The assignee for this patent, patent number 8506821, is
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Embodiments disclosed herein relate generally to systems and methods of dewatering return drilling mud at a drilling location. More specifically, embodiments disclosed here relate to systems and methods of dewatering return drilling mud, including a sand trap, at a drilling location.
"Generally, waste management dewatering systems separate solids and fine particles from the liquid phase of drilling fluid, thereby leaving a clarified aqueous solution. In a drilling operation, dewatering allows the cleaning of waste fluids, such as, drilling fluids including low gravity solids, chemicals, drill cuttings, and other waste products mixed with water from the rotary table, mud tanks, mud pumps, generators and from any other discharge point around a drilling rig. Typically, dewatering waste management systems clean drilling fluid through coagulation, flocculation, and/or mechanical separation.
"Coagulation occurs when the electrostatic charge on a solid is reduced, destabilizing the solid and allowing it to be attracted to other solids by
"Traditionally, methods for removing solids from solutions in the dewatering of drilling fluid included the replication of the natural mud flocculation mechanisms using either calcium or chlorine based ion contamination. Lime and various chloride sources (e.g., AlCl.sub.3) were used for flocculation. The solid aggregates could then be separated out by gravity filtration and/or a mechanical device, as described above. However, with the introduction of non-dispersed, inhibitive water-based drilling fluids (e.g., partially-hydrolyzed polyacrylamide and KCl), the clay particles within a mud system were already conditioned to resist ion contamination (i.e., resistant to flocculation and/or aggregation). Thus, the dewatering of water-based drilling fluids requires multi-charge, high molecular weight polymers for flocculation.
"Typically, polymers used for flocculation are manufactured in dry form and mixed by dewatering system operators into a solution prior to treating a mud system. Also, because the dry polymer is added to a liquid, an aging process is required to activate the dry polymers. Additionally, these polymers tend to be hygroscopic, and as such, have a limited shelf life. Thus, when housed in outdoor storage facilities, such as typically occurs in current commercial drilling operations, the hygroscopic polymers take on water from the environment, thereby decreasing their effective life. Also, the polymers in current commercial systems are typically exposed to wide temperature variations, further resulting in decreased effective life. Due to the need of polymer solution aging, batch mixing, and the limited shelf life in current commercial systems, management of dry flocculant dewatering systems is costly and resource dependent.
"In response to the increased use of water-based drilling fluids, many companies now manufacture invert emulsion liquid flocculants and coagulants that provide increased activity and shelf life. However, due to their nanoemulsion formulation, these products require high energy for emulsion breaking and activation. Also, the liquid flocculants and coagulants still experience decreased shelf life when exposed to moisture and wide temperature variation. Thus, the liquid flocculants and coagulants do not always work effectively in current commercial systems.
"Accordingly, there exists a need for systems and methods for dewatering used drilling mud at a drilling location."
In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, NewsRx editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "In one aspect, embodiments disclosed herein relate to a system for processing drilling mud, the system including a primary separation tank having an inlet for receiving drilling waste and an outlet in fluid communication with a feed line, and an injection pump in fluid communication with a polymer tank and the feed line. The system also includes a clarifying tank in fluid communication with the feed line and a first collection tank, wherein effluent from the clarifying tank is discharged into the first collection tank, and a centrifuge in fluid communication with the clarifying tank and a second collection tank, wherein effluent from the centrifuge is discharged into the second collection tank.
"In another aspect, embodiments disclosed herein relate to a method of processing drilling waste including providing a flow of drilling waste from a primary separation device to a primary separation tank, removing coarse particulates from the drilling waste in the primary separation tank, and injecting a polymer into drilling mud removed from the primary separation tank. The method further includes transferring drilling mud to a clarifying tank, removing fine particulates from the clarifying tank, transferring an effluent from the clarifying tank to a collection tank, and transferring the fine particulates from the clarifying tank to a centrifuge. Additionally, the method includes removing additional fine particulates from the effluent with the centrifuge and transferring a second effluent from the centrifuge to a second collection tank.
"Other aspects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following description and the appended claims."
For more information, see this patent: Pruett, John O.; Fout, Gary E.. Dewatering System. U.S. Patent Number 8506821, filed
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