In the United States, most of the exploration and production (E&P) wastes generated at onshore oil and gas wells are disposed of or otherwise managed at the well site. Certain types of wastes are not suitable for onsite management, and some well locations in sensitive environments cannot be used for onsite management. In these situations, operators must transport the wastes offsite for disposal.
In 1997, Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne) prepared a report that identified offsite commercial disposal facilities in the United States. This information has since become outdated. Over the past year, Argonne has updated the study through contacts with state oil and gas agencies and commercial disposal companies. The new report, including an extensive database for more than 200 disposal facilities, provides an excellent reference for information about commercial disposal operations.
This paper describes Argonne's report. The national study provides summaries of the types of offsite commercial disposal facilities found in each state. Data are presented by waste type and by disposal method. The categories of E&P wastes in the database include: contaminated soils, naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM), oil-based muds and cuttings, produced water, tank bottoms, and water-based muds and cuttings. The different waste management or disposal methods in the database involve: bioremediation, burial, salt cavern, discharge, evaporation, injection, land application, recycling, thermal treatment, and treatment. The database includes disposal costs for each facility.