughout the forecast period. The region benefits from the discovery of numerous oil and gas fields and increasing exploration and production activities. The drilling fluids market in North America is highly competitive, driven by the rise in shale oil and gas operations and fracking exploration. The United States is the most profitable country in North America, followed by Canada, while Mexico is expected to experience the highest growth in the drilling fluid industry. Technological advancements and substantial investments in the drilling industry are key factors driving this growth. Additionally, governments in North America have established regulations to address environmental damage caused by drilling fluids. The region is expected to grow significantly due to increased development of untapped oil and gas reserves as a result of technological advancements. Key companies operating in this region include Schlumberger, Ltd., Halliburton, and Baker Hughes Company.

Competitive Landscape

The selection of the profiled companies was based on inputs gathered from primary experts, as well as an analysis of company coverage, product portfolio, and market penetration.

Key companies profiled in this report include Baker Hughes Company, Halliburton, Schlumberger Limited, Newpark Resources Inc., Weatherford, AES Drilling Fluids, DIAMOCO Group, NOV Inc., Conquest Drilling, Stellar Drilling Fluids. LLC, QMax, Secure Energy, ChemFor, TotalEnergies, Dynamic Drilling Fluids, Valence Drilling Fluids, LLC.

Recent Industry Developments

In May 2019, Baker Hughes Company announced the launch of Delta-Teq, a low-pressure-impact drilling fluid. This non-aqueous drilling fluid is designed to assist operators working within narrow pressure windows in achieving their drilling objectives while greatly reducing associated risks.

Key Questions Answered

What are the primary factors and trends influencing the drilling fluids market?

What are the main applications that utilize drilling fluids in the global market?

Among end-use industries such as oil and gas companies and mining organizations, which type of drilling fluid (oil-based, water-based, synthetic-based) is most preferred?

What are some significant developments or changes affecting the drilling fluids market?

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the global drilling fluids market, and what measures are industry players taking to mitigate this impact?

Global Drilling Fluids Market 2021

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Global Drilling Fluids Market 2021

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Global Drilling Fluids Market 2021

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