The disposal of exploration and production wastes through deep well injection has increased dramatically during the last seven years. Prior to that time, most injection wells were used almost exclusively for produced water and brine disposal. During this period, the injection of waste solids in slurried form has been accomplished through low, sub-fracture pressure injection, slurry fracture injection, annular injection and injection into salt caverns. All of these types of disposal have been permitted by the governing regulatory bodies and have operated with varying degrees of success, problems and environmental impact.

The injection of E & P solid waste has been, and continues to be, driven by the changing regulatory climate and by the sociopolitical perception of the industry, its’ past and present methods of waste management and projections of future impacts and regulations. As the search for hydrocarbons has shifted to the offshore, the regulations governing handling and disposal of all wastes has become more rigorous. Of particular impact to E & P waste handling is past and projected modifications to permits tied to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). The key word in the title is "elimination" and the industry looks to injection to handle the elimination of the discharge of generated wastes into surface waters.

Each different injection technology has its’ own set of issues relative to its’ applicability to a particular situation. These include regulatory controls and limitations, engineering parameters and guidelines, disposal capacities available, potential environmental and safety issues and liabilities and the public and regulatory community perception of all of the above. The continually changing regulatory framework and its’ interpretation within a given region or state affects the implementation of the different injection technologies, as well as their commercialization.

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