With increased focus on safety and environmental stewardship since the start of the Marcellus boom, drilling and exploration companies have searched for safer and more environmentally responsible methods of managing wastes and solids. One area of particular concern is using an excavator to handle drill cuttings for treatment or disposal.
The process is inherently dangerous, creating multiple pinch points and expanding the back yard footprint by requiring extensive red zones. It also exposes the drillers to increased environmental risk as dripping and spills are possible. Additionally, in some applications, processing equipment is not able to run at peak efficiency as the equipment is fed a bucketful ofmaterial at a time rather than a steady and consistent flow. As these risks and drawbacks have become more unacceptable, many companies have sought an excavator-less backyard for the disposal of cuttings.
The innovative team at Beitzel Corporation is pleased to announce the development of the Mudster system to provide a safe, cost-effective solution that eliminates the excavator from the backyard and reduces the required footprint. Additionally, Beitzel provides custom tank and conveyance solutions to best meet rig needs and configurations. The patent pending Mudster system is a revolutionary design that will transform the backyard with greater layout flexibility than what was previously possible.
The Mudster system operates with the push of a few buttons and is comprised of three primary features. A mud tank, while customizable, is typically large enough to hold up to 140 barrels of material. This tank collects cuttings from the rig shaker allowing the rig to continue drilling even if the backyard processing equipment is shut down for maintenance. This storage tank functions as a flow control buffer feeding fluids recovery equipment at an optimal rate. The second feature of the system is an infinitely variable positive displacement pump. By metering the feed rate, Beitzel Corporation is able to feed processing equipment at an optimal rate improving processing time and efficiency. The pump is capable of pushing cuttings over 200 feet horizontally and over 30 feet vertically. Cuttings processing equipment can now be placed at a convenient location on the pad. The third key component of the system is an elevated platform that is designed to house processing equipment up to 15 feet above the surface of the pad for direct discharge into haul off equipment. The stand is designed to accommodate roll-off boxes, dump trucks, or semi-trailers. By collecting, pumping, and discharging cuttings directly into the haul off equipment, the excavator is no longer needed to process or dispose of cuttings.
In addition to eliminating the excavator, operators can also eliminate the extra storage boxes that increase the footprint and cost of the operation. By eliminating the excavator and extra storage, the Mudster is cost competitive with current backyard setups while increasing safety, reducing environmental risk, reducing the risk of rig shut down, and providing a more flexible and convenient rig setup. When paired with the correct solids control equipment, the Mudster provides cuttings disposal without an excavator or additional solidification costs.