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Muddied Waters

A Survey of Offshore Oilfield Drilling Wastes and Disposal Techniques to Reduce the Ecological Impact of Sea Dumping

by Jonathan Wills, M.A., Ph.D., M.Inst.Pet., for Ekologicheskaya Vahkta Sakhalina (Sakhalin Environment Watch); 25th May 2000

Below you will find "Core Value", Author biography, Acknowledgements and List of Abbreviations used in the survey of offshore oilfield drilling wastes and disposal techniques to reduce the ecological impact of sea dumping by Dr Jonathan Wills.

"A Core Value"

"Exxon believes that excellence in environmental, health, and safety (EHS) performance goes hand in hand with our commitment to high operational standards.

"Both require continuous attention to operations fundamentals, and both are prerequisites for long-term business success.

"Achieving excellence in EHS performance not only contributes to business results by safeguarding people and conserving resources, but also serves as a useful indicator of effective management systems."

1998 Financial and Operating Review, Exxon Corporation
"We believe Exxon to be among the industry leaders in the extent to which environmental management considerations have been integrated into ongoing business processes."

Lloyd's Register Quality Assurance Ltd. 1998

Author biography

Jonathan Wills is a writer and freelance environmental consultant who has specialised in the oil industry for over 25 years. He is the author of A Place In The Sun - a study of the development of the oil terminal at Sullom Voe in the Shetland Islands of Scotland - and Innocent Passage - a detailed account of the loss of the tanker Braer in 1973. A frequent speaker at conferences on oil and the environment, he has also written and broadcast extensively about oil in Alaska. Dr Wills also operates a wildlife tourism business at Shetland's seabird and seal colonies during the summer months and is an honorary warden of the Noss Island National Nature Reserve. He holds M.A. Honours and Ph.D. degrees in Geography from the University of Edinburgh. He is a member of the Shetland Marine Safety Sub-committee for the UK Department of Transport and has a UK Boatmaster's Licence.


The following people have kindly assisted this study with professional advice, literature searches, contacts, references and/or factual queries. The opinions expressed herein, and any remaining errors and omissions, are the author's sole responsibility:

Natalya Barannikova, Ekologicheskaya Vahkta Sakhalina, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk;
David Burley, Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board;
Arantxa Castañares, European Oilfield Speciality Chemicals Association;
David Gordon, Pacific Environment & Resources Center, Oakland CA;
Stefan Hain, OSPAR Commission, London;
Gordon Harvey, UK Offshore Operators' Association, Aberdeen;
Paul Horsman, Greenpeace International, London;
Carey Johnston, US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC;
Dan Lawn, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Valdez AK;
Dmitry Lisitsyn, Ekologicheskaya Vahkta Sakhalina, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk;
Einar Lystad, Statens forurensningstilsyn, Oslo;
Liliana El Minyawi, Institute of Petroleum library, London;
Kevin O'Carroll, UK Department of Trade & Industry, Aberdeen;
David Okill, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Lerwick;
Richard Prentki, US Minerals Management Service, Anchorage;
Nancy Rabelais, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Chauvin, LA; National Library of Scotland staff, Edinburgh;
Simon Reddy, Greenpeace International, London;
Bob Shavelson, Cook Inlet Keepers, Homer;
Rick Steiner, University of Alaska, Fairbanks;
Jon Wils, UK Offshore Operators' Association, Aberdeen

List of Abbreviations

ADEC - Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
API - American Petroleum Institute
BAT - Best Available Technology
BATEA - Best Available Technology economically achievable (US EPA parlance)
BCT - Best Conventional pollutant control Technology (US EPA parlance)
BEP - Best Environmental Practice (UK parlance)
BPT - Best Practicable control Technology currently available (US EPA parlance)
BADCT - Best Available Demonstrated Control Technology (US EPA parlance)
CBI - Confidential Business Information (US parlance)
CEFAS Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science
CEPA - Canadian Environmental Protection Act
CHARM - Chemical Hazard Assessment and Risk Management (OSPAR parlance)
CNOPB - Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board
CNSOPB - Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board
CRI - Cuttings Re-Injection (see also SFI)
CWA - Clean Water Act (US)
DOE - Department of Energy (US)
EC50 - The concentration of a substance that affects 50% of a test population after a specified time;
EINECS - European Inventory of Existing Commercial Chemical Substances;
ELINCS - European List of Notified Chemical Substances;
EPA - Environmental Protection Agency (US)
FPSO - Floating Production, Storage and Offloading Vessel
HOCNF - Harmonised Offshore Chemical Notification Format
IP - Institute of Petroleum (UK)
LC50 - Lethal Concentration of a test substance, killing 50% of organisms exposed to it
NOEC - No Observed Effect Concentration
NPDES - National Pollution Discharge Elimination Standards (US EPA parlance)
NSPS - New Source Performance Standards (US EPA parlance)
OBM - Oil-Based Mud
OCNS - Offshore Chemical Notification Scheme
ooc - oil on cuttings
OPF - Organic-Phase Drilling Fluid (defined by OSPAR as "an organic-phase drilling fluid, which is an emulsion of water and other additives in which the continuous phase is a water-immiscible organic fluid of animal, vegetable or mineral origin")
OSPAR - Oslo-Paris Convention For The Protection Of The Marine Environment Of The North-East Atlantic
ppm - parts per million
POBM - Pseudo Oil-based Mud
PON - Petroleum Operations Notice (UK parlance)
POTWs - Publicly-Owned-Treatment Works (US EPA parlance)
PSES - Pre-treatment Standards for Existing Sources (US EPA parlance)
PSNS - Pre-treatment Standards for New Sources (US EPA parlance)
SBM or SDF - Synthetic-Based Drilling Mud/Fluid
SDS - Safety Data Sheet
SEBA - OSPAR's Working Group on Sea-based Activities
SFI - Slurry Fracture Injection [of drilling wastes]
SFT - Statens forurensningstilsyn [Norwegian State Pollution Control Authority]
TSS - Total Suspended Solids
UKCS - United Kingdom Continental Shelf
UKOOA - United Kingdom Offshore Operators' Association
WBM - Water-Based Mud

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[Author] [Conclusions] [Drilling Waste] [International Law] [Environmental Effects] [Minimizing Discharges] [Resources] [References]

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"Muddied Waters":



List of Abbreviations

Summary of Conclusions

Drilling Waste Streams from Offshore Oil and Gas Installations

The Law on Offshore Wastes Discharges in Different Jurisdictions:

The OSPAR Convention

United Kingdom



United States

Inviting Regulation

Environmental Effects of Drilling Waste Discharges

The SBM Controversy

"Non-Water Quality Environmental Impacts"


Drill Cuttings

Produced Water

Minimising Waste Discharges and Their Effects

Reinjection Offshore

Cleaning Produced Waters

List of Main Sources

Selected References



Articles on Offshore
Oil&Gas; and Environment

Impact of Offshore Oil&Gas; Industry


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