New solids control technology brings ‘pitless’ drilling to wireline coring operations

Posted on 02 October 2012

By Katie Mazerov, contributing editor

System 360: The “pitless” system in action, flocing solids and capturing usable water effluent.

Halliburton’s Baroid Industrial Drilling Products division is seeing global deployment of its solids control technology for processing waste in continuous wireline coring operations, eliminating the need for earthen pits or sumps to capture solids and fine cuttings. The “pitless” drilling process, SYSTEM 360, uses a combination of mechanical and chemical separation technologies to extend the life of the drilling fluid by recapturing up to 80% of the original water content from the waste stream, thereby reducing overall water usage.

The system completely removes fine, problematic cuttings from a fraction of the total drilling fluid volume and maintains the desired mud density, explained Bob Brown, Baroid’s global business development manager. “This is a very specific solution aimed at a sector of the industry that has not been served by conventional solids control technology, such as shale shakers,” he said. “Until now, wireline coring operations have depended on large pits to process solids and cuttings, a method that is expensive and inefficient because of the length of time it takes for ultra-fine cuttings to gravity-settle. With this new system, we can reuse the water and run lower-solids mud, which results in higher production rates during the drilling process.”

In addition to improved drilling performance, contractors are seeing improved borehole stability resulting in reduced re-drills and increased rates of penetration, and a more stable water supply for continuous drilling. “Operators are enjoying significant reductions in water usage, reduced truck time in bringing water to and removing waste from the drill site, and improved safety by eliminating haul-road traffic and the cost of digging and rehabilitating ground pits.”

The system involves three key steps:

  • Drilling fluid from the sump is pumped through hydrocyclones that separate beneficial solids from non-beneficial solids. Usable drilling fluid is returned to the system;
  • A chemical flocculation process reduces the waste stream that the hydrocyclones create. Clear water is separated from the flocculated solids into a collection tank for reuse; and
  • The flocculated dried material is compacted into a bag for disposal. The reclaimed water from the treated fraction is used to mix additional drilling fluid.

SYSTEM 360 – so named because the drilling fluid moves full circle from the original make-up water to the separation of drilling solids in a dried and bagged form to the eventual reuse of the drilling fluid – was introduced in December 2011. Since then, units have been installed in Peru, Chile and several other Latin American countries, as well as the US, Canada and Australia, where field trials have been completed in coal seam gas (CSG) exploration operations up to 1,000 meters deep.

“The system’s environmental benefits have ensured landholders that exploratory drilling is safe,” said Andrew Bilton, Baroid’s field service representative in Australia. “SYSTEM 360 lets us show landholders how we take the drilling fluid out of the ground and put it into surface tanks, reducing the impact on the land and potential danger to livestock.”

1 Comments For This Post

  1. Mike Moore Says:

    I would like to hear more about your process.

Leave a Reply

*

FEATURED MICROSITES


Recent Drilling News

  • 17 December 2014

    Saudi Aramco: Four factors for a sustainable drilling business

    Despite the modest growth in demand and drop in oil prices today, the long-term outlook for industry is healthy. “Our industry will need to add around 40 million bbl per day for new capacity...

  • 16 December 2014

    Ensco development program produces driller in 3 years

    Ensco’s Accelerated Development Program (ADP) takes a “green” individual and, within a three-year period, trains them to become a driller. In response to personnel shortages in various areas, including drilling...

  • 16 December 2014

    Saudi Aramco: ‘Industry cannot afford to lose talent when the economy is down’

    Industry is facing a human resources challenge in two areas: the ageing workforce and the shortage of skills, Mohammed Al Sellemi...

  • 16 December 2014

    Nanotechnology has potential to improve tool performance in extreme environments

    In terms of temperature stability and corrosion, tools have limitations, especially in extremely challenging drilling environments. Jothibasu Ramasamy...

  • 16 December 2014

    Colville: WCI provides forum to evaluate practical, economical advances in well control practices

    Major players throughout industry are joining forces under the Well Control Institute (WCI). The mandate of WCI is “to provide the definitive forum...

  • Read more news