Industry Information on Oil and Gas Chemicals
Summary of the presentation "Eliminating Environmental Risks in Well Construction and Workovers."
In 2004, Phil Rae, a manager with BJ Services, presented a lecture to the Society of Petroleum Engineers, entitled "Eliminating Environmental Risks in Well Construction and Workovers." In addition to downloading a pdf version of Rae's slides, you can view a webcast of the presentation.
The key points from Rae's presentations included the following:
- more than 2,500 chemicals are being used by the oil and gas industry today.
- the chemicals being used have a wide diversity of toxicities and biodegradability
- Some of the "serious potential bad guys" found in stimulation (e.g., hydraulic fracturing) chemicals, include acids, corrosion inhibitors, surfactants, biocides, organo-metallic crosslinkers and solvents.
- Some oilfield chemicals are known to be endocrine disruptors. They can trigger biological changes at very, very low concentrations, and as a result, they've been implicated in health problems such as cancer and genetic mutations. According to Rae, "There are several of these materials around in our industry: the so-called NPEs - nonylphenyl-ethoxylates. . . , polycyclic aromatics; and phthalates." Rae adds that "nonylphenol ethoxylates have been banned from our industry for quite some time now. In those areas where there is an active environmental protection program we no longer use nonylphenols."
- The United States is lagging behind Europe and even some newly industrializing countries when it comes to phasing out harmful oilfield chemicals. Rae states that between 60 and 65% of chemicals in use in the UK are "OK" but it would be simple to raise this figure to 90% because the technology to achieve this already exists. Norway, Denmark and Holland lead the field when it comes to utilizing 'green' technologies in construction, workover and stimulation. "The UK is dragging it's heels but semi-compliant," according to Rae, and the "US - still behind the curve, unfortunately."