John Candler
Environmental Manager, Schlumberger,
Yan Gao, Schlumberger
Patrick Tyczynski, Schlumberger

Presentation Date: May 4, 2023

Components of drilling fluids will determine the potential for beneficial reuse and the use of biological treatment to turn cuttings into soil amendments. The base fluid is a core component; therefore, three commercially available hydrocarbon products were evaluated by analytical chemistry for the overall removal of hydrocarbons using composting techniques (biological treatment). To further understand some of the chemical drivers in the observed performance, a closer look at the hydrocarbon components as a function of carbon distribution and branching was conducted.

The first evaluation focused on the changes in the carbon chain length distribution of the remaining hydrocarbons measured by GCMS. The second evaluation investigated the changes in the branched hydrocarbons from day zero to the end of the composting trial.

In these three commercial products, the results indicate that the hydrocarbons less than or equal to C14 degraded faster relative to the hydrocarbons higher than C14 over the 28-day period of composting. For diesel, it was apparent that the liner hydrocarbons biodegraded faster than the branched hydrocarbons.

This review of these results will continue to help evolve the understanding of effective product selection and composting techniques for use with drilling fluids in onshore applications.

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