Drilling mud is a slurry comprising oil, water, and chemical additives. Mud is critical to drilling a modern well as it is circulated down a wellbore to remove rock cuttings and to power the drill bit. A significant volume of this drilling mud is used and later recirculated. The drilling mud warms at depth, creating steam, which holds suspended PM and dissolved chemicals. Many of the pieces of equipment are open or only partially enclosed, allowing for steam generation, while other processes generate aerosolised sprays. There is a significant potential for petroleum workers to become exposed and potentially suffer health effects because of drilling mud exposure. This study aims to find the major sources of PM10 on petroleum wells and quantify the levels of exposure and health hazard associated with drilling mud on petroleum rigs. A literature search was performed, which included all available materials which contained static or mobile concentrations of PM10 or oil mist within the UK or international petroleum drilling sites with a preference for North Sea operations. The study predicts the total PM10 by estimating the combined impact of both solid PM and oil mist. Using this conversion, it is also possible to estimate PM10 concentrations when using water-based muds. The work designates and discusses the expected health ramifications of excess exposure. A quantitative assessment of the risk of silicosis 15 years post-exposure is also calculated, predicting dire consequences to petroleum personnel in the long term. The exposure assessment methods, hygienic standards, and preventive measures are also addressed briefly.

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