Thermal Desorption Drill Cuttings Treatment System

—A Case Study of OBM Drill Cuttings Disposal Project

Thermal desporption drill cuttings management system was introduced to protect the oilfield area and environment. The goal of any thermal desorption technology is to produce oil-free or ultra-low Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH) solids for disposal by distilling the oils from cuttings and recovering it to be reused as drilling fluid. The material to be treating including but not limited to:

  • Oily Wastes
  • Oily sludge
  • Drill cuttings
  • Sediments

This system is designed to deal with the drill cuttings with high oil content and cannot be treated by cuttings dryer and decanter centrifuges. Even on the same drilling platform, there are apparent differences on colors and material properties of the drilling cuttings.The oil content on cuttings may vary from 15-40%.

1.1     Mud Material


Drilling Cuttings from offshore drilling platform


Oil based drilling cuttings differs greatly from different formation/location

1.2     Thermal Desorption Drill Cuttings Management Plant Overview

thermal desorption drill cuttings management plant

1.3    Main Equipment for Thermal Desorption System of OBM Drill Cuttings

Thermal Desorption System Main Equipment

1.4     Auxiliary and Water Treatment

           Uploading System                 VOC Collection and Treatment System


Water Treatment

2     Treatment Efficiency and Result

2.1     OBM Cuttings Treatment Before and After


Cuttings before treatment Solids after treatment Recovered oil Recycled Water
( to be further treatment)

2.2     Chemical Analysis of OBM Drill Cuttings after Treatment

Item Oil Content (%) Water Content (%) Remarks
Before 18.5 23.1 It is a test result of high solids content cuttings, otherwise, the oil content may be up to 40%
After solid phase 0.46 site 1
0.014 site 2
2 site 3
0.058 0.013 site 4
0.081 0.022 site 5
0.2 site 6
0.1 site 7
recycled oil 89.4 10.6 site 8

3     Initial Proposal

3.1     Technical process

thermal desorption drill cuttings flow chart

thermal desorption drill cuttings flow chart

3.2     Design Basis

Design treating capacity: 3t/h per set; upto 70 tons/day, 20,000 tons/year.

3.2.1 Raw Material to be treated

Item Oil Content (wt.%) Solids (wt.%) Water (wt.%) Density (Kg/L)
feed composition 5 70 10 ~ 20 1.6 ~ 1.9

3.2.2 Product after the treatment

S/N Name Where to Discharge Remarks
1 solids discharge landfill/reuse ooc<0.3%  water content<1%
2 waste water discharge or reuse confirm to gb8978-1996 class1
3 smoke atmosphere confirm to gb18485-2014

3.3     Main Equipment List

S/N Item Qty Unit Dimension mm Remarks
1 centralized control room 1 each 8000x3000x3000
2 Uploading Screw Conveyor 2 each φ400×6000(dxL)
3 TDU Device 1 each 12000x3000x6000
4 oil-gas condensation 1 each 10000x2000x4000
5 water treatment system 1 each
6 product cooling & discharge device 1 each 6000x3000x4000
7 cooled solids conveyor 1 each φ500×8000(dxl)
8 injection device of activated carbon 1 each
9 semi-dry dust cleaning device 1 each 6000x3000x5000
10 spray washing tower 1 each φ33000×6500
11 emission fan 1 each
12 organic VOCs waste gas treatment 1 each
13 cooling tower 1 each
14 protection atmosphere generator 1 each 7000x3000x2500 Include nitrogen making machine, air compressor, gasholder