The safe disposal and minimisation of offshore drilling waste has been a major environmental concern for the petroleum industry over many years. This paper presents the collaborative work between; oil drill cuttings generator, road authority and asphalt technologists to produce a cold mix asphalt solution to the problem of disposal.
The drill cuttings are high in moisture content and contain some hydrocarbon residues, the preliminary design identified that the addition of drill cutting waste into asphalt reduced the stiffness and inherent stability of the mixtures examined.
These two problems were overcome by redesigning the binder and by replacing up to 20% of the virgin aggregate with incinerator bottom ash. Use of the ash increased the aggregate pore structure within the mixture and accommodated the relatively high moisture contents whilst the binder modification allowed for the inherent low viscosity oils.
The project concluded with a plant/quarry trial of the Laboratory developed mixture to assess suitability for full scale production and any eventual application. This process promises to be an effective method of reducing offshore drilling waste in a cost effective and environmentally sound way.