Environmental regulations vary from region to region and from country to country. The North Sea regulations are some of the most stringent in ensuring that environmentally acceptable chemicals are used in the oil and gas industry. Although it is not imperative that North Sea regulations be adhered to in other regions, being mindful of these regulations early in the product development cycle is both a corporate responsibility and good business practice. Many exploration and production companies are adopting initiatives which drive environmental consciousness. It is critical that the service sector respond.

This paper describes the methods that have been used to proactively develop the most environmentally acceptable acid-stimulation chemicals while balancing local regulations and business drivers. The products being highlighted are acidizing chemicals, which are a particular challenge since it is difficult to develop chemicals that function in highly corrosive environments yet have acceptable biodegradation characteristics or toxicity levels.

In 2005, a study evaluated the feasibility of removing objectionable chemical components from the service company's acid stimulation product line. Based on the result of the study, a systematic program to prioritize product replacement based upon the greatest environmental impact has been established. In 2008, a follow-up study was conducted to evaluate progress and to expand the scope of objectionable chemical components considered to include the Gulf of Mexico and operator-driven criteria. This systematic program has evolved into a process to evaluate the environmental acceptability of all components of new products during the development cycle.

Several product-development case studies will be described. One study focuses on product development for the North Sea, a second for the Gulf of Mexico, and a third for Asia. These products were deployed globally as a result of their exceptional performance, much-improved environmental characteristics, and cost-effectiveness.

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