By Joanne Liou, associate editor
Efforts to achieve sophistication through simplicity are driving the latest developments at KEMTRON Technologies. With three solids control product updates due for commercialization later this year, the company is focusing on the basics – durability, reliability, cost effectiveness and user friendliness. “Solids control may have gotten better packaged or it may have better aesthetic value, but the products have started to lose touch with the (basics),” KEMTRON president/CEO Michael Anderson said. Further, shale drilling has increased demands on solids control equipment. “When looking at horizontal drilling, not only do you have larger-volume cuttings that are being generated, but your cuttings are finer in nature. It has placed a greater need on the equipment to be durable to be able to handle the flow rate.”
The Hyper G shaker has been under development for two years and commenced field trials in West Texas in August. The shaker can reach up to 8 Gs of energy, compared with 7 to 7.5 Gs for other shakers, according to the company. “It also has the ability to achieve dual-motion variable speed, which means the shaker can produce elliptical motion and linear motion,” Mr Anderson said. This can be especially important when adapting to various fluid conditions during the drilling process.
The shaker was designed with simplicity in mind, reducing the number of spare parts subject to breaking down or the number of consumable items by an estimated 50%. For example, for the vibration isolation system, KEMTRON worked with Firestone to develop a one-piece, solid-state molded product. A single-point actuation mechanical system also mitigates the need for sophisticated hydraulic systems or pneumatic actuation systems, Mr Anderson explained. “You now have a jacking system. You can rotate the arm, and it will immediately be able to adjust the deck position while you’re drilling.”
The company also developed a centrifuge specifically for the oil and gas industry. “A lot of the centrifuges being utilized in the oilfield today were actually not designed for the oilfield,” he continued. KEMTRON’s KT-1967HD2 big bowl centrifuge was designed relative to oil-based muds. “Relative to the motors, the specifications of the gear box and the specifications of the drives, we are looking for something that is really only designed for handling drilling fluids.” The centrifuge can handle materials from 9 lbs/gallon to 20 lbs/gallon. Field trials began in December 2012 and wrapped up in July.
KEMTRON also is enhancing its vertical cuttings dryer (VCD), which can help reduce the oil on cuttings content “so that not only are they recovering valuable drilling fluids, but they’re also reducing the amount of waste that they’re having to dispose,” Mr Anderson said. An automatic screen de-blinding technology has been incorporated to actuate the “air knife” if the VCD begins to plug. “The air knife is a device that is applied to the outside edge of the screen,” Mr Anderson described. “If that screen blinds at any point, you can trigger the air knife, and it will break up the blinding within the screen. The air knife unplugs that screen so that you don’t have to shut down the entire VCD and then service the screen before you turn it back on.” The VCD is currently in field trials, where the company is seeing cuttings with less than 5% dryness being produced. KEMTRON notes that is lower than the average VCD available today.