General Guidelines

  1. Shale shakers should run continuously while circulating. Cuttings cannot be separated from drilling fluid if the shaker is not in motion.
  2. Drilling fluid should cover most of the screen. If the drilling fluid only covers one-fourth to one-third of the screen, the screen mesh is too coarse.
  3. Torn screens should be repaired or replaced at once. Holes in panel screens can become plugged preventing cutting removal. Install screens according to manufacturer's recommended installation procedures.
  4. Shaker screen replacements should be made as quickly as possible. This will decrease the amount of cuttings remaining in the drilling fluid because the shale shaker is not operational. Locate and arrange tools and screens prior to actual replacement. If possible, replace the screens during a connection. In critical situations, pumps may be shut down (or slowed) and drilling stopped while screens are being replaced.
  5. Water should be added downstream and not in the possum belly (or back tank) or onto the shale shaker screen.
  6. Except in cases of lost circulation, the shale shaker should not be by-passed, even for a short time.
  7. The possum belly (or back tank) should not be emptied into the sand trap or mud tank system before making a trip. This will eliminate cuttings moving down the tank system and plugging desilters as the next drill bit starts drilling.

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