Although a proactive approach towards environmental stewardship and implementation of best practices is always the right approach for our industry to take, we must measure periodically the cost-benefit ratio and make sure we are managing our business profitably. With respect to oil and gas well drilling technologies and practices implemented by many operators in their Marcellus Shale operations, an analysis was made to determine the cost-benefit ratio of the Fluid Redirection and Substructure Based Catching Pan and Containment Tank.
The case study was done on a well in McKean County, Pennsylvania, and HWD Drilling Rig 8, during the month of August 2011. The well profile consisted of the following:
- Surface Casing of 11.75 inches was set at 606 feet
- The intermediate casing of 8.625 inches was set at 2,901 feet
- Kick Off Point for the horizontal section was at 4,470 feet
- The well was at TD and the 5.5-inch production casing was set at 10,393 feet.
A spudder rig drilled the surface and intermediate well, and the HWD # 8 rig was moved in and set up on location on August 2, 2011. At 17:30 hours on August 3, 2011, the Catching Pan and containment tank (Zero Spill System™), or ZSS, was rigged up and made operational. At 06:00 hours on August 6, 2011, the rig picked up the drill pipe and reentered the well, running the pipe in to drill out and continue the build section. The well fluids had previously been displaced with ~900 barrels of Pure Star Mineral Base Drilling Fluid, and monitoring of the contained fluids had begun.
Fluid collected from the drilling operation is listed on a daily basis during the drilling program as follows:
The Fluid Redirection and Substructure Catching Pans and Containment Tank was provided by an independent service provider and featured the patented ZSS™ equipment designed and developed by Katch Kan Ltd. The specific equipment rigged up included the following products:
- Kelly Kan (lightweight mud bucket), rigged up for a 4 ½” drill pipe
- 72” diameter Second Stage Low Profile Katch Kan, designed to fit an 11” X 5,000 lb. API pressure flange
- Adjustable Containment Enclosure, fitted to contain spray from an RCD three feet above the annular BOP
- 2 – ten foot 4” low-pressure hoses connecting from the Low Pro to the containment tank.
- 325-gallon lightweight containment tank
In addition to the above-listed equipment, certified rigging equipment was installed during the rig-up process to support the weight of the Second Stage Low Profile Katch Kan, as well as to raise and maintain the elevation and position of the Adjustable Containment Enclosure.
Finally, a proprietary sealing system was utilized between the base of the Second Stage Low Profile Katch Kan and the outer profile of the 11” X 5,000 lb. API flange, to ensure the overall integrity of the Catching Pan system and to eliminate any leakage of the captured fluids.
The fluid used to drill the production hole with the HWD #6 rig was Pure Star Mineral Base Drilling Fluid, at $247 per barrel. HWD provided the rig out of Purcell, Oklahoma at ~$18,000 per day.
Total drilling fluid captured and reused amounted to ~40 barrels at the above-identified price, for a savings of $9,880.00.
Rig Time Savings from Elimination of Stack Cleaning
- 3 days X 1 man @ $50/hour X 3 hours/cleaning X Hours to Clean Stack = $450.
Rig Time Savings from minimizing rig cleaning prior to the rig moving to a new location
- $750/Hour X 4 hours to clean substructure = $3000
Total Cost Savings per Well = ~$13,330 #
Environmental stewardship and impact minimization are critical successful components for any modern oil and gas drilling operation. Numerous technologies are available to most operators that offer opportunities for impact minimization. Some technologies are available that can not only reduce the environmental impact but also reduce costs and lead to a more efficient and cost-effective operation.
Many operators have made the commitments necessary to achieve a low-impact drilling operation in their Marcellus Shale operations. Most have implemented the various technologies discussed to help them become better corporate citizens. This case study demonstrates that certain technologies; i.e. ZSS™ provided by Katch Kan Ltd, can provide total cost savings that meet and exceed the upfront expenditures associated with sourcing the service for the oil-based drilling portion of a typical Marcellus Shale well.