The new OSPAR regulation (OSPAR 2000/3) on drill cuttings is due to be effective by January 2005 at the Norwegian continental shelf. Drilling operations planned to be performed from to date and onwards therefore have to take into account that the forthcoming regulation has important implications with respect to selection of adequate and compliant technology.

Drilling will commence at a new HTHP Statoil operated field offshore middle Norway, by late summer 2003. Ahead of the spudding in, a detailed and comprehensive review of technological solutions has been carried out to resolve the issues of zero discharge and use of best available technique.

The paper describes the challenges associated with the forthcoming zero discharge regulation and the different technological scenarios that have been reviewed. Waste minimisation methodology has been of major importance in the decision process. Treatment of oily drilling waste, applying new technology at the rig, was studied in detail. The respective energy budgets, environmental impacts and risks associated with the different solutions are also presented, as well as a suggested best technique.

The paper offers a study of how operators may comply with a zero discharge in drilling operations, with reference to BAT (best available technique). On a general basis the ultimate goal of environmental legislation is discussed with reference to the forthcoming discharge regime and how to decide BAT; achieving the right balance between technology and value.

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