2J. M. GETLIFF: A. J. BRADBURY: C.A. SAWDON: J. E. CANDLER AND G. LOCKLINGHOLMSPE 61040
for fluid displacements thus reducing the mud volume losseswhen displacing to brine.Similarly if resistivity logs are required from a well thathas been drilled with an oil-based mud, traditionally it wasnecessary to displace the oil-based mud and replace it with amore conductive water-based fluid, an operation that is costlyin both time and energy consumption. Use of a conductiveorganic-phase fluids for both drilling and logging, eliminatesthe need to displace to a water-based logging fluid and thusreduce the overall energy consumption and environmentalimpact of the operation.Likewise 'smart' filter cakes that enhance oil productionwithout the need for acid intervention to optimize reservoirproductivity will reduce the total number of steps or amount of energy required to extract the oil, thus reducing theenvironmental impact.
Minimize - Source Reduction
Better drilling practices and improved wellborestability.
Drilling to the reservoir as efficiently as possiblereduces the amount of waste produced (chemicals, rock debrisand energy) and helps to reduce the environmental impact of drilling operations
. Washout and eccentric hole cansignificantly increase the amount of cuttings produced and thesubsequent amount of drilling fluid and cement used. Awellbore drilled in-gauge requires less drilling fluid andproduces fewer cuttings requiring disposal. Use of a smallerdiameter hole and casing also reduces the total volume of waste material produced. Similarly if the wellbore can bestabilized or lined in some way then one or more casing pointmay be omitted. In all these cases, there is a reduction in time,costs and the total energy required to drill the well.
Liquid discharges and waste management.
As the drillingwaste is transported out of the wellbore by the drilling fluid, alarge part of the waste treatment concerns separating the solidsfrom the liquid phase and the subsequent disposal of both thesolids and in some cases the liquid effluent. Commonproblems found with liquid effluents are high saltconcentrations or conductivity and a high biological orchemical oxygen demand. Although it is feasible to treat suchliquid effluents prior to disposal, as discussed previously, if possible it is best to minimize the amount produced in the firstplace. Alternate weighting materials also provideopportunities to reduce the amount of drilling fluid dischargesand provide much-improved solids removal efficiency.
Reducing the environmental effects of saline discharges.
On land, the focus of the environmental impact is not alwayshydrocarbon discharges, which are relatively easy to remediateunder the right circumstances, but saline discharges.Chloride contamination of soils and ground waters is causefor concern in many parts of the world and groundwaterprotection is a significant consideration for drilling operations.When thinking about the environmental effects of salinedischarges it also is important to consider the nature of theenvironment where the drilling operations are beingperformed. For example, potassium chloride can be used forshale inhibition in the North Sea, but it is toxic to mysidshrimp at high concentrations. Its use is therefore restricted inthe Gulf of Mexico where the mysid toxicity test is aregulatory requirement.
Chl oride-free water-based fluids.
discuss improvements in organic polyols which havesignificantly reduced the gap between water-based and oil-based mud performance. Conventional water-based fluidsrequire the additionof salts such as potassium chloride toimpart shale inhibition
As discussed above, the discharge of saline drilling wastes onshore can result in unacceptablecontamination of lakes, rivers, groundwater or soil. Currentpractice in many countries is for the saline liquid to be heavilydiluted prior to discharge in order to comply with localconsent limits.Brady,
showed that a polyalkylene glycol,specifically designed for salt-free water-based fluids, providesefficient drilling and reduces the final volume of liquideffluent discharges.On comparative wells the total volume of liquid dischargedcan be reduced from 172,650 bbls (27448 m
) with a standardKCl PHPA polymer drilling fluid to 5,577 bbls (887 m
) witha salt-free polyalkylene glycol-based fluid.The latter fluid also showed improved drillingperformance, reduced mud consumption and reducedtreatment costs prior to discharge.
Salt-free organic-phase drilling fluids.
Hydrocarbondischarges can have a significant environmental impact bothon and offshore, but are generally a lot easier to manageonshore and are thus viewed as a smaller problem than salinedischarges. From the previous discussion, it can be seen thatavoiding the use of chloride-based salts in either water ororganic-phase drilling fluids has potentially significantenvironmental benefits.While previous work has shown that it possible toformulate 100% organic-phase, salt-free drilling fluids,
inmost organic-phase drilling fluids chloride salts are used toprovide the water activity level and minimize the osmotictransfer of water to the formations drilled.
Salt-free organic-phase fluids can be expensive and prone to watercontamination. Replacing “standard” salts with another“osmotic regulator” used in organic-phase drilling fluidsreduces or avoids many of the problems associated with salinedischarges. Formatesalts have been used successfully inwater-based muds
but can have cost disadvantages. Suchmaterials are biodegradable but do not contribute towardsalternative uses for the drilling fluid byproducts which isdiscussed later in the paper. In some parts of the world,nitrates have been successfully used in the formulation of organic-phase drilling fluids and there is anecdotal evidencethat the resulting wastes have a beneficial effects on someplants when the cuttings are landfarmed. If these types of drilling wastes are to be used as soil enhancers (rather than just landfarmed) then it is essential that the appropriatenutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium arepresent in the correct percentages for good plant growth.Likewise it is important that there are no adverse effects onseed germination and soil invertebrates, etc.
Environmental improvements to organic base fluids.
Thedevelopment of better organic-phase drilling fluids has, overthe years, reduced the impactof drilling operations on health,safety and the environment.
overviews theintroduction of organic base fluids of reduced environmentalimpact over the years 1980 to the present. The acute effects of