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The Use of Decanter Centrifuges in The Oil and Gas Industry

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Decanter centrifuges are an essential component of many drilling operations, as their use can contribute to dramatic effects on drilling performance. Without them, many advances while drilling would not be possible.

Decanter centrifuges are used in the oil and gas industry to:

1- Reduce the content of solids, specifically fines, in drilling mud.

2- Recovering barite from spent drilling fluid to help reduce the cost of adding on additives.

The ultimate goal of a decanter centrifuge is to reduce the plastic viscosity of drilling fluid. This improves drilling rates of penetration and reduces wear on bits, pumps, related equipment; equipment typically damaged as a result of accelerated wear caused by high shear forces that occur during well servicing/fracking processes.

Ultimately, the use of decanter centrifuges enhances drilling fluid properties (via centrifugal force), therefore improving overall rig performance (i.e. increased rates of penetration, improved cake wall stability, reduced bit torque and reduce pipe drag).

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Commercial solids are used in drilling fluids to provide desired density, viscosity, and filtration control. Additional drilled and sloughed solids become part of the fluid during the drilling process. These formation solids, as well as barite particles, when present in excessive concentrations, are detrimental to drilling-fluid performance and are considered to be contaminants. 

Commercial solids are used in drilling fluids to provide desired density, viscosity, and filtration control. Additional drilled sloughed solids become part of the fluid during this process, while formation solids (as well barite particles) can be detrimental to drilling-fluid performance if they are present at too high concentrations.

Decanter centrifuges are commonly used to "cut" or separate solids from the incoming influent. This separation creates two different streams that are then further processed.

Typically, the cut is considered as the “underflow” (also known as “solids discharge”, “cake”, and/or “heavy phase effluent”) while the cleaned liquid stream (also known as “centrate” or “light phase effluent”) is considered as the “overflow”. The centrate is the material that will contain most of the liquid and the finer solids.  On the other hand, the cake is the material that contains less liquid and coarser solids.  

The goal in this separation process is to remove all ultrafine and solids (above a certain particle size) from the drilling fluid.

Decanter centrifuges for barite recovery

A decanting centrifuge is a useful tool used for improving the recovery of valuable weighting material from drilling mud. It's also used in weighted applications that must remove any unwanted solids content because it can create excessive problems when discharged into water sources where it could cause pollution or toxicity issues.

Decanter centrifuges settle out barite and coarse drilled solids, which are later returned to the active mud system to maintain density for an efficient recovery process.

Ideally, the barite recovery process should remove only solids without losing larger particle sizes like weighting material. Discarding potentially reusable barites increases costs and can be reduced when using a centrifuge which maximizes liquid/solids separation from the rock during separations in order to minimize waste disposal problems associated with these materials.

For “Barite Recovery” operations, service providers pair two centrifuges together and use them to separate solids of different sizes - one for particles between 10 and 100μm (the first decanter) while another removes those smaller than this range.

Resources from the secondary treatment of barite-bearing drilling fluids have an increased value when it comes to reusing the solids. For this reason, Barite Recovery's traditional intent is focused on maintaining larger amounts, such as those classified by API Fine and Ultrafine (assuming that most medium through coarse sized particles were removed during primary solid control systems).

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Decanter centrifuges for drilling mud separation

Decanter centrifuges are a valuable tool for the separation of drilling mud and drill cuttings. Decanting drilling mud and cuttings is a process that decants the heavier particles like gravel or clay from watery lighter materials such as oil, gasoline, decanted oils.

This allows for oil producers to ensure product quality and reduce environmental damage by removing these harmful materials that can cause fish fatalities and clog waterways, and affecting vegetation and wildlife habitats.

Drill cuttings can contain naturally occurring chemicals from rocks, petroleum source materials, and other harmful materials which are dangerous to marine life. Because of this, proper decanter centrifuge decantation needs to be done to remove these harmful chemicals from the drill cuttings before they can harm or interfere with aquatic ecosystems.

Benefits

  • Oil production companies benefit from using decanter centrifuges because decanting drilling mud and cuttings allows for tighter control over the quality of oil produced. This means it can be easily decanted to ensure its quality before being sold to customers.

  • Oil producers also benefit from decanting residues as they are able to reclaim valuable natural materials such as lubricating oils, solvents, or latex aggregate.

  • Material separation is a process that decants heavy particles like gravels and clays from lighter materials like oil and gasoline; this allows oil producers to ensure product quality and reduces environmental damage by removing harmful components that can cause fish fatalities and clog waterways, and affecting vegetation and wildlife habitats.

  • Drilling mud decanting is beneficial for oil production companies because decanting drilling mud and cuttings allows for tighter control over the quality of oil produced. This means it can be decanted easily to ensure its quality before being sold to customers.

Are you looking for a new centrifuge?

Vision Machine decanter centrifuges are the most powerful oil separation centrifuges on the market. They are designed to separate oil from water, but they can also be used to separate other liquids and solids.

If you’re looking for an efficient way to separate your oil from water, then look no further than Vision Machine’s line of decanter centrifuges!

At Vision Machine Inc. we specialize in the manufacturing and repair of horizontal decanter centrifuges and have been doing so since 2004. Our machines come in different sizes depending on how much you need them to handle - Contact us today about our products and services!

Vision Machine - Centrifuge Manufacturing - Contact Us


References

Common Challenges Relative to the use of a Decanter Centrifuge for Barite Recovery in the Oil & Gas Industry - 
https://elginseparationsolutions.com/common-challenges-to-the-use-of-decanter-centrifuge/


About Vision Machine

Vision Machine Inc. specializes in the manufacturing and repair of horizontal decanter centrifuges and has been doing so since 2004. We offer centrifuge manufacturing, custom centrifuge manufacturing, centrifuge repair, centrifuge replacement parts, and centrifuge controls from leading manufacturers.

From centrifuges that remove high-value solids from liquids, refining processes, or waste minimization, Vision Machine Inc. has a separation system to meet your needs.  Vision Machine works with a variety of industries including the oil and gas sector, refining/petrochemical, agriculture, dairy, municipal, rendering, food & beverage, and horizontal directional drilling.

At Vision Machine, Inc., we pride ourselves on providing our customers with the highest value, the lowest total cost of ownership and easiest to operate separation systems available. All proudly made in America at our Spring, TX facility.