Waste is inevitable in any activity of construction, but there is not necessarily an issue so much with waste as there is with how it is dealt with. Technology has been instrumental in helping avoid waste in the oil industry, and that technology is solids control.
Solids control is a technique used in oil drilling. It is typically located on a drilling rig and is used to separate the solids in the drilling mud. These solids are created by the crushing of the drill bits that are carried out of the well surface.
Essentially, solids control is the recycling of the drilling mud, and it saves costs regarding mud quantity and disposal. Although there are other forms of waste management in the oil industry, solids control is one of the best options to manage drilling waste and helps to minimize the environmental impact of oil drilling.
Solid control systems contain multiple parts and stages.
- Mud tank: Mixes and stores drilling mud
- Shale shaker: Removes large solids
- Hydrocyclones: Speeds up the settling process
- Centrifugal pumps: Provides feed pressure and volume to operate the hydrocyclone
- Desander: Removes medium-sized solids
- Desilter: Removes small-sized solids
- Vacuum degasser: Removes air from mud
- Conveyance system: Transports cuttings
- Centrifuge: Recovers barite and complies with environmental standards
- Mud cooler
- Cuttings dryer: Removes moisture from cuttings
- Dewatering: Removes fine solids
- Containers: Holds cuttings for transport
Disposing of Waste Drilling Fluid
After solids collection is over, the waste drilling fluid will need to be handled and disposed of. Non-toxic waste does not necessarily need to be treated any further, but any oil-based or even synthetic muds will need to be treated.
This is because they are toxic and can cause damaging effects to the environment. Treating and disposing of this fluid properly reduces the need for the addition of more mud products to maintain the proper components and formation of the mud quality.
Increase Life of Usable Fluid
Solids control truly helps the oil industry be more sustainable. Using a good solids control system can increase the usable life of the fluid two to three times. This is extremely useful to oil companies, as mud dilution and mud dumping are no longer environmentally acceptable.
In order to make the mud quality useful for recirculation, the content of solids in the mud has to be kept below 5%. By reusing mud and fluid multiple times, solids control is a much more economical method of oil drilling.
Reduce Drill Bit Penetration
Keeping the concentration of solids in drilling mud down is also helpful for reducing excess drill bit penetration. This helps to avoid the risk of instability due to long periods with an open borehole. In turn, this reduces drilling costs.
Where to Start
If you are considering solids control for your oil company, it can be difficult to know where to start. Diamond T Services has solids control experience. Contact us today to see how we can help you.