The concept of beneficial reuse allows for the reusing of a material as a valuable commodity rather than a waste. Benefits of reuse include reduced waste management cost, reduced resource consumption, overall improved environmental performance and enhanced community relationships.

This concept has merit for used drilling fluids because they can be directly reused for their intended purpose to drill a well. The fundamental design of drilling fluids systems allows them to be circulated in such a way that maintains the physical and chemical properties of the drilling fluids in the circulating system and ejects the drilled solids out of the active system. Even though the process of mechanical solid control is not 100% efficient at removing drilled solids, low gravity drilled solids that remain in a properly-managed system improve the function of that system. Further, the remaining drilled solids do not present a significant environmental risk to the environment.

The development of state rules to manage used drilling fluids and discharged solids from used drilling fluids continues to evolve. This paper will review current state rules in some key states and discuss ideal regulatory frameworks for encouraging continued beneficial reuse of used drilling fluids.

Primary Author / Conference Presenter:
John Candler
M-I SWACO, a Schlumberger Company
Houston, Texas, USA

Dorothy E. Watson, Foley & Lardner LLP, Houston, TX
Patrick Tyczynski, M-I SWACO, a Schlumberger company, Houston, TX