Solids control is a technique used in oil drilling. It is typically located on a drilling rig and is used to separate the solids in the drilling mud. These solids are created by the crushing of the drill bits that are carried out of the well surface.
Essentially, solids control is the recycling of the drilling mud, and it saves costs regarding mud quantity and disposal. Although there are other forms of waste management in the oil industry, solids control is one of the best options to drilling waste management and helps to minimize the environmental impact of oil drilling.
Solid control systems contain multiple parts and stages.
Mud tank: Mixes and stores drilling mud
Shale shaker screen: Removes large solids
Hydrocyclones: Speeds up the settling process
Centrifugal screw pumps: Provides feed pressure and volume to operate the hydrocyclone
Desander: Removes medium-sized solids
Desilter: Removes small-sized solids
Vacuum degasser: Removes air from mud agitator
Conveying equipment system: Transports cuttings
Centrifuge: Recovers barite and complies with environmental standards
In order to make the mud quality useful for recirculation, the content of solids in the mud has to be kept below 5%. By reusing mud and fluid multiple times, solids control is a much more economical method of oil drilling.
Reduce Drill Bit Penetration
Keeping the concentration of solids in drilling mud down is also helpful for reducing excess drill bit penetration. This helps to avoid the risk of instability due to long periods with an open borehole. In turn, this reduces drilling costs.