Oil Drilling Mud Waste Dewatering

New rules from the North Dakota Industrial Commission go into effect April 1, 2012 that will provide stricter regulations to the oil industry.

Specifically, oil companies will now be required to separate liquids and drilling mud from rock cuttings. The liquids can then be hauled away for disposal or recycling rather than stored in reserve pits.

Governor Jack Dalrymple, who is part of the Commission, said, “We want to do away with open pits for production wastewater. There are treatment processes available today to clean and recycle these waste liquids so that we leave a lighter footprint on the environment. Our management and oversight must reflect improvements made possible through new technologies.

Aware of the upcoming “No Reserve Pit” regulations, ND based Paragon Water Solutions tested conventional methods such as Centrifuges, Hydrocyclones, Filter Presses and Settling Tanks. In each scenario, they hauled out hundreds of barrels of dirty water, and replaced them with truckloads of clean water.

In January 2011, Paragon contacted ALAR Engineering Corporation, a manufacturer of wastewater separation and water recycling equipment, with a need to dewater water-based drilling mud from active circulating systems where other technologies failed. ALAR recommended the Auto-Vac® rotary vacuum precoat drum; a self-cleaning filter that does not blind or cause bottlenecks, and is forgiving of wastewater variances and thick oily sludge.

A trailer-mounted ALAR system, capable of filtering up to 800 barrels a day, was commissioned in April 2011. A year later the Auto-Vac® continues to filter a combination of wastewaters, producing dry solids and recyclable clean water without the cost and headaches.

Paragon noticed that the Auto-Vac® eliminates the need for reserve pits, which should satisfy the NDIC rule. Their customers claim that the clean water increases the drilling rate of penetration and reduces mud pump and downhole tool wear and maintenance. The dry solids decrease wet tonnage hauling and water truck traffic congestion. Most of all, the dollar savings are substantial. Earlier methods cost Paragon customers up to $66 a barrel; Paragon charges much less utilizing their mobilized Auto-Vac®.

Paragon Water Solutions focusses mainly on water-based drilling fluid reserve pit wastewater in the Williston Basin and Bakken Shale Oil Field.

There are Auto-Vac® systems in the infant stage currently filtering hydraulic fracturing production water in PA and NM; showing promising results. ALAR custom builds sixteen (16) filter sizes to accommodate virtually any volume of wastewater.