In their efforts to optimize solids control systems, companies in this region have implemented improvements in both the equipment design and operational performance, in order to reduce fluid maintenance costs and decrease the volumes of fluid lost on the cuttings. These improvements helped to optimize the operation and the number of units used during the operation, while maintaining excellent mechanical removal efficiency in the solids control units.

In 2001, after completing a comprehensive evaluation of the "dryer centrifuge" system used in Venezuela by PDVSA-Oriente, a major drilling fluids company proposed that PDVSA test a new array in the solids control equipment (SCE) system. The first phase addressed the incorporation of a flow distributor at the end of the return line and the redistribution of the flow line shakers in parallel form. The results obtained in this first phase made it possible to propose new recommendations implemented in a second phase of the optimization study, which was based on reduction of the number of units (de-incorporation of the screw conveyor and the dryer screen) and optimization in the design of the screen mesh.

This paper presents the results obtained by applying a new focus for evaluation and optimization of solids control services on drilling rigs. The optimization plan was carried out on nine rigs. Costs associated with solids control service were reduced because fewer units were needed, less fluid volume required processing, the screen design allowed for a more efficient consumption rate, and the volume of fluids to be disposed of environmentally were monitored and managed better. Moreover, the technical competency of the field personnel was improved and, even though fewer units were used, a good balance was maintained between efficient service and the removal of fluid from the drill cuttings.

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