Reducing the environmental, health and safety impact of chemical operations is a recognised target for upstream Oil & Gas operations. Approaches include use of less hazardous products, optimisation of waste management and minimisation of discharges. This paper discusses a novel business model, Chemical Leasing (ChL) that promotes sustainable use of chemicals through linking the supplier's sales income to chemical performance. In this model chemical consumption becomes a cost instead of a revenue factor for the supplier. This in turn leads to:

  • Operational impact: Concentrated efforts on behalf of the supplier to reduce losses to the environment and increase recycling and reuse leads to lower environmental impact and associated costs through reduced emissions, discharges and chemical waste. This also lowers the exposure of employees, communities and consumers.

  • Life-cycle impact reduction: raw material, energy etc. invested in the chemical decreases as chemical use decreases

  • Innovation: linking revenue to life-cycle performance stimulates the suppliers R&D process towards products and process modifications that reduce overall HSE impact.

For the operator, ChL therefore provides a clear potential for a win-win situation with four key chemical management targets: better environmental performance, better operational cost efficiency, minimisation of chemical waste created and reduced exposure. For the supplier, there is a potential to increase profits and competitive edge.

ChL has been successfully used in a number of applications, including cooling, heating; cleaning, purification and biocides. The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) promotes the use of ChL as a tool for sustainable chemical management. In 2010, UNIDO recognised two oilfield players for outstanding ChL performance: Ecopetrol SA, for oil dehydration and water clarification applications and Cabot Specialty Fluids for leasing formate brines as well construction fluids. The ChL model is reviewed through these two applications. Further potential product groups and applications for the oilfield where ChL could be a viable option are discussed.

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