HDD Equipment Spotlight: Shakers and Screen Technology

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Conventional mud systems owned by Directional Service South of Bossier City, Louisiana, were struggling to recycle the drilling mud effectively.

Each horizontal directional drilling (HDD) rig — two 440,000-lb rigs and one 625,000-lb rig, typically circulating 375 gpm and drilling up to 44-in. holes — was paired with a mud recycling system having four conventional shakers running flat mesh screens. DSS also utilized a secondary mud system with two additional conventional shakers for further polishing of the primary mud system overflow and to perform mud mixing.

The drills were required to stop frequently allowing sufficient time for the mud system to process the mud returns from downhole. Additionally, mud pump rebuilds were required every few weeks, with costs as high as $10,000 per month per pump.

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Directional Service South’s objectives included implementing a single high-performance system (replacing the six shaker system presently in use) that could effectively mix and recycle mud at rates up to 375 gpm, assuring the mud system was no longer the bottleneck of the drilling operation and reducing the frequency of rebuilding their mud pumps.

After spending time at Derrick Equipment Co.’s Houston test tank facility observing various Derrick shaker demonstrations, Directional Service South decided to upgrade one of its two shaker mud systems with Derrick Hyperpool shakers.

Drilling or tunneling performance is directly related to the overall cleaning ability of the separation equipment. Drilled solids remaining in the slurry have numerous adverse effects on the overall operation, significantly reducing its profitability. Consequently, selecting the proper separation equipment for your fleet is just as critical as choosing the correct drill or tunnel boring machine.

Derrick has offered premium slurry separation and desanding equipment to the worldwide microtunneling, horizontal directional drilling, large diameter tunneling, slurry wall/foundation drilling, water well drilling, and other civil construction industries for nearly 30 years. Throughout this time, Derrick has remained dedicated to complete in-house manufacturing of every machine, screen panel, and tank system. Each unit is created and assembled at Derrick’s Buffalo, New York headquarters facility.

One Hyperpool shaker would handle primary screening, while the second unit, fitted with a 10-cone inline desilter package, would handle finer particle separation. Both shakers would utilize Derrick Pyramid screens that fully comply with API RP13C standards.

Immediate results were seen after Directional Service South placed its first upgraded mud system into service in December 2016 in the Houston area.

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According to Directional Service South co-owner Jake Gautreaux, the Derrick Hyperpool shakers have exceeded expectations by providing the following benefits:

Reduced Non-Productive Time:

  • The two Hyperpool shakers effectively handled the mud returns at 375 gpm, eliminating the frequent drill rig hold-ups due to inefficient mud processing.
  • Frequency of mud pump rebuilds has been reduced dramatically. Typical rebuild intervals for high pressure pumps has improved from every few weeks to six months or better. This improved service life is due largely to improved solids removal efficiencies from the Hyperpool shakers and Pyramid screens, and maintaining a lower sand content, which now ranges from trace amounts to 1/4 percent.
  • DSS estimates pump repair cost savings can be as much as $50,000 per pump over a six-month period.

Derrick Hyperpool ShakerMajor reduction in screen consumption:

  • Derrick’s patented Pyramid Screens improved processing capacity and provided significantly longer screen life
  • The initial screen requirement has been reduced from 24 screens to eight screens. For a single crossing, which can exceed 8,000 ft in length, no more than eight screen panel changes have been required.
  • Directional Service South estimates a reduction in screen costs in excess of 40 percent.

Increased HSE benefits:

  • Greatly reduced shaker noise output increases rig crew safety.
  • Unlike the previous conventional system that used wedges to hold down much heavier pre-tensioned panels, the far more user-friendly Derrick unique spring compression system encourages rig crews to change screens when needed. Together with lightweight screen panels, which allow for one-minute screen changes, this system has yielded significant HSE benefits.

In addition to the performance improvement, Gautreaux found that working with Derrick has been a “pleasure.” He has also found that the technical recommendations have been spot on in terms of the various upgrades to their mud systems, screen panel selection, and field troubleshooting.

The Derrick Hyperpool shakers and innovative PMD screen technology have resulted in a much more cost-effective drilling program by drastically reducing non-productive time and operating costs and allowing for increased downhole production.

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With full confidence in the Derrick Hyperpool shakers, Pyramid screen technology, and first-class technical support, Directional Service South has now paired all three of its big rigs with an upgraded mud system each utilizing two Hyperpool shakers.

Anja Stanojčić is marketing coordinator at Derrick Equipment Co.

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