Research Papers: Deep-Water Petroleum

Experimental Evaluation of Separation Methods for a Riser Dilution Approach to Dual Density Drilling

[+] Author and Article Information
John Shelton

 Newpark Drilling Fluids, LLC, Houston, TXJShelton@newpark.com

John Rogers Smith

 Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LAJsmith5@lsu.edu

Anuj Gupta

 Texas A & M University at Qatar, Doha, Qataranuj.gupta@qatar.tamu.edu

J. Energy Resour. Technol 133(3), 031501 (Oct 03, 2011) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4004968 History: Received March 23, 2010; Revised August 24, 2011; Published October 03, 2011

A dual gradient, deepwater drilling system based on dilution of riser mud requires economically separating the riser mud into a low density dilution fluid and a higher density drilling fluid. This study investigated the practicality of accomplishing this separation using hydrocyclones and centrifuges and examined the possible benefits and efficiency of each. The separation experiments were conducted using a laboratory centrifuge and 2 in. hydrocyclones. The laboratory centrifuge was able to separate the riser mud into near ideal densities for dilution and drilling fluid. However, the dense slurry retained in the centrifuge had lower electrical stability than the feed stream. The hydrocyclones achieved much less contrast in density between the low and high density discharges, but their use consistently resulted in a beneficial increase in the stability of the mud emulsion in all of the flow streams and gave more desirable rheological properties. A qualitative comparison indicates that the hydrocyclone separation system may offer a feasible and desirable alternative to a centrifuge separation system.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Wellbore pressure gradients in a dual gradient riser dilution system (after Lopes [7])

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Figure 2

Pressure versus depth for conventional drilling system (after Smith [9])

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Figure 3

Pressure versus depth for a dual gradient riser dilution drilling system (after Smith [9])

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Figure 4

System flow paths in a riser dilution system

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Figure 5

Test stand at L.S.U. well facility

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Figure 6

Hydrocyclone test stand

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Figure 7

Hypothetical two stage hydrocyclone separation scheme based on experimental results



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