What Does a Solid Control Do?

A solids control system can help a drilling company achieve regulatory and environmental compliance while operating on a well. The system includes several components, some of which are standard equipment on a drilling rig and others that are added specifically for a specific well. Because each solids control system is different, the Solids Control Provider must ensure that the system is a good fit for the rig and the drilling program and that each part works effectively and efficiently. Centrifuges, for example, must be correctly sized and rated for fluid rates.


A solid control system is crucial in centrifuge operations, particularly those that process waste materials. A solid control system must be robust enough to resist the harsh environment and high-torque inputs. It also needs to be designed with fewer electrical components to improve ease of use. And it must be fault-tolerant.

The decanter centrifuge uses the same solid separation process as a conventional centrifuge but with a different design. The scroll acts as a scraper and conveys the settled solids to an underflow discharge port. In addition, this design has a cylindrical bowl instead of a conical one. The cylindrical bowl is preferable for drilling fluids applications and provides more capacity.

Oil and gas drilling fluids are commonly processed using decanter centrifuges. They are typically used after a desander, vacuum degasser, and shale shaker. The decanter centrifuges increase the gravitational force on the drilling fluids. The result is a higher d50 cut point.

Shale Shakers

Shale shakers are essential for solids control, and operators must have the right equipment to do the job properly. Shakers must have the appropriate capacity and be hydraulically balanced. They should also have sufficient mixing and recirculation capacity. Shakers should be operated with the appropriate spare parts, and operators should designate rig personnel for operating the shakers. Operators should also request that their shakers undergo a commissioning process and a written training program.

Shale shakers are used for degassing drilling fluid. It is because drilling fluids from petroleum-prospective areas will contain trapped gas. This gas must be removed before the fluid is pumped back down the hole. To avoid this problem, a shale shaker is equipped with a degasser. This degasser can be atmospheric or vacuum-type.


Hydrocyclones are a proven method for solids control in the minerals industry. Hydrocyclones have advantages over other ways, including reducing operational costs and improving economics. They can also be retrofitted into existing fields. Hydrocyclones have been used in laboratory and field trials for brine removal, oil cleaning, and produced water treatment. They can also be used as a replacement for fine and coarse filters.

Hydrocyclones are made of a cylindrical or conical shell with a bottom outlet. These devices use centrifugal force to force heavier solid particles to the top and smaller, lighter particles to the bottom. The result is a separation of solid particles from slurries. Hydro cyclones also serve as desanders and desilters, separating fine and medium particles.


Desilter is solid control equipment used in the oil and gas industry. It is usually used with the hydrocyclone assembly and the under-fluid shale shaker. The desilter removes the solids phase from the drilling fluid and allows the usable mud to be recycled into a tank. The most common desilter in the oil and gas industry is the 4” hydrocyclone, but other sizes can be customized for specific applications. Its size primarily depends on the desired mudflow and the number of solids that need to be removed from the fluid. Desilters can be interchanged with Derricks.

A desilter should be operated at the recommended pressure for the desilter’s feed manifold. This pressure is normally between 70 and 80 feet of head. However, this pressure should not be too high as it can cause excessive wear and tear on the desilter cones. In addition, if the feed pressure is too high, the cones may not be able to separate the solids efficiently.

Objectives of Solids Control

As the oil and gas industry continues to expand the depth of its wells and the lateral sections of its wells, solids control is becoming increasingly critical to the success of drilling operations. The industry is also facing stricter regulations and increasingly difficult drilling environments. As a result, it is essential to develop solids control technologies that minimize costs and waste volume.

Solids control is a process in which solids are separated from drilling fluid. The process is carried out using a drill bit. Normally, a solids control system includes five stages: the mud tank, the shale shaker, a vacuum degasser, a desander, and a centrifuge.