SCREEN PULSE Separator Reduces MOC by 28% and Saves 10% on Final Waste Disposal Volume

Published: 01/25/2016

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Enhancing fluid recovery and cuttings dryness

A South American operator was drilling onshore wells in the Lindero Atravesado field near Neuquen, Argentina. OBM cuttings generated from drilling waste had to be transferred to a local third-party treatment company for safe handling. The drilling program started with water-base spud mud for the tophole section followed by OBM for the intermediate and production sections until reaching TD. Field formations were mainly coarse mineralized sandstone and conglomerate layers.

The operator wanted to enhance fluid recovery and cuttings dryness by reducing OBM drilling fluid retention on the drilled cuttings. Its goal was also to reduce the number of secondary shakers by using a three-step drying process at the first solids control barrier. Working with M-I SWACO, the operator decided to drill four test wells.

Reducing fluid retention on cuttings

M-I SWACO selected the SCREEN PULSE separator for use on one trial well because it reduces HSE risks and is very compact, efficient, and easy to install and operate. The entire system consists of a compact, lightweight pulse control panel and carbon fiber drop-in pans. The only external equipment required is a compressed air source. M-I SWACO recommended keeping at least one secondary shaker to maximize waste reduction and fluid recovery, creating a three-step drying process.

The separator was installed on three primary shakers working simultaneously. SCREEN PULSE separator was applied to the last shaker screen on each shaker to reduce drilling fluid retention on the cuttings. During the trial, engineers recorded process data, MOC, OBM lost volumes per shaker, final disposal waste volumes, and QHSE observations. Samples were collected during steady-state conditions coinciding with representative drilling conditions for each day. All results and base data from previous wells were compared based on documented final recaps, daily reports, and mud reports from fluid and solids control services.

SCREEN PULSE Separator Reduces MOC by 28% and Saves 10% on Final Waste Disposal Volume
The first performance evaluation was made after drilling approximately 1,500 m on the intermediate section. All previous wells at this point were drilled by the same rig with the same surface equipment with similar drilling parameters and depths. The results show a significant fluid recovery of 28% compared with the best previous well results.

Increasing fluid recovery 30%

The SCREEN PULSE separator worked continuously for more than 260 hours throughout the 11-day trial with zero NPT. Cuttings retention of the drilling fluid averaged below 30%, enhancing OBM recovery and cuttings dryness. Average MOC was 28%, and fluid recovery was 30% more than the best earlier well results. Savings on the final disposal volume after adjustment was more than 10%. The operator also saved USD 48,720 on fluid recovered and on the cuttings reduction.

SCREEN PULSE Separator Reduces MOC by 28% and Saves 10% on Final Waste Disposal Volume
At drilling depths of 2,600 m, total OBM lost over shakers was nearly 41 m3 lower as compared with the best earlier well.
Neuquén Basin, Argentina, South America, Onshore

Challenge: Enhance fluid recovery and cuttings dryness by reducing oil-base mud (OBM) drilling fluid retention on drilled cuttings and large waste volumes associated with drilled cuttings.

Solution: Installed the SCREEN PULSE fluid and cuttings separator to reduce drilling fluid retention on cuttings.


  • Maintained an average mud-on-cuttings (MOC) reduction of 28%.
  • Reduced oil-on-cuttings (OOC) volume to below 30%, improving OBM recovery and cuttings dryness.
  • Saved 10% on final waste disposal volume.
  • Saved USD 48,720. 
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