Every day’s a school day!

April 23, 2019

23rd April 2019

The importance of training is often taken for granted; we all recognise the benefits it offers both to organisations and to individuals, yet when it comes to actually establishing a scheme, participating, or even taking the time out to explore ‘what’s new out there’, it drops down the priority list.

The thing is, “Every day is a School Day” and I firmly believe we all have a duty to keep up-to-date with new techniques, equipment and methods and so I thought I would jot a few notes down from time-to-time on topics I have examined, with a view to eliciting discussion and knowledge transfer to perhaps help others in the industry consider ways of improving techniques.

In this short article, I thought I would explore the techniques of Mud Treatment.

Having worked in the drilling industry for around 15 years, modern technology and change in practice regularly presents itself. This left me wondering could I improve our mud-treatment? I think many will agree dealing with waste water from drilling applications always causes a problem, especially when working in areas were space is an issue and timing and programming of waste removal is impossible.

I recently found a new mud treatment system, which I thought would be perfect for working in London on a project for Geothermal closed loops. The system has recently undergone a field trial and I was impressed with the outcome.

This system comes in a range of sizes to suit every application, from large projects with pump rates up to 1000 litres per minute and higher to a small mobile unit.

The systems that AMC Europe design treats the drilling fluids and slurry through a process of a Shale Shaker and centrifuge before producing a clean drilling fluid for re-use. This is very affective for closed loop systems and negates the need for large surface pits and volumes needed for a total circulation whilst drilling. A reduction in water consumption and a reduction in drilling fluids have all been seen in projects, thus reducing costs.

The compact system we used can fit on a road-towable trailer and can come with its own power source. The system can also be as big as an Artic truck depending on application. The system we used had a fluid capacity of 3m3 which meant it was great for open-hole drilling of up to 200.00mtrs with an 8″ diameter and also perfect for Geobore S. Solid removal is always a challenge and conventional shaker systems are limited, able only to remove the larger particles down to sands – 20 microns is the average. The AMC SRU (Solids Recycling System) can remove particles down to a 4-6 microns size and complete removal is achievable with flocculation. With conventional systems there is always the risk of pumping a solid that is still present in the fluid around the system. This can have negative effects on the bore hole stability and increase the wear and tear on mechanical parts, including pumps and seals.

Keeping weight (SG) under control is a major part of the process whilst installing loops, being able to remove weight quickly and easily is something that we were keen to have at our finger tips. The unit can process up to 6m3 per hour something that gravity settle tanks would take days to achieve.

The mud treatment system was easily manoeuvrable in to tight spaces and once set up and filled with fluid the system proved extremely efficient and straight forward to operate. The shaker system placed the larger drill cuttings directly into a skip while the centrifuge was set to remove fines down to a size of 5 microns. The combined cuttings were dry enough to allow disposal straight into a normal soils skip.

Summary of works waste disposal and program

Phase one. 200.00m, 8″ diameter BH with double 40mm loop installation. Completed with 25m3drilling tanks (Russian Dolls) telehandler and grab bucket attachment. We had 3 x 18m3 of water delivered to site and 3 x 18m3 gully suckers were used for waste removal, along with 1 x 8yard skip. This was a 15-day programme and ran 3-Days over.

Phase two. Exactly the same BH design 200.00m, 8″ diameter BH with double 40mm loop installation. Completed with 3m3 mud treatment system, water source was a standard outside tap 2 x 8m3 gully suckers were used as well as 2 x 8 yard skips. This was a 15-day programme and was completed in 12-days.

I will continue to work closely with the provider of this system to develop it further as I feel this is the future of drilling. Our first trial was a success saving our client costs on water and waste disposal (tankers and gully suckers) as well as a considerable amount of down time for cleaning and refilling of tanks. The new system also allowed GES a lot more room on site to operate. I will certainly use this system again in the future as I am keen to see how it performs in different applications such as Geobore S. Without question this system will also extend the life span of drilling pumps, water swivels and drill bits, costs that we all find hard to recover in the current busy very competitive market.

Have you had any experience of mud treatment systems or do you have another story to tell?  Why not share your photos and stories with us at the BDA by emailing office@britishdrillingassociaton.com

Author:  Scott Burt Contract Manager Drilcorp GES, BDA Committee Member

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