Onshore disposal options aim at incorporating drilling waste into either the surface (or rooting zone) or beneath the rooting zone. The former is
called land application. The latter is called burial.
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Drilling waste minimization or reuse of resources that can become waste are key strategies in waste avoidance and a sound waste management plan. Two general approaches to waste minimization have developed. They can be called total fluid management (TFM) and environmental impact reduction (EIR).
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It is obvious, from the preceding discussion, that drilling waste contains a large amount of base fluid, whether that fluid is diesel oil, mineral oil, oolefin, ester, or water. A more detailed discussion about the nature or characteristics of the waste should consider the place of disposal. In a broad sense, this can be accomplished by considering that all waste must be disposed in the water, on land, or in the air. For example, the characteristics of drilling waste when discharged offshore (disposal in
water) will be viewed from the potential effects between the waste and water. These are effects to the seabed, to the water column itself, and to the air/water interface at the surface. In this scenario, diesel oil is an obvious contaminant. Diesel oil creates a sheen on the water surface, disperses in the water column, and creates a toxic effect in cuttings piles on the seabed. For this reason, diesel oil-based drilling fluids and the cuttings generated while using them are not discharged into the sea.
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Drilling waste consists of waste drilling fluid, drilled cuttings with associated drilling fluid, and, to a lesser extent, miscellaneous fluids such as excess cement, spacers, and a variety of other fluids. The amount of drilling waste depends on a number of factors. These include hole size, solidscontrol efficiency, the ability of the drilling fluid to tolerate solids, the ability of the drilling fluid to inhibit degradation or dispersion of drilled cuttings, and the amount of drilling fluid retained on the drilled cuttings.
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