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What Is a Flow Show?

By Jean Marie Asta
Updated May 17, 2024
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A flow show is type of monitor used in the drilling industry on a drilling rig. It allows the operators and users to monitor the drilling fluid flow. This is how it got the name "flow show." Monitoring the flow of the fluid that is being drilled is very important for different reasons, including safety both for personnel working with the drill rig and for the integrity of the drill rig itself.

If the flow show lets a drilling operator know that a high pressure zone is releasing too much fluid at once, overfilling the borehole, the problem must be regulated immediately. Without monitoring, the flow may become critical and cause damage to the drilling rig. It could also potentially injure workers who are near the borehole. This type of problem can cause a company to lose the resource they are trying to extract and it can cost a lot of money.

The opposite problem can also occur when drilling. A flow show can tell an operator if a low pressure zone is no longer extracting fluids from the borehole. This is another serious problem that needs to be rectified. If this is not fixed, the pressure could become so low that the borehole and the drilling rig could collapse. This is obviously going to be very costly for the company, and it is a situation to be avoided.

On a drilling rig, the flow show is typically attached to the flow line. This is a pipe that sends the drilling fluid to mud tanks, which are tanks designed to safely hold the drilling fluid. The mud tank is usually dug in the ground near the drilling site and lined with steel. It has an open top so that drilling operators can monitor the level of liquid in the pit. Offshore drilling rigs may have a closed top, but they will still have ways in which employees can monitor the liquid levels.

When attached to these other appliances, a flow show will use a paddle to measure the flow of the drilling fluid as it passes through the flow line to the mud pit. The flow show is then able to give accurate readings to operators of the drilling rig. The angle of the paddle is what gives them this information — if the paddle of the angle is high, the flow is stronger and if the angle is lower, then the flow is going slower.

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