Cubility’s MudCube delivers reduced emissions of 43% onshore and 42% offshore according to new report

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The MudCube primary solids control technology is using light vibration with high air flow through a rotating filterbelt to separate all types of drilling fluids from drilled solids
The MudCube primary solids control technology is using light vibration with high air flow through a rotating filterbelt to separate all types of drilling fluids from drilled solids (photo: Cubility)

Cubility’s MudCube solid control solution reduces waste treatment emissions associated with drilling by 43% onshore and 42% offshore compared to traditional shale shakers.

These were the results of a report commissioned by Cubility and carried out by UK-based consultancy Carbon-Zero. The report’s goal was to quantify greenhouse gas emissions and carbon emissions savings through using the MudCube solution compared to traditional shale shakers in solids separation.

Based on this report, Cubility estimates that its customers saw CO2 emission reductions of 21,221 metric tonnes (mT) and 13,037 mT in waste reductions during 2020 with the MudCube as compared to traditional shale shakers.

The report also calculated that the reduction in waste treatment emissions through the MudCube when landfilled would be 75% onshore and 76% offshore compared to shale shakers and that there was a 35% reduction in actual waste.

Says Kai Preben Sæveland, CEO of Cubility, “At Cubility, we have a clear mission – to deliver innovative technologies that outperform our customers’ expectations for efficiency and value for money, while at the same time mitigate environmental impacts in order to create a brighter and more sustainable future. We are therefore delighted to have independent confirmation of the role the MudCube is playing in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

Launched by Cubility in 2012, the MudCube is the first fully enclosed, lightweight solid control system for all types of drilling fluids, providing an alternative to traditional shale shakers. The MudCube uses light vibration with high air flow through a rotating filterbelt to separate all types of drilling fluids from drilled solids.

The onshore well scenario
When analysing an onshore well scenario, Carbon-Zero found that by reducing waste volumes through a MudCube, waste treatment emissions associated with drilling are reduced by approximately 43% when disposed via the oil recovery process, and 75% when landfilled (see figure 1).

Figure 1. Total onshore emissions comparison (source: Carbon-Zero)
Figure 1. Total onshore emissions comparison (source: Carbon-Zero)

The primary source of greenhouse gas emissions savings is achieved through the retention of drilling mud which reduces the requirement of producing additional mud and shipping this to the site. There is a secondary saving through the reduction in weight and quantity of waste cuttings and mud and is seen both in the reduction in associated transport and in any third-party waste treatment requirements.

In order to provide an appropriate comparison of the two systems, an identical baseline scenario. The well site was assumed to be in the Permian Basin, Texas, USA at a total water depth of 3,300 metres with the average total weight of cuttings produced per well 1139.7 mt. The waste produced was to have a ratio split of 70/15/15% of powdered rock/water/oil. In this scenario, water would be treated and discharged on site with oil transferred to a third-party site 5 km from the treatment site.

The offshore well scenario
When analysing an offshore well scenario, Carbon-Zero calculated that by reducing the quantity of waste created in the drilling process, the MudCube is able to reduce the emissions associated with the waste transport and treatment by approximately 42%, when compared to using a shale shaker and when disposed via the oil recovery process, and 76% when landfilled (see figure 2).

Figure 2. Total offshore emissions comparison (source: Carbon-Zero)
Figure 2. Total offshore emissions comparison (source: Carbon-Zero)

In this case, the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions savings is achieved through the reduction in weight and quantity of waste cuttings and mud, and is seen both in the reduction in associated transport and in any third party onshore waste processing requirements. There is a secondary saving through the retention of drilling mud which reduces the requirement of producing additional mud and shipping this to the site.

As with the onshore scenario, the same identical baseline scenario was applied with platform distance from the shore 264 km, total water depth 3,600 metres and Average total weight of cuttings produced per well – 1274.3mt. It was also determined that the waste produced would have a ratio split of 70/15/15% of powdered rock/water/oil.

Carbon-Zero is an accounting, sustainability and energy efficiency consultancy based in the UK that assists businesses around the world, on their transition to an environmentally and economically sustainable future. Carbon-Zero has over 30 years’ experience working in industry and major projects across a variety of business sectors.

Cubility was established in 2005, with the ambition of developing an innovative and revolutionary replacement for the traditional ‘shaker’ systems that dominated drilling operations in the oil and gas sector. The result of this development work was the MudCube, which was first introduced to the industry on a commercial basis in 2012. On the basis of this success, Cubility has expanded its core technology into other industries. Cubility is based in Sandnes, Norway, has an office in Moscow, Russia and has distribution partners across all the world. Cubility is owned by the private equity firm Triton Partners.