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Solids control equipment arrangement

2013-03-12

Drilling fluid should be processed through the solids control equipment in a sequential manner. The most common problem on drilling rigs is improper fluid routing, which causes some drilling fluid to bypass the sequential arrangement of solids control equipment.

 

When a substantial amount of drilling fluid bypasses a piece or pieces of solids control equipment, many of the drilled solids cannot be removed. Factors that contribute to inadequate fluid routing include ill-advised manifolding of centrifugal pumps for hydrocyclone or mud cleaner operations, leaking valves, improper setup and use of mud guns in the removal section, and routing of drilling fluid incorrectly through mud ditches.

 

Each piece of solids control equipment should be fed with a dedicated, single-purpose pump, with no routing options. Hydrocyclones and mud cleaners have only one correct location in tank arrangements and therefore should have only one suction location. Routing errors should be corrected and equipment color-coded to eliminate alignment errors. If worry about an inoperable pump suggests manifolding, it would be cost saving to allow easy access to the pumps and have a standby pump in storage.

 

Having a dedicated pump properly sized and set up with no opportunity for improper operation will give surprisingly long pump life as well as process the drilling fluid properly.

 

Suction and discharge lines on drilling rigs should be as short and straight as possible. Sizes should be such that the flow velocity within the pipe is between 5 and 10 ft/sec. lower velocities will cause settling problems, and higher velocities may induce cavitation on the suction side or cause erosion on the discharge side where the pipe changes direction.