Integrated Treatment and Disposal of Waste Drilling Fluid Onshore Process Design

The situations in the field are various, which is a challenge in both design and logistics for drilling mud treatment and management. After the core treating process such as solid-liquid separation, it is essential to combine some different operational modules to fulfill the rapid and full handling. The following section will briefly discuss the on-site and off-site treatment/management based on chemical separation according to previous experience.

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Drilling Cuttings Separation

Mineralogy of Cuttings

Drill cuttings are particles of crushed rock produced by the grinding action of the drill bit as it penetrates into the earth. Drill cuttings range in size from clay-sized particles (~ 2 μm) to coarse gravel (> 30 mm) and have an angular configuration. Their chemistry and mineralogy reflect that of the sedimentary strata being penetrated by the drill.

Figure 1. Separation of WBM and cuttings is mainly based on particle size and relies on shale shakers, hydrocyclones (mud cleaner), and occasionally a decanting centrifuge. Most cuttings are sand/gravel-sized and are easily recovered on the shale shaker. However, silt- and clay-sized cuttings are difficult to separate from the barite and bentonite of WBM; hydrocyclones and centrifuges may be required.

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