Performance Report: Fluid Management Facility and Integrated Approach Gives Operator Major Reduction in Drilling Waste Disposal

Challenge: Pit cleaning onboard the Ocean Nomad has been a labor intensive task that has been carried out using the M-I SWACO 100-HP vacuum. This system is time consuming, produces unnecessary amounts of waste and raises many quality, health, safety and environmental (QHSE) concerns due to the time exposed to confined spaces. The job is made more difficult by the multi-low-level pipe work layout of the pits, creating obstructions for pit cleaning.

Solution: The M-I SWACO ATC unit was provided as the solution for improving the older pit cleaning processes on the Ocean Nomad. The unit was installed on the starboard mid-ship deck and hoses were run under the skip station, through the pump room and into the pit room. As this was a trial project, no deck penetrations were cut. To install the tank cleaning machines (TCMs) in their optimum positions, a temporary solution was found using pre-fabricated brackets to ensure optimal placement. Each pit was cleaned using one SC30 TCM and one Cloud 180 TCM. This setup gave between 80 to 90% coverage in each pit.

Result: The ATC unit cleaned 5 of the 7 pits onboard; each pit was cleaned to between 80 and 90% brine spec with the remaining mud/barite being removed using the vacuum and squeegees. No manual digging of barite or heavy solids was required. This was necessary due to the tank design on the rig. Pit entry was reduced to no more than 2 hr per pit with the total setup and cleaning time being no more than 5 hr per pit. Waste from the total cleanup was reduced to 12 skips containing 45 tons; however, this included 3 skips that were full of mud from the sand traps and also water that was generated during the manual cleaning of the slops pit and sand traps.

Excessive waste volumes create high costs

Land drilling operations in California’s San Joaquin Valley are projected to generate a considerable amount of drilling waste as a result of the solidification/stabilization of liquid waste. The solidification process increases the overall amount of waste disposed by addition of stabilization agents. Cost for disposal of solidified and stabilized waste can be considerable.

Fluid management facility provides answers

To address the concerns associated with drilling waste generation and disposal, M‑I SWACO worked with the operator to develop a process that would allow for the recovery and reconditioning of drilling and washout fluids. M‑I SWACO proposed and the operator approved the creation of a fluid management facility where fluids were processed and treated.

Coordinated approach proves effective

Fluids used at drilling rigs were transported to a centralized fluids management facility where the treatment method was determined by the type of fluid, fluid quality and intended method of reuse.

Processing criteria were developed through the joint efforts of M‑I SWACO Drilling Solutions and Environmental Solutions specialists.

Fluid processing methods included

  • Mechanical processing of drilling and washout fluids
  • Chemical treatment of drilling and washout fluids
  • Mix Plant chemical reconditioning of drilling fluids to meet the client’s specific needs

Meeting client objectives

Previously, management of used drilling fluid and liquid waste stream included solidification and stabilization, which resulted in the generation of excessive solid waste. The operator’s proactive approach to waste management resulted in the development of a solution for effective waste minimization. Implementation of the fluid management facility reduced the projected amount of waste to be generated 75%. In addition, $22k in cost savings were realized per well by recovering, processing, and reusing drilling fluids as well as washout fluids. As a result of this project, several fluid management facilities have been implemented throughout the San Joaquin Valley.

Download: Fluid Management Facility and Integrated Approach Gives Operator Major Reduction in Drilling Waste Disposal (0.63 MB PDF)

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"Since the inception of the FMF’s, M‑I SWACO has observed efficient recycling of whole muds, which has afforded the customer a 19% reduction in retail fluids spend."
Reginald Stanfield

Fluid Management

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