Solids Disposal – Examples (B-FSM-166)
The information below provides some details on examples of disposal methods used in various operating fields.
Landfill Disposal: Determine the specific landfill location and acceptance criteria for your particular waste. Many standard landfills take non-hazardous E&P waste, however regional landfills exist for low-level NORM.
Example of Waste Acceptance Criteria from Williston Basin E&P waste disposal landfill.
- Must be solid enough to walk on!
- No free liquids (must pass paint filter test)
- Less than 50 ppm Benzene
- No greater than 5 pCi/gm total Radium 226 & 228
- No greater than 5 pCi/gm Lead 210
- Any waste not meeting the RCRA E&P exemption (see Forms & Documents for more information) is subject to testing to confirm its non-hazardous status. This may include TCLP (Toxicity), BTEX, DRO, GRO, flashpoint, corrosivity and reactivity characteristics.
Overboard Discharge: Once produced sand processed to meet discharge specifications then added to drill cuttings, produced water streams, or drains. Typically discharged via sump caisson or skim pile.
Produced solids/sand is not often specifically covered by discharge regulations
- Discharge limits for produced water have specific guidelines
- Discharge limits for mud and cuttings have specific guidelines – water based, synthetic based, and oil based
- Produced solids may fall under “oily cuttings discharge”
U.S. GoM does not allow discharge of produced solids. OSPAR (North Sea) allows discharge at <1% oil on cuttings but primary practice is to inject or ship-to-shore.
The table below is a summary from the Jones et al. reference providing examples of discharge standards for produced solids.
Slurry Fracture Injection: Solids injection into disposal reservoir.
- Used significantly for drill cuttings
- Many OnePetro papers and SPE Monograph Vol. 24 entitled “Solids Injection”
- Typically, a batch process using fracture pumps
- Slurry injected into discrete disposal zone
Add sand to road surface/bed mix (cold mix asphalt)
- Non-hazardous, usually on-site use only
- “E&P Waste Management in the Orinoco Delta”
Add sand to existing drill cuttings disposal
- Either local or regional drill cuttings injection site
- Produced solids a small fraction compared to drill cuttings
Grind sand to smaller size prior to injection disposal
- Use ball mill to grind sand to fines for easier injection with other wastes
- Used in Alaskan environmentally sensitive and hard to transport area
Biodegradation with compost/landfill piles
- Rawlins, C.H. and Wang, I. 2001. “Design and Installation of a Sand-Separation and -Handling System for a Gulf of Mexico Oil Production Facility”. SPE Production and Facilities, August, pp. 134-140. https://doi.org/10.2118/72999-PA
- Rawlins, C.H. 2019. “Enhanced Production Through Surface Facilities Sand Management.” SPE Distinguished Lecturer presentation. Link here
- Rawlins, C.H. “What to do with Produced Solids after Separation: Dewatering, Transport, and Disposal.”. White Paper Publication, eProcess Technologies. Link here
Next week I will wrap up the information presented in Module 9.