Poor solids control on extended-reach wells impaired drilling efficiency and increased costs. Issues included: 

  • Excessive mud consumption 
  • High sand/solids content


A customized solids control system with four high-G-force shakers, a desander, and a desilter was recommended to replace the old airflow/vacuum type system.


  • The new system immediately set new performance records compared to the previous system. 
  • Reduced mud consumption, which saved the operator up to USD 960,000 per well 
  • Sand content remained less than 1 percent by volume during drilling operations 
  • Successfully lowered operational costs, equating to savings of approximately USD 1.1 million per well

Excessive mud consumption, high sand/solids content in ERD operations

An operator drilling extended-reach wells (ERWs) offshore Brazil wanted to improve drilling efficiency by optimizing the solids control equipment (SCE).

On past wells, the operator encountered excessive mud consumption due to fluid retained on the drill solids, along with out-of-spec values on mud density, sand content, and low-gravity solids (LGS). On those wells, the SCE system relied on a combination of high air flow and vacuum to separate the drilling fluid from the drilled solids – a departure from the high-G-force shakers typically installed on rigs. A change in SCE strategy was clearly needed.

The fluid selected was an inhibitive water-based mud (WBM). The goals for this operation included reducing fluid consumption and ensuring that the WBM properties remained within specified parameters. Enhanced solids removal would help accomplish these objectives and improve the rate of penetration (ROP)

Baroid develops customized SCE solutions and KPI guidelines

Using the BaraSolve® engineering process, the Baroid Surface Solutions (BSS) team analyzed several factors that contribute to drilling efficiency. They recommended an SCE configuration that would address the unique conditions arising from the extended-reach drilling (ERD) operations in this field.

The installation of new equipment on the rig meant comparing the performance of the new system to the previously used SCE. The Baroid technical team provided the operator with a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) that would focus on the issues encountered in the past and identify any improvements achieved with the new SCE configuration.

The Baroid team created a solids removal efficiency guideline specifically for this customer’s operations, which outlined the KPIs and responsibilities of the participating companies. It was used to optimize system design and implementation.

The Baroid Latin America technical advisor and the local BSS group participated in the engineering phase, including the installation and commissioning of four high-G-force DP-626 shakers, an SE-16 4-inch desilter, and a DE-1000 decanting centrifuge.

The new system proved to be the right choice, as shown in the results table below. The sand content remained less than 1 percent by volume v/v throughout the drilling operations, and the LGS content remained within the specified limit. Drilling efficiency, fluid consumption, and solids control removal efficiency were achieved per the customer’s expectations and the KPIs agreed upon for these wells.

Optimized SCE system leads to cost reductions totaling USD 1.1 million

The overall savings achieved per well with the new SCE configuration are shown as follows:

Drilling fluid (reduced consumption): USD 960,000

SCE system cost reduction: USD 150,000

Total savings per extended-reach well: USD 1,110,000

Also, the operator reported saving costs non-related directly to the Baroid work scope, as described below:

Reimbursement MWD/LWD repair (sand always ≤ 1% with new shakers): USD 40,000

Progress impairment (ROP, NPT, waiting invisible NPT): USD 525,000

Total savings per extended-reach well: USD 565,000

Several additional benefits were realized with the new SCE system:

  • Maintaining sand content at less than 1 percent by volume helped reduce the risk of tool failure and equipment washout.
  • Improved mud properties significantly decreased the dump and dilute rate, and the consumption of mud additives.
  • The ability to produce drier cuttings also resulted in lower mud consumption.
  • The operator was able to drill with considerably higher flow rates, which aided in effective hole cleaning and higher ROPs.
  • The operator expressed appreciation for Baroid’s proactive strategies for overcoming drilling challenges and delivering higher levels of performance.
1 MM

USD savings per well with new SCE configuration

< 1%

Sand content by volume maintained


USD savings non-related to the work scope

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