FAQ’s: What is the mud system? How to recycle drilling fluid?

FAQ’s: What is the mud system? How to recycle drilling fluid?

The “mud system” is the recovery of drilling mud in the oil and gas industry. Using its worldwide unique vacuum desorption system called VacuDry®, econ industries’ process is able to recycle the expensive drilling fluids in all technical components by practically 100%.

Oil & gas, which is found nowadays in considerable low depths, is made accessible through drill holes in the earth’s crust. Since enormous forces in drilling are required, it is necessary to lubricate the system to reduce frictions and damages. For lubrication, drilling fluids are usedy in order to cool the drill bit and to convey the drill cuttings (stones, gravel) in the liquid and up to the surface.

At present the drillers are using three different major types of drilling fluids: WBF, OBF and SBF drilling fluids. WBF stands for WaterBasedFluid which is based mainly on water with a few additives. OBF means OilBasedFluids, which are mainly based on petroleum products or diesel. SBF stands for SyntheticBasedFluids which is improved by artificially assembled molecules. Depending on the depth of the drill hole and on the geological situation, different drilling fluids are used, whereby WBF and SBF are “environmental” friendly because it’s biodegradable.

The circulation of drill mud is essential to keep the drilling in good operation. The solids and gravels are sieved out and furthermore the mud is centrifuged from the recirculation fluid, but after all the drill fluid is highly loaded with “rock flour”. A following possibility is to add “fresh” fluid to the circulation, but in the end the fluid will be saturated and thereby consumed. Finally you have to exchange the whole drill liquid. The possibilities for the used fluid are dumping, using it as secondary fuel or recovering. Recovering is certainly the best way in terms of technic, environment and economic.

The thermal vacuum desorption process is combining three tasks.

  1. Technically, the gentle process retains the specific components of the drilling fluid. Several trials in our laboratory show that the goal parameters for recovered drilling oil are definitely fulfilled. The goal parameters for flash point > 70°C, TCC (Total contamination) < 1%, water content < 3%, density (15°C) 770 – 870 kg/m³ and viscosity (20°C) 1,6 – 2,8 mPa*s are met. Finally, as shown in the picture, clean drilling fluid and water as well as cleaned soil are the end results.
  2. Environmentally, the overall CO2-footprint of recycled fluid is lower than the one of “new” fluids. It is a real recycling and not a down cycling.
  3. Economically it is cheaper, for the driller to purchase the recycled fluid instead of new synthetic fluids. The vacuum desorption unit pays for itself.

Now it is clear that the thermal desorption process is essential for a “true” recovery of the drilling fluid. For over 20 years econ industries remains true to its motto: Imagine — Zero industrial waste…!

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