Exploration and production (E&P) waste "demographics," i.e., an assessment of the occurrence and types of wastes, waste generation sites, management practices, and costs, has been completed for natural gas-related produced water and drilling wastes in the United States for the year 1990. Information acquired from purchased data sets, a review of the literature, and a telephone survey of over 300 regulatory and industry personnel was assessed at the geologic province, state, state/geologic province, and county level, with a focus on the onshore lower 48 United States.
For the lower 48 onshore states in 1990, results indicate that gas-related activities generated over 389 million barrels (MMbbl) of produced water and nearly 44 MMbbl of drilling waste. Together, these gas-related wastes represented less than 4% of the combined total of those waste types generated for both gas- and oil-related activities. Injection dominated disposal for produced water, but discharge was important in the Gulf Coast Basin and for select coal bed methane waters. Off-site management of liquids, mainly by injection, dominated for drilling wastes. However, nearly a third of the holes, which were drilled with air rotary systems, produced relatively small volumes of solids-dominated wastes, managed mainly on-site.