There are several steps to achieving an effective solids control for HDD. To start, obtain an effective, dependable, and durable solids control system. Ensure that the HDD solids control system acquired is; hydraulically balanced; is capable of making both a scalp cut and a fine cut; and has sufficient drilling fluid mixing and re-circulating capacity. Do not by-pass the shale shaker or other solids control equipment while drilling. Use the smallest mesh screen possible on the shale shaker; this will change from formation to formation and will require operators to maintain a variety of screens on hand. Always maintain an adequate inventory of recommended spare parts and screens.Last and not least, a good solids control system is only effective when you certify and assign rig personnel to be responsible for equipment operation and maintenance.
Even today, the amount of research and development aimed at HDD drilling fluids is considered a rounding error in the oligopoly of drilling fluid manufacturers. However, the trends strongly suggest that the future of HDD drilling will follow a similar evolution as experienced by the traditional oil and gas industry.
Couple the evolution of drilling fluids with the escalating cost of waste management and disposal, the economic practicality of utilizing drilling fluids, is fully dependent on the ability to recover and recycle. The cost of barite and bentonite continue to be commoditized, additives continue to become more and more expensive. Add the escalating cost of qualified personnel, HDD rig operators are left with a critical challenge: making profits, when the cost of business is increasing.
In addressing the economics of drilling fluids, HDD rig operators must clearly understand the basic operating principals behind the available recycling processes. Manufacturer of solid control and waste management equipment should be consulted.