The development of new oilfield technologies to explore such remote areas as deep waters and environmentally sensitive locations brings with it increased emphasis on protecting the natural resources of the drilling area. Accordingly, many regulatory agencies demanding zero discharge policies require all generated wastes to be disposed in a responsible manner. Such process requires the adequate management of wastes generated during drilling operations including cuttings, excess drilling fluid, contaminated rainwater, produced water, scale, produced sand, and even production and cleanup waste. Old practices involve temporary box storage and hauling of the waste products to a final disposal site. Often, these sites are several kilometers away from the generation source, creating not only liabilities for the operating company but also environmental risks such as accidental spills, gas emissions and eventually high operating costs.
Over the years, waste management technologies have evolved to address environmental solutions in the most efficient and cost-effective processes. As such, Cutting Re-Injection (CRI) nowadays is considered top-of-the line technology for the final disposal of drilling wastes through sub-surface injection into an engineered-designated formation where wastes are permanently contained. Transporting the wastes to the final disposal well poses a challenge in large development fields, where the most cost-effective solution is often to drill a dedicated injector and convey all produced wastes to the site.
This paper addresses the success of integrating methodologies for containing, handling, and transporting drill cuttings from several drill sites to a unique CRI well, where wastes are injected for final and responsible disposal. Case histories of several sites around the world are presented as they used different process configurations to achieve the common final objective: a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution for waste management.