Oil and gas exploration in deep water is capital intensive. Economic viability and sustainability of offshore exploration in a financial environment strained by low prices of crude oil demands efficient cost rationalization in all aspects of operations, including well drilling activity. Well drilling generates drill cuttings which may be disposed either onshore or offshore. Onshore disposal is logistically complicated and is not cost-effective. More cost-effective offshore disposal of drill cuttings should therefore be encouraged if it is environmentally sustainable. This model simulation research is conducted to assess the appropriateness of offshore disposal of drilling wastes in order to protect the marine environment. A central concern in drill-cuttings offshore disposal is over the formation of cuttings pile formations on the seabed and the suspended solids created in the water column that might pose adverse impact to corals and other sensitive marine ecosystems. Model simulations indicate that offshore disposal of drill wastes will not pose significant adverse impact to the marine environment and ecosystems at the drilling rates currently practised in Malaysian oil and gas exploration drilling. It is hoped that this review would provide useful technical information and scientific insights regarding the safe disposal of drilling wastes into the coastal environment currently practiced in Malaysia oil and gas industry.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.