Project Synopsis

Prepare a preliminary process design (FEL-2) package with both capital and operating cost estimates for a proposed oil field drilling fluids recovery plant based on process pilot plant data.

Project Summary


Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted by the client to provide a Front-End Loading Level 2 (FEL-2) process design package for a proposed Drill Cuttings Oil Recovery Plant.  The drilling mud that coats drill cuttings contains up to 25% diesel fuel and other valuable oils.  Disposing of the cuttings as-is can lead to environmental issues.  The client has developed a patent-pending process that recovers the oil from the cuttings that has been thoroughly tested in a pilot-scale facility.  The purified high value oil can be recycled while the “clean” cuttings can then be disposed of in an environmentally safe manner or put to beneficial use.  To date, the client has solicited a detail engineering company to engineer and supply the equipment for the core extraction process.  They now wish to determine total cost for the project including total installed capital cost (TIC) and operating cost (OPEX) for the entire plant, including all supporting infrastructure such as utilities.

PROCESS performed the following project tasks:

  • A preliminary process design basis was prepared for the Drill Cuttings Oil Recovery Plant.  Many of the process parameters were derived from the client’s pilot testing data.
  • Heat and material balance (HMB) calculations and process flow diagrams (PFDs) meeting the design basis were prepared for the Drill Cuttings Oil Recovery Plant.  PROCESS used its licensed commercial computer process simulation software (Chemstations’ CHEMCAD) to perform sensitivity analyses and generate the HMB calculations.  The simulation and resulting HMB included major, minor, and utilities streams flow rates, compositions, temperatures, pressures, and physical and chemical properties.
  • An equipment list and TIC estimate (+40% / -20% estimate) was prepared using preliminary equipment sizing data.  Applicable information supplied by the detail engineering company was incorporated into equipment sizing and cost estimations.  Installed costs were estimated utilizing the Lang factored methodology.  The scope of the estimate included the core extraction equipment, oil recovery equipment, and solvent recovery equipment, as well as all supporting infrastructure and utilities.
  • An operating cost estimate was prepared for the plant and included raw materials, utilities, and labor costs.

A complete FEL-2 package that included the above-mentioned documentation was issued to the client. The FEL-2 package provides information that can be used by the client to produce an informed cost-benefit analysis for the design and construction of the Drill Cuttings Oil Recovery Plant.

Industry Type

  • Oil & Gas Exploration Services

Utilized Skills

  • Preliminary process design
  • Pilot plant scale up
  • Cost estimation

Contact Us