The decanting centrifuge is used in weighted mud applications to recover valuable weighting material from mud which must be discharged due to unacceptable colloidal solids content. The decanter centrifuge settles out barite and coarse drilled solids which are returned to the active mud system to maintain density. The relatively clean centrate containing liquid and colloidal solids is discarded. These colloidal solids cause many drilling fluid problems, such as high surge/swab pressures and ECDs, differential sticking, and high chemical costs. Usually, the value of the weighting agent in these mud systems makes it economic to recover the weighting agent from the whole mud before it is discarded. Fig. 1 gives an example of the economics of centrifuging weighted muds.
The drilling fluid is a major factor in success of the drilling program. There are four mechanical or physical properties to control in the treatment of drilling mud:
- gel strength
How properly used solids control equipment in different types (Natural mud, chemically-treated mud and saltwater mud) Water-Based Mud (WBM).
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Water as a drilling fluid does not qualify as a mud. If there are no hole (formation) problems that prevent its being the most economical drilling fluid; if neither the geologist, palentologist, nor production supervisor have valid objections; and if it is available, water is seldom if ever surpassed. When the formation requires, or a supervisor demands , filtrate control and / or viscosity and /or gels in the drilling fluid, a “mud” is built. Or if the fluid density required is too high for salt water alone , mud properties are required to suspend barites.