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Sustainable development of petroleum resources requires appropriate management of all waste streams generated over the entire life cycle of a development beginning with initial planning of projects and operations right through to decommissioning and site restoration. Quality waste management approach is crucial to achieve this goal. The principle aim of waste management is to ensure that waste does not contaminate the environment at such a rate or in such a form or quantity as to overload natural assimilative processes and cause pollution. Eliminating or minimizing waste generation is crucial, not only to reduce environmental liabilities but also operational cost. Many disposal practices of the past are being questioned now. The cost of cleaning up many past hazardous waste sites will be high and a substantial part of these clean-up costs will be charged to industry under the polluter pay principle. As inadequate waste handling eventually leads to environmental damage and financial liabilities, systematic waste management through integrated
environmental economics became a preferred approach in the up stream phase of the petroleum industry.
Historically, waste pits (reserve pits) were used at land rig sites. At the end of each well the wet cuttings left to dry naturally and then bulldozed or covered with natural soil. More recent history the cuttings were dug out and trucked to landfill, where a significant cost is incurred as the cuttings were treated purely as waste material current practice for operators onshore and offshore employs extensive fluids recovery and cuttings disposal methods. Often, because they want to be considered responsible guests by their host country, oil and gas operators impose even more stringent environmental regulations on their operations than those imposed by the country in which they are drilling. E&P wastemanagement has evolved beyond the traditional drill cuttings and excessdrilling fluids during drilling and workover operations. Though these comprise the vast majority of the wastes other materials include contaminated water, material and chemical packaging, emissions such as carbon dioxide, scrap metals, fuel, lubricants and other oils as well as the usual human and industrial wastes associated with E&P operations.
DRILLING AND PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY
Shell Exploration and Production Company established a Rig Waste Reduction Pilot Project in 2001 to identify potential waste reduction strategies. Their preferential hierarchy that they developed is: reduce, reuse, recycle, recover and dispose. The major of the total waste stream was found to be drilling discharges and non-hazardous oilfield waste. Mud use was reduced by 20% and mud component packaging was reduced by 90% through a combination of solids control efficiency, cuttings dryer technology and bulk mixing equipment. In addition, Shell implemented a sorting, compaction and recycling process for solid waste (consumables and trash) to reduce landfill disposal.
Schlumberger has introduced a total waste management program to mitigate rising quantities of landfill waste. Benefits included an overall improvement in general housekeeping that reduced health and safety exposure and a general increase in environmental awareness and concern. Mobil implemented a waste management program for the Hugoton field operations.
The waste management system decreased overall waste-related costs while improving compliance assurance and reducing potential liability. The key element was a mechanical solids control system consisting of a semi-closed loop centrifuge flocculation dewatering process that removes solids for burial on location.Waste management, however, incorporates other aspects in addition to drilling fluids and cuttings. Air emissions and water runoff from the site should also be considered. With the increase in rig activity in the Rocky Mountain states, pollution from drilling rigs and other oil field related equipment has become a concern.
TRENDS IN DRILLING WASTE MANAGEMENT
Drilling operators have to follow the national environmental policy worldwide. Because the sustainable development becomes a basis of the environmental policy it is no more possible to continue the open system of drilling waste management.DRILLING AND PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY JANUARY 2013 3 The drilling waste management is one of the most important challenges in the petroleum industry. The main pollution of cuttings is caused by DRILLING MUD CHEMICAL COMPONENTS OIL BIOCIDES MAIN POLLUTION OF CUTTINGS CAUSED BY RESERVOIR FLUIDS COMPLETION OR STIMULATION FLUID COMPONENTS CORROSION INHIBITORS A sustainable development assumes the zero discharge of wastes into the environment. Research institutions and drilling operators are looking for a technology meeting the closed system requirements. The used drilling mud and cuttings are the main problem. There are three main points in such approach: • amount of waste has to be minimized as much as possible • reusing and recycling is necessary • only safe and similar to the local environment material can be deposited .
The solidification changes the suspension or detached rock into the solid rock. If a pollution is below the allowed limit. Only a very fine suspension can be . A modification of this method is cementing in the CO2 atmosphere. the Argonne National Laboratory has 300 injection wells from 400 m to 5000 m deep. but in CO2 a granulated product can be achieved. It is successful as well in onshore as in offshore operations. For example.DRILLING AND PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY JANUARY 2013 4 CLOSED SYSTEM OF DRILLING WASTE MANAGEMENT GENERAL METHODS USED One of the worldwide most popular method of drilling waste treatment is solidification and stabilization. Cement and silica are the most popular agents. In the regular cementing large blocks arise. The stabilization minimizes the solubility and mobility of the pollution. In this way we can get two targets: better mechanical properties by the solidification and the stabilization by the pollution encapsulation. drilling waste can be solidified. The injection of cuttings into injection layers or salt caverns is a very often used method.
There are three main methods of extraction. As a result.Because oil based muds give better drilling parameters. the low temperature thermal desorption (LTTD). we can get a new sustainable model of drilling waste management shown above. Very promising results can also be achieved by using the chemo-bioremediation method to detoxify the oil-polluted drilling wastes. One. using hydrocarbon gases . vermiculture and landfarming. the thermal phase separation. they are preferred in many cases. Bioremediation can be done in five ways: composting. with a low permeability and accessibility to oxygen. The process combined the catalytic reaction of oxidation and transformation of hydrocarbons molecules. oil included in cuttings makes its treatment more complicated. colloid wastes. To achieve the required maximum oil saturation level in cuttings (usually below 0. . the ball mill or the ultrasonic processor is often necessary to prepare proper particles for the suspension. second using supercritical carbon dioxide and another by using surface-active agents.5 %) extraction can be the effective method. Unluckily. So. the rotary kiln and the cement kiln. But the true sustainability can be meet by a combination of some of the above methods and a new design of proecological drilling process.DRILLING AND PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY JANUARY 2013 5 injected. It can be done by burning. bioreactors. The thermal method is very useful for cleaning the cuttings. A more sustainable solution is to use natural forces and processes. followed by the microbial bioremediation. Both laboratory and field experiments confirmed the method as a particularly useful in the remediation of tixotropic.
. but some efforts are under way to develop mobile thermal treatment units and units that might fit on an offshore plateform. Additional treatment may be necessary for metal and salt. Thermal treatment technology is generally set up in fixed land based installation. water and recovered base fluids. Thermal treatment is the most efficient treatment for destroying organics. typically 10 to 40%. Waste volumes from a single operator may not be high enough to justify continuous operation of a thermal treatment process. like oil-based mud. but contract operation of a centrally located facility that manages waste from multiple area operators may be a cost-effective. Currently. are good candidates for thermal treatment technology. rotary kilns. with labor being a large component. the off-gases are combusted. the going rate in the UK is 140 £ or approximately $250 per MT for thermal desorption and disposal. cement kilns) to destroy hydrocarbons by heating them to very high temperatures in the presence of air. Costs for thermal treatment range from $75 to $150/ton. The first group uses incineration (e. The second group uses thermal desorption.g. depending on the final fate of wastes. to vaporize volatile and semivolatile components without incinerating the soil. but large size and weight coupled with limited processing capacity have limited its use in offshore. Thermal treatment can be an interim process to reduce toxicity and volume and prepare a waste stream for further treatment or disposal.DRILLING AND PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY JANUARY 2013 6 THERMAL TREATMENT TECHNOLOGY Thermal technologies use high temperature to reclaim or destroy hydrocarboncontaminated materials. in which heat is applied directly or indirectly to the wastes. and in others. however. . such as in thermal phase separation. and it also reduces the volume and mobility of inorganics such as metals and salts. Waste streams high in hydrocarbon. the gases are condensed and separated to recover heavier hydrocarbons. Its application is not geographically limited. In some thermal desorption technologies. Thermal treatment technologies can be grouped into two categories. or it can be a final treatment process resulting in inert solids.
complete destruction (rather than isolation). Commercial control devices to remove incinerators are also frequently equipped with pollution incomplete combustion products and particulate emissions and to reduce SOx and NOx emissions. Advantages of incineration include volume reduction. resistant to biological breakdown.DRILLING AND PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY JANUARY 2013 7 Thermal desorption technologies include indirect rotary kilns. Generally. thermal plasma volatilization. hot oil processors. and modular thermal processors. and turbulence within the be optimized because residence time. or pose high levels of risk to human health and the environment.200 to 1. . unless operations are located in sensitive environments and other disposal options are not available. In commercial incinerators. thermal phase separation. and possible resource recovery. Incineration is typically used to destroy organic wastes that are highly toxic. Incineration Incineration technologies oxidize wastes at high temperatures (1.500°C) and convert them into less bulky materials that are nonhazardous or less hazardous than they were prior to incineration. Incinerators are generally permanent (non-mobile) units. thermal distillation. Because energy requirements for incineration relate directly to water content. highly flammable. combustion can temperature. incineration of drilling wastes is not necessary. chamber can be controlled. costs for incinerating drilling wastes with high water contents can be high.
DRILLING AND PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY JANUARY 2013 8 ROTARY KLINS ROTARY KLINS SYSTEM .
Cement kiln temperatures (1. There is adequate mix material available to handle wastes arriving at the facility with hydrocarbon concentrations up to 40%. a mature and commercially available technology.500° C) and residence times are sufficient to achieve thermal destruction of organics. A rotary kiln tumbles the waste to enhance contact with hot burner gases. The unit has been permanently installed near Big Valley. drilling wastes with oily components can be used in a fuel-blending program to substitute for fuel that would otherwise be needed to fire the kiln. Alberta. regardless of size or composition. Minimum costs to process solids with 10% hydrocarbons at the plant are $90 per metric ton. CEMENT KILNS SYSTEM Cement Kilns: If available. The process can handle wastes with up to 10% hydrocarbons.400 to 1. Canada. but prices increase with the percentage of hydrocarbons in the drilling waste. Cement kilns may also have pollution control devices to minimize emissions. Venturi section temperatures reach 1.DRILLING AND PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY JANUARY 2013 9 Rotary Kilns: Most incineration of drilling wastes occurs in rotary kilns. a cement kiln can be an alternative to a rotary kiln.000 degrees C. The kiln handles 10 metric tons/day during a 24-hour operation period. Primary chamber temperatures reach 600 to 1. The Canadian Crude Separator's Incineration Process (CSS) is an example of a rotary kiln process that operates under starved oxygen conditions.200 degrees C. In cement kilns. which is durable and able to incinerate almost any waste. The ash resulting from waste combustion becomes incorporated into the cement .
THERMAL DESORPTION COLUMN . and can produce lower final oil contents for wastes with heavier compounds such as olycyclic aromatics. aromatics. Thermal Desorption Thermal desorption uses a non-oxidizing process to vaporize volatiles and semivolatiles. toluene. and xylenes).g. clay.. and other minerals typically added in the cement raw material feed stream. Thermal desorption easily removes light hydrocarbons. but heavier compounds such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are less easily removed. providing aluminum. benzene. High-temperature systems may operate at temperatures up to 520° C.DRILLING AND PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY JANUARY 2013 10 matrix. and other volatile organics. silica. ethylbenzene. aromatics (e. Low-temperature thermal desorption systems typically operate at 250 to 350° C and may be sufficient to treat wastes with light hydrocarbons. which are easily removed. and other volatile organics.
particle size distribution of the solids. including oil and moisture content of the waste. and oil condensate. additional treatment may be required to reduce the potential for environmental impact from these streams. each of which may require analysis to determine the best recycle/disposal Option. organic composition and volatility. Economics may improve in cases where the thermal desorption process is operated as part of the overall production facility. In other cases (for example. Contractor operator treatment costs range from $75 to $150/ton. THERMAL DESORPTION COLUMN Capital equipment costs for a thermal desorption plant that processes between 3 to 10 tons/hour range from $3 to $5 million dollars. and management of the water product. including solids. management of the hydrocarbon byproduct. original wastes with high salts and metals contents). water condensate. In most cases. Many factors can impact treatment costs.DRILLING AND PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY JANUARY 2013 11 Thermal desorption produces various secondary waste streams. the liquids are separated and reused in drilling mud to improve the economics of this method. .
The units typically heat the wastes to about . thermal phase separation.DRILLING AND PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY JANUARY 2013 12 Many variations of the thermal desorption process have been developed and are applicable for treating drilling wastes. and the process units are correspondingly large. thermal distillation. The drilling wastes are agitated and transported through the processor inside the rotating drum. hot oil processors. Heat is supplied through the wall of the drum from the hot exhaust gas that flows between the jacket and the drum. and modular thermal processors. thermal plasma volatilization. The technology consists of a rotating drum placed inside a jacket. Treated solids are recirculated to prevent the formation of an isolating layer of dried clay in the inside of the drum. relatively large heating surfaces are required. Examples include indirect rotary kilns. Because the overall heat transfer from the exhaust to the material is low. INDIRECT ROTARY KILNS Indirect Rotary Kilns: Indirect rotary kilns use hot exhaust gases from fuel combustion to heat the drilling wastes.
In the first. HOT OIL PROCESSORS Hot Oil Processors: In hot oil processors. Conventional fuels provide the primary heat source for the hot oil. which limits the useable temperature difference for the heat transfer. and commercial hot oils have maximum operating temperatures that are close to the required process temperature. Some units augment the heat from the hot oils with electric heating on part of the heat surface to reach the temperature needed for complete removal of the oil in the waste. which provides for the efficient removal of oil from the wastes. Retention times for complete removal of oils are about 30 to 150 minutes.DRILLING AND PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY JANUARY 2013 13 500°C. The rotors also agitate and create the required axial transport in the bed. but which can lead to thermal degradation and decomposition of residuals in the recovered solids. Next. the drilling wastes are screened to remove foreign matter prior to delivery to the desorption chamber. Large heating surfaces are required because there is a relatively low heat transfer coefficient between the hot oil and the waste material inside the processor. Thermal Phase Separation: The thermal separation process (TPS) consists of five subsystems. heat is transported to the drilling wastes by circulating hot oil inside hollow rotors. .
and highly mobile. Screw augers. where they are volatilized and separated from the host matrix under a vacuum. diesel. The economic value of the process lies in the quality of the recovered base oil and its readiness for reuse or resale. Treated solids are contained and tested prior to use as an onsite fill material. ensure suitable agitation and thorough heating of the solids matrix. where the recovered fluid is collected. The water vapor and gaseous hydrocarbons extracted in the desorption chamber are rapidly cooled by direct contact with water sprays fed with recirculated process water. Mobile TPS units can treat 10 to 50 tons per hour of waste material. and recycled. . TPS processing removes 99% of hydrocarbons from the feedstock. and the opportunity of visual inspection during operations. The drilling wastes are heated indirectly to raise the temperature of the drilling waste to the boiling point of the hydrocarbons (usually about 220 degrees C. which slowly draw the wastes through the inner heating shell. The condensed liquids and recirculated quench water are then sent to an oil-water separator. The recovered water is cooled and contained for recirculation. natural gas. Advantages of TPS over rotary kilns or directly fired desorption systems are more sophisticated air emissions control. TPS systems are used for oil-based drilling wastes in environmentally sensitive areas. heli-transportable equipment allows for treating drilling wastes in remote locations. but sometimes up to 500 degrees C). or recovered drilling fluid. analyzed. the ability to treat materials with up to 60% undiluted oil (because there is no potential for combustion).DRILLING AND PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY JANUARY 2013 14 the shell of the chamber is heated externally with a series of burners fueled by propane.
and the different constituents of liquids. thermal distillation allows for the separation of solids. High mechanical shear combined with in-situ heat generation creates an environment that promotes flash evaporation of water and hydrocarbons. The intense agitation in the process . drill cuttings are distilled and cracked to boil off water and oil. liquids. The efficient turbulent mixing promotes an efficient steam distillation of the oils. thereby eliminating the risk for thermal degradation. heat is produced internally in the drilling waste by friction forces generated by intense agitation. Sometimes the vapors are condensed to allow for recovery. which makes it possible to vaporize oils at a temperature well below their atmospheric vaporization point (about 200 to 350° C). In high-temperature thermomechanical conversion and cracking. In the thermomechanical process.DRILLING AND PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY JANUARY 2013 15 THERMAL DISTILLATION COLUMN Thermal Distillation: Because constituents of liquid mixtures evaporate at different temperatures.
000 ppm. and can therefore be reused. if the concentrations of heavy metals and salts are acceptable. which eliminates the need for large heating surfaces and complex heating systems. The treated cuttings resulting from distillation can be reused. In lower-temperature thermal stripping. Thermomechanical units operating today recover solids with residual oil levels less than or equal to 1. Thermal desorption can effectively remove mineral and synthetic based oils from cuttings.DRILLING AND PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY JANUARY 2013 16 mill requires that the layer of abrasion-resistant material welded on the active surfaces of the mill be refurbished regularly. The bility to use engines. or electric motors to generate mechanical energy. which allows for compact designs. the recovered water (with less than 15 ppm oil) can be reused. turbines. Benefits of thermomechanical desorption include the following: Direct mechanical heating. After removing free residual oil in settling tanks or oil separators. the oil is not cracked. RLC Technologies has developed an Anaerobic Thermal Desorbtion Unit (ATDU) that can be used to process drill cuttings. vapor recovery and water treatment systems for thermal processing of drill cuttings from on and offshore oil and gas exploration platforms. or sent to available wastewater treatment facilities. . discharged to the sea. Limited process temperatures and short retention times required for complete removal of oil from the solids (6 to 12 minutes for solids and 15 to 30 seconds for the oil). which significantly reduces the risk for thermal degradation of the valuable mud oils (TNW undated) and the quantity and cost of the heat that is required. They have supplied ATDU’s to customers in the North Atlantic and the Middle East regions complete with complete with feed.
. Pyrolytic methods are now also being used on commercial cruise ships. one of the Navy laboratories has investigated various pyrolytic methods that may be applicable to disposal of drill cuttings. and most are reclaimed as clean oil and returned to a process stream. which contains a plasma torch operating in an inert atmosphere.000° C). In the reactor. industrial. whose jet temperature is about 15. which are unsuitable for a combustion process because of their potential to generate dioxins and furan compounds as byproducts. steel making. It is also being used to treat oil-contaminated soils that include substances such as chlorides. the torch. causing any hydrocarbons to volatilize. Thermal plasma volatilization has not yet been used for the treatment of drilling wastes. The waste material is fed into the reactor. Thermal plasma results when a common gas is heated to extremely high temperatures (up to 15. and petroleum wastes.DRILLING AND PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY JANUARY 2013 17 PYROLYTIC METHOD NAVSEA-Carderock. The process uses a plasma reactor. In subsequent stages.000° C. and treating medical. is used to heat the waste to up to 900° C without combustion.01% hydrocarbons. The resulting solids are inert and contain less than 0. these hydrocarbons are condensed. The technology is used for various applications including metallurgy.
and the reduction in volume is typically about 85%. plasma temperatures range from 5. molten metal. This aspect makes it unlikely that any of the waste will escape destruction. The paper. a subsequent plasma vitrification process can be used. If waste is passed through a plasma arc. cardboard. are two-stage processes in which the waste material is first pyrolyzed and then oxidized.600° C are maintained and where chemical and physical reactions form ceramic and ferrous matrices in liquid forms. Plasmas are highly ionized gases that can be brought to very high temperatures through coupling of electrical energy from a power supply. alternatively. reduced costs for preparation and transport of wastes. avoidance of harmful stack emissions. 85% of the energy is transferred as heat. compared with about 20% for combustion processes.000° C to 12. Advantages of the process include significant reductions in waste volume. the toxic waste goes to a vitrification reactor. Whereas combustion temperatures rarely exceed 2.e. and higher energy efficiency than combustion. When tapped from the reactor. (With thermal plasma volatilization. Pyrolytic methods.000° C) or higher. As this "waste" passes out of the plasma region and cools. If the wastes have toxic materials. i.000° F to 22. compact installation. reduced to atoms or fragments containing only a few atoms.000° F (1. In plasma vitrification. the metal and glass components form a slag or. which can be used in construction and metallurgical applications. where temperatures above 1. and plastic .) Pyrolytic methods are distinguished from oxidative methods even though the ultimate products of destruction are oxidized. they are torn apart.100° C).000° F (3. This process is called pyrolysis. as used for materials destruction.. such as heavy metals. the toxic materials become solid. inert phases.DRILLING AND PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY JANUARY 2013 18 The reduction in mass of the waste materials is typically about 70%. When chemical substances are subjected to temperatures in the plasma range. the materials are vaporized atomically and lose all memory of their former structure.
The downside of the comparison with the incinerator is the required power source for the plasma arc machine. and this allows for short residence times of materials being pyrolyzed. . The vitreous slag resulting from plasma destruction of waste tends to occlude metals. and the differences could be environmentally favorable.. Oxidation must also be controlled to avoid formation of noxious compounds. effectively removing them from the environment. hydrogen. ethane and some related oxygenated species. A great deal remains to be done in characterizing plasma arc products.g. tends to form low molecular weight compounds such as the hydrocarbons methane. This latter component is gaseous and may be used as lowgrade fuel to recover some of the energy consumed in generating the plasma. The products of pyrolysis will be different from those of combustion. e. The pyrolysis process differs from combustion. consisting mainly of carbon. Volatile metals from electrodes or feed stock will need remediation.DRILLING AND PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY JANUARY 2013 19 portion. The temperature is much higher and oxygen does not participate in the reactions in a dominant way. and oxygen. but there is hope of environmental advantage. Pyrolysis products are usually burned in an afterburner. On this basis. the plasma arc processor might be made smaller than an incinerator with comparable throughput. The high temperatures of the plasma arc ensure that the reactions are very fast. dioxins.
but the advantage for shipboard waste destruction is not so clear.000° F by electrical current or by contacting an electrical discharge with the material to be destroyed. This is valuable when the waste is hazardous (specifically. A key feature of this technology is that inorganics are melted so that a liquid pool is formed at the bottom of the treatment chamber. Waste is heated to about 3. Shipboard waste on the largest ships in the Navy amounts to about 10 tons/day. The technology has been successfully tested on medical wastes at a nominal throughput of 25 tons/day. With suitable modifications.DRILLING AND PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY JANUARY 2013 20 VITRIFICATION PLANT SYSTEM Vitrification is closely related to plasma arc. Organic materials are destroyed by pyrolysis and the products burned in an afterburner. This technology is viewed as sufficiently advanced that major . When this melt is cooled. vitrification can probably be employed to destroy black water sludge. radioactive). a vitreous solid mass is formed and elements contained therein are nonleachable by ground water.
. Proponents of the method see no major hurdles in applying vitrification to shipboard solid wastes. The target is a zero discharge into the environment.DRILLING AND PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY JANUARY 2013 21 research is not required. Flux addition may be necessary to obtain a stable glass. Normal engineering and testing work remains for shipboard waste destruction applications. At the end. only a very minimal amount of the rest could be treated. Recycling of drilling mud components and drilling cuttings components is a challenge faced by the drilling operators and the petroleum research institutes. But a large decrease in the waste volume is expected by the full recycling introduction into the petroleum industry. The recovery can be done in specialized “recovery systems” offered by industry. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION The key issue is a reduction of the necessary drilling mud volume and the reuse of it. This improvement minimizes significantly amount of the drilling wastes.
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