103 Shale Shaker


American Association of Drilling Engineers

Shale Shakers and Drilling Fluid Systems

Copyright © 1999 by Butterworth-Heinemann. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission of the publisher.

Originally published by Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, TX.

10 9876543

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Shale shakers and drilling fluid systems, p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-88415-948-5 (acid-free)

1. Shale shakers. 2. Drilling muds. I. Gulf Publishing Company. TN871.27.S53 1999

622'.3381—dc21 99-13067

Printed in the United States of America. Printed on acid-free paper («>).

Shale Shakers and

Drilling Fluid Systems

The following members of the Joint Industry Shaker Technology Committee, individually and collectively, have made contributions to this book:

James Andrews C. S. Adkins, Jr Jason Bradley Bill Cagle Tom Carter Roger DeSpain Bob DeWolfe Robert Dugal Matt Frankl Charles Grichar Jerry Haston Ben Hiltl Michael Kargl Gordon Lawson

Robert Lee Albert Lew Walter Liljestrand Bob Line Bill Love Charles Marshall Steve Matlock Bob McKenzie James Merrill Mark Morgan Keith Morton Mike Montgomery Ron Morrison Bernard Murphy

Robert Murphy Carter Ness John Oeffner Bob Palmer Nace Peard Elvis Rich Leon Robinson Tim Sneider Ken Seyffert Brad Smolen Wiley Steen Grant Young


For the purposes of this disclaimer, "committee" is defined as the committee of industrial experts sponsored by the American Association of Drilling Engineers who have individually and jointly written and edited the text material. The text material contained herein is defined, for the purposes of this disclaimer, as the "work."

The committee makes no warranties, express, implied, or statutory, with respect to the work, including, without limitation, any warranties of merchantability, or fitness for a particular purpose; and/or any warranties of the safety or results of the recommendations contained herein.

The committee does not guarantee results or safety. All interpretations used to create the work, and all recommendations based upon such interpretations, are opinions of a group of experts assembled to discuss the inferences from measurements and empirical relationships, and on assumptions, which inferences and assumptions are neither infallible nor necessarily the opinion of all of the individual members of the committee, and competent specialist may differ. In addition, such interpretations, recommendations, and descriptions may involve the opinion and judgment of the user of this technology. Anyone using this information has full responsibility for all actions, interpretations, recommendations, and descriptions based upon this work. The committee cannot and does not warrant the accuracy, correctness, or completeness of any action, interpretation, recommendation, or description. Under NO circumstance should any action, interpretation, recommendation, or description be relied upon as the basis for any drilling, completion, well-site activity, production, or any financial decision, or any procedure involving any risk to the safety of any drilling venture, drilling rig, or drilling crews, or any other individual. The user of this technology has full, and complete responsibility for all decisions concerning any procedure or information resulting from application of technology described in the work. Any person, company, or other entity using the technology contained in the work agrees that the committee shall have no liability to the user of this technology or to any third party for any ordinary, special, or consequential damages or losses which may arise directly, or indirectly, by reason of using the information contained in the work. Users of this technology shall protect, indemnify, hold harmless, and defend committee from any loss, cost, damage, or expense, including attorneysi fees, arising from any claim asserted against committee that is in any way associated with the matters set forth in this disclaimer.

In summary, the technology described in this work is the consensus of a group of experts, but the application of this technology must be done in a professional manner that does not risk safety of personnel or equipment. Suggestions made in this work do not relieve the user from the ultimate responsibility of applying this information in a safe manner.


Acknowledgments, xi Preface, xiii


Historical Perspective

The Evolution of Solids Separation Devices 6 • Index to Archival Composite Catalog Pages 11


Shale Shakers


Introduction 87

Why Control Drilled Solids? 85 • Filter Cakes 87 • Plastic Viscosity 88 • Wear 88 Carrying Capacity 88 • Drilling Fluid Costs 89 • Waste Management 90


The Role of Shale Shakers 91

How a Shale Shaker Screens Fluid 92 • Shaker Description 93 Shale Shaker Limits 94 • Shaker Development Summary 96


Shale Shaker Design 97

Shapes of Motion 97 • Vibrating Systems 102 • Deck Design 103 "G"-Factor 103 • Power Systems 105


Shaker Applications 109

Selection of Shale Shakers 109 • Selection of Shaker Screens 109 Cascade Systems 111 • Dryer Shakers 113 • Non-Oilfield Drilling Uses of Shale Shakers 114


Shaker User's Guide 115

Installation 115 • Operation 116 • Maintenance 116 General Guidelines 117* Comparison and Analysis of Shale Shaker Performance 117 • Conclusions 119


Shale Shaker Screens 120

Common Screen Cloth Weaves 120


Solids Control Management


Solids Control Equipment 139

Suction and Testing Section 139 • Additions Section 140 • Removal Section 141 Piping and Equipment Arrangement 141 • Surface Tanks 142 • Gumbo Removal 143 • Sand Traps 143 • Degassers 143 • Hydrocyclones 143 Mud Cleaners 154 • Centrifuges 155 • Dewatering Unit 162 Removal Section Arrangement 162

Sand Trap Shale Shaker


Derrickman's Pages 224


Equipment Guidelines 226


Pre-Well Checklist 235


Troubleshooting Guide 237


Shaker Manufacturers 240

Glossary 279

Index 333


This handbook has been written by a group of dedicated engineers, scientists, and drilling operations personnel to explain many of the complex functions of drilled solids management. These people toiled without pay and dedicated many hours of their own time to this endeavor.

Our committee has been fortunate to have several members who made significant contributions and are no longer active in the solids control industry. In recognizing these individuals we, in our small way, seek to preserve their names for future generations:

George Stonewall Ormsby is famous for contributions to understanding all aspects of drilled solids control and management. His name is well known to early students of this technology because he became an evangelical prophet for this technology long before others actually recognized and understood the importance of good solids control. He was a major contributor and technically competent editor of the IADC Mud Equipment Manual. George has retired and is enjoying life. We miss his wisdom, controversies, guidance, outspoken comments, and understanding. We would like to name George as one of the technical giants of this technology.

Walter Liljestrand, although retired and well past his 80th birthday, actively assisted in this book. As our text developed, he contributed sound engineering logic in very simple terms. Before retiring, Walter invented and developed the atmospheric degasser. He, also, was a member of the IADC Mud Equipment Manual Committee, author of the Centrifugal Pump Handbook, and co-author of the Degasser Handbook. His impact on this committee, however, reached far beyond these achieve ments. Walter was a natural teacher and possessed the ability to explain very complex engineering technology clearly and concisely.

Gordon Lawson joined our IADC Mud Equipment Committee shortly after it was formed and remained a faithful contributor until his death several years ago. His expertise was to take technology from textbooks and apply that technology and concepts at drilling rigs. His career started with a major solids control service company and he then became a contract drilling supervisor. With an understanding of the fundamental principals of drilling, he brought practical experience to the committee and to the editing process.

Grant Bingham made an indelible impact on drilling and solids control. After serving in the United States Marine Corps in the South Pacific during World War II, Grant returned to Princeton to receive his master's degree in engineering. Grant began working for Shell as roughneck and eventually wrote several extensive papers on drilling theory while working for Shell Development. Grant's career eventually led him to solids control. While working for Milchem, an offshoot of the Milwhite Company, his research converted the Mobil rotary mud separator (RMS) from a research tool, with an infinite number of variable changes, into a field-usable centrifuge. Under Grant's leadership, a hydraulic test shaker was constructed that permitted testing of different types of motion and deck angles. As a result of these tests, one of the oil field's first linear motion shakers was developed. Grant's interest in solids control was exhibited through years of service in organizations such as the IADC Mud Equipment Committee until his final retirement.

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In 1974 the Mud Equipment Manual Committee (MEMC) was formed as a subcommittee of the I ADC Drilling Technology Committee. This group wrote the IADC Mud Equipment Manual. It comprised many interested and informed industry participants. The task required 10 years to complete. All but two of the original committee members remained for the entire time as more experts joined the effort.

The charge of that committee was to address the factors relating to mechanical solids control and their relationship to overall drilling fluid system performance, and to publish findings in an "easy-to-read" format for dissemination to drilling engineers and drilling crew. The culmination of this work was the publication of eleven handbooks. The books included an Introduction to Drilling Fluids and Solids Control Treatment, Drilling Fluid System Arrangements, a handbook on each piece of mechanical solids control equipment and accessory equipment such as pumps, valves, and disposal systems. The last handbook was published in the early 1980s.

Soon afterwards, the Drilling Technology Committee of the IADC formed another subcommittee named the Rig Instrumentation and Measurements (RIM) Committee. Most of the original members of the MEMC became members of the RIM Committee. The RIM Committee formed six task groups: Safety, Rig Floor Instrumentation, Data Telemetry, Solids Control, Well Control, and Measurement While Drilling (MWD). The Safety Task Group published its documentation in one of the IADC/SPE conference preprints; the Data Telemetry Task Group developed a standard for data transmission that became an API Recommended Practice; the MWD Task Group became an international society sponsored by the Society of Professional Well Log Analysts. The Solids Control Task Group decided that the innovations in shale shakers and screen designs require a rewrite of Handbook 3: Shale Shakers.

A situation arose that caused the Solids Control Task Group to seek another sponsor. The

American Association of Drilling Engineers (AADE) and the American Filtration Society (AFS) sponsored a Second Shale Shaker Technology Conference held in Houston, Texas on Feb. 6-7, 1991. The AADE steadfastly supported the rewrite effort for the new Shale Shaker Handbook and was responsible for expanding the handbook into this textbook on Solids Control Equipment.

All manufacturers of shakers and screens were invited to join the committee and an active campaign was conducted to solicit all viewpoints and their assistance in developing this book. It is greatly expanded from the initial book that precipitated the endeavor. This book is written for a broad audience: derrickmen and drilling foremen will find practical help; drilling engineers will find design and technical data to assist in understanding drilled solids management. Most members of the committee not only edited the text but made written contributions.

This book is dedicated to improving the understanding of drilled solids management. A shale shaker is the first in a series of devices that remove undesirable drilled solids from a drilling fluid. The other equipment, gumbo busters, desanders, desilters, mud cleaners, and centrifuges are described as well as the tank arrangements necessary for correct performance. An understanding of technology is frequently revealed by the history of developments. The first section describes events and equipment created as solids removal equipment and drilling fluid technology matured. This history is traced through advertising material printed in the World Oil's Composite Catalogs. As the book developed, the committee felt that it should also explain many other facets of drilled solids management on a drilling rig. For this reason, the book also contains information about:

  • Dilution
  • Calculating drilled solids concentration in a discard stream (or in the drilling fluid)
  • Dewatering
  • Centrifugal pumps
  • Electric motors
  • Clear, specific directions for rig personnel to ensure the proper operation of the shale shaker

In this book bold-faced words are further defined in the Glossary at the end of the book. Such words may appear more than once in the text if it seems appropriate to assure the reader that a definition is available.

This book required more than nine years to write and edit. Patience, dedication, many long hours of writing and editing, and evaluation of the latest technology has been contributed by members of this committee. The total value of the professional time required to create this book is enormous; some half jokingly say it rivals the budget of some states. Many members of this committee have been volunteers for more than 20 years—the industry owes them abundant accolades, which they will accept in lieu of royalties from the sales of this book. The committee would also like to express its appreciation to Gulf Publishing Company for publishing this book in a dismal oil-patch economic environment.

Leon Robinson, Ph.D. Committee chairman

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