One of the best examples of the versatility of lignin products is found in the oil and gas industry. StarLig lignosulfonate products are used as thinners, dispersants to improve the flow and pumpability of drilling fluids in oil exploration, and to help reduce water loss during drilling operations. The fluid system, sometimes called drilling mud, cools and lubricates the drill bit, prevents formation damage, and removes rock cuttings from downhole.
The drilling fluid is pumped down the drill pipe, through and around the drill bit, and back to the surface through the annulus of the drilled hole. The fluid cools the bit and flushes cuttings from the bottom of the drilled hole to the surface. There the cuttings are separated from the drilling fluid prior to its recirculation downhole.