Solids control include the creation of a closed loop system which allows for increased environmental control and reduction in the potential for spills of drilling fluids.
Correct selection and use of solids control equipment is essential to maintain drilling fluid at its desired properties. It has also shown to be essential to avoid generation of unnecessary waste stream during drilling.
Since the early 1930s shale shaker has been the dominant device for primary proper solids removal. Additional equipment like desilter, desander and centrifuges were often used in the past to maintain proper solids control, but recent years have demonstrated that although dependent on correct operational procedures, several types of shale shakers have sufficient performance to be able to act as the sole solids control device without the use of desanders and desilters.
Despite often being the only measure for solids removal, selection of shale shaker, screen and establishment of operational procedures are often based on biased information. In addition it has been recognized that methods and criteria for verification of shale shaker has not been sufficiently qualified and standardized. To address this, a multidisciplinary verification test of various solids control concepts has been conducted. The objective of the test has been to verify equipment performance in a standardized onshore test facility related to:
- Oil mist and vapor emission.
- Ventilation (to obtain satisfactory working environment).
- Flow handing capacity using various drilling fluids
- Leakage rate, i.e. the volume of fluid bypassing the filtration screen.
- Lost circulation material feature.
- Noise and vibration level.
- Maintenance and equipment robustness.
- Feature for running lost circulation material reclamation.
The tests were all planned and run in close co-operation with the equipment suppliers to ensure test objective alignment. Several findings were made throughout the test period providing vital information for design improvements and increasing the industry’s competence with respect to solids control.