Cubility AS, an innovative Norwegian-based company that is helping revolutionise drilling operations and their accompanying solids control issues, has implemented its MudCube solids control system for a 6,000 foot borehole at the Catoosa Test Facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The facility is the largest privately owned and operated downhole testing facility in the United States with clients including NOV, Schlumberger, Halliburton, Scientific Drilling, Enventure, Weatherford, Baker Hughes, GE and many more. Over a two-week period, multiple downhole tools and technologies were tested to drill the borehole.
The MudCube, which has been used in both water-based and oil-based mud tests at Catoosa, is the industry’s first compact solids control system that eliminates the traditional process of shaking fluid and solids. This is achieved via a compact, vacuum-based filtration system that removes solids from drilling fluids through a rotating filter belt that uses high airflow to separate the cuttings from fluids.
The improved separation capabilities of the MudCube leads to better quality mud, fewer chemicals required to maintain its properties, more mud recycled back to the mud tanks to be reused for drilling, and “cleaner” and less waste. The remote, automated operations of the MudCube and its enclosed system also reduces vibration and brings considerable workplace and HSE benefits.
Says Duane Buckmaster, Partner of Catoosa Test Facility, “Since the MudCubes went into operation on our new triple testing rig in mid-2016 – meeting very tight installation timescales – they have surpassed expectations.”
He continues, “Their reliability, ability to quickly change screen requirements and reduce downtime; and provide substantial savings in facility waste costs and dryer cuttings – compared to our original test rig using conventional shakers – has impressed all our clients. It has also enabled us to drill such a deep well without increased solid control issues. We are in no doubt that we have found the most innovative mud control system on the market today.”
Brandon Buzarde, Vice President of International Sales at Cubility continues, “Just as Catoosa is a technology innovator in the field of drilling operations, so the MudCube is redefining the management of fluids and waste in drilling today. We are delighted to be working with the leading testing facility in the United States and enabling their clients to see at first hand the better mud quality, improved efficiencies, and reduced and cleaner waste the MudCubes provide.”
The Catoosa Test Facility currently has 15 cased test wells with casing sizes up to 20 inches wide and 2,000 feet deep and is capable of performing almost any type of drilling technology and evaluation downhole test. Many new drilling technologies are tested at the site and on-site equipment includes drilling rigs, wireline units and a drilling fluids laboratory as well as on-site technical management and coordination.
To date, MudCubes have been installed on North Sea, Middle East, Far East, South American and North American drilling sites offshore and onshore. In 2016, Cubility partnered with EQT Corporation, a US-based company that has become one of the fastest growing natural gas producers in the Marcellus Shale.
The Mudcube is particularly applicable onshore where the rise in drilling costs and declining oil price has increased operator needs to monitor the bottom line as well as meet stringent environmental controls. Initial cost analysis based on various land operations from a fluid cost and disposal standpoint show the MudCube reducing overall operating expenses by as much as 15% per well.