Asphaltite is by nature extremely hydrophobic and will not readily mix with water or water based drilling fluids. Thus, it is difficult to use asphaltite as an effective drilling fluid additive.
Attempts have been made to make asphaltite based products more compatible with the drilling fluid. However, none of these attempts has been fully successful.Moreover, in typical drilling mud systems, the asphaltic material is packaged in fifty pound bags and dumped into the mud hopper on the rig in amounts equaling from 1 to 50 pounds per barrel of mud.
Since the asphaltite material is extremely hydrophobic, a surfactant is then added to the mud system in amounts of 0.5 to 10 per cent by volume to make the asphaltite which is gilsonite and disperse or become water wet. However, this process is extremely expensive because the surfactant might be used up on other solid materials in the mud system, such as, barite, bentonite, and drilled solids.