Environmental qualification of chemical products is a critical component of the oil and gas industry. However, regulatory and chemicals evaluation criteria, if available, are typically designed for local ecosystems and vary within specific regions and regulatory entities. Although some qualification schemes have been adopted across multiple geomarkets, there is a lack of uniform, globally coordinated, strategic objectives to address this issue for the industry. This has created disjointed, ineffective responses by vendors, chemical manufacturers, and suppliers involved in creating and delivering complex chemical solutions to meet oil and gas industry challenges.
Recent movements of international organizations sponsored by the United Nations (2009) have addressed communication of chemical hazards via the Global Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling (GHS/CLP). Adoption of GHS by numerous regulatory bodies has brought international consensus to hazard criteria and definitions. Implementation of GHS is proving to be long, slow, and arduous. Furthermore, the intended scope of GHS focuses on standardization of hazard communication. As such, the core elements of GHS are applicable to evaluating chemical hazards. However, several hazard endpoints are either inappropriate or need modification to address the unique needs of the oilfield chemical market. Therefore, it is incumbent upon global chemical suppliers to identify an effective chemical evaluation process. This process must facilitate the offering of product solutions which meet the performance demands of petroleum exploration and production, while protecting human health and the environment and complying with existing and future regulatory statutes, as well as specific local concerns. This paper describes our continued efforts to globalize the chemical evaluation for all oilfield products. Comparative scoring of chemicals is accomplished through a practical, transparent, and quantitative process, based upon their potential safety, health, and environmental impact. Since initially introduced, the evaluation process has been updated to include review of key global regulatory requirements (chemical prescreening, transportation, handling, and application). Benefits include:
Reducing redundant development efforts,
Improving research and development focus using specific guidelines for regulatory and chemical hazard assessments,
Enhancing marketing value by providing a comprehensive view of inherent benefits or potential concerns associated with chemical products;
Clarifying expectations in the supply chain and
Effectively managing issues of confidential business information (CBI) when multiple parties are involved in research and development chemistry.