1. Shale Shakers
The most important part of the solids control/separation system on a rig, shale shakers separate the “cuttings” (large solids) from the “mud” (drilling fluids). After the mud is separated, it is used to keep the drill bit cool. Ideally, these fluids can be reused more than once. This separation before the disposal of cuttings helps reduce drilling costs and environmental impact. Proper controlling of drilling fluids is correlated directly to the efficiency of all other downstream controlling equipment later in the process.
After the drilling fluids are separated from the large solids, air and gas trapped in the liquids needs to be removed. Degassers are used to remove methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide, among others gases. This increases safety at the oilfield by reducing the risk of gas explosions.
There are two types of degassers. By reducing the pressure inside the vessel, vacuum degassers are able to separate the gases from the mud. Atmospheric (“poor boy”) degassers use a propeller to spread out fluids across a larger surface area, making it easier to release trapped gases.
3. Mud Cleaners
As mentioned above, the mud separated from the cuttings is used to keep the drill bit cool. However, before reaching the drill it’s important that the mud be as clean as possible. Thick mud can stop the drill, causing downtime.
The mud cleaner is a mesh with tiny holes that prevent solids from entering the mud. This happens right after the mud is put through a hydrocyclone. The mesh allows particles smaller than barite to pass. Since barite can be used in thicker drilling solutions, the mud cleaner not only helps with the current drilling, but also helps reuse resources for future projects.
4. Sand Pumps
While a variety of pumps are used in the oilfield drilling process, sand pumps address the need of moving deposits away from the drilling site. Sand pumps are most often placed in oil or other fluid tanks that have filled with sand. These pumps use a grooved disk that rotates around a central axis.
Any particles that come in contact with this grooved surface will be removed. These particles will then be carried through a pipe system away from the site. Though called sand pumps, these are also used to move other materials. Apart from cleaning and maintaining tanks, sand pumps replace the use of manual labor or other machinery to carry particles away from the oilfield site.
5. Stabbing Guides
The incorrect alignment of drilling pipes during a drilling project can cause downtime due to pipe damage and threat-related downtime. Stabbing guides are used to align pins to box threads for an accurate, damage-free connection. For more intense industries such as oil drilling, stabbing guides can also help protect against impact, corrosion, and extreme temperatures.
Pipe-handling safety is also increased due to the lowered risk of damage to tube threading, bail arms, or single joint elevators, which could result in dropped objects from the derrick.
It’s important to note that these oilfield drilling tools are not mutually exclusive. Oilfield drilling requires that these tools, along with many others, come together in a cohesive workflow. Proper piping is needed to carry solids away from the drilling site. Drilling can only continue if cleaned fluids are returned to the drill. The tools listed are essential to a successful oil drilling project. And understanding how they work together is even more essential.