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  • Closed-loop drilling system: A viable alternative to reserve waste pits


    D. Rogers, D. Smith, G. Fout and W. Marchbanks

    A uniquely engineered on-site drilling waste treatment system holds the potential for eliminating or dramatically reducing the widespread use of environmentally problematic reserve pits, while lowering costs in the process. Known as de-watering or closed-loop drilling, the process has been used successfully on nearly 40 wells in Lea and Eddy Counties, New Mexico. The technology not only significantly reduces waste volume, long-term liability and costs but the dry condition of the treated material enhances disposal or re-use characteristics. The chemical and mechanical process involves removing and treating drilled solids from the system, with the waste collected in a modified steel catch tank. The pitless drilling process also is equipped with a mud de-watering system consisting of a chemically enhanced centrifuge package. Once the solids and liquids are separated, a front-end loader removes the waste, which is stacked on a specially prepared pad, comprising compacted clay dirt over a plastic liner...

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