Oilfield drilling is a complicated process that uses several pieces of equipment to guarantee proper cleaning, safety and extraction. While the array of tools used can seem overwhelming at first, these five play a vital role in reducing environmental impact, costs and accidents.

1. Mud Cleaners

Mud separated from the cuttings is used to cool down the drill bit. Before reaching the drill, it is crucial that the mud is as clean as possible as thick mud causes downtime by stopping the drill.

Mud cleaners consist of a mesh with small holes that stop solids from getting into the mud. This occurs right after the mud goes through a hydrocyclone. The mesh lets particles smaller than barite pass. Because barite can be used in thicker drilling solutions, the mud cleaner helps with both current drilling and reusing resources for prospective projects.

2. Stabbing Guides

Improper alignment of pipes during a drilling project can result in work stoppage because of threat-related downtime and pipe damage. Stabbing guides are needed to align pins to box threads, resulting in a damage-free, accurate connection. For industries that are more intense like oil drilling, stabbing guides can also help shield against extreme temperatures, impact and corrosion.

Pipe-handling safety is heightened because of the lowered damage risk of the tube threading, single joint elevators or bail arms, which may cause objects to be dropped from the derrick.

3. Shale Shakers

The most critical part of the solids separation and control system on a rig is shale shakers removing the mud from the cuttings. After separation has occurred, the mud is then used to cool down the drill bit. If all goes as planned, the drillers can reuse these fluids more than once.

Separating mud before the cutting disposal aids in lowering environmental impact and drilling costs. Appropriate management of drilling fluids is directly related to the efficiency of the rest of the downstream controlling equipment later on.

4. Degassers

Once drilling fluids are removed from the large solids, gas and air stuck inside the liquids must be eliminated. Degassers are needed to get rid of the hydrogen sulfide, methane, carbon dioxide and other gases, reducing the risk of gas explosions, thereby increasing safety at the oilfield.

Degassers come in two types: vacuum degassers and atmospheric (“poor boy”) degassers. Atmospheric degassers spread out fluids across a large surface area using a propeller, making releasing trapped gases easier. Vacuum degassers separate the mud from the gases by decreasing the pressure inside the vessel.

5. Sand Pumps

While oilfield drilling requires the use of several pumps, sand pumps focus on the need to move deposits away from the drilling site. Sand pumps are most frequently placed in oil or other fluid tanks that are filled with sand. Such pumps rotate around a central axis using a grooved disk.

Particles that touch the grooved surface will be removed and carried through a pipe system somewhere offsite. Although called “sand pumps,” these pumps are used to move other materials as well. Aside from maintaining and cleaning tanks, sand pumps replace the use of other machinery or manual labor to move particles away from the site of the oilfield.

It is critical to acknowledge that these oilfield drilling tools aren’t mutually exclusive. Oilfield drilling demands that these tools, as well as several others, join in a cohesive workflow. The correct piping is needed to move solids away from the drilling site as drilling can only continue once the clean fluids are returned to the drill.

The oilfield tools listed above are critical to a successful oil drilling project. Understanding how they work together is even more important.