Drilling for both conventional and unconventional gas generates drilling mud during and after the drilling process. This mud has a number of properties that make it beneficial in a range of uses and does not need to be disposed of to landfill.
An assessment was undertaken to identify potential beneficial uses based on the mud composition, and then identify established businesses to utilise the drilling mud in a cost-effective manner. The assessment process was highly structured and considered technical, regulatory and financial aspects.
The outcome was the beneficial use of the drilling mud in a range of processes, that ultimately led the material being diverted from landfill and used in higher order uses for the benefit of not only the generator, but also the processor. The reuse of the drilling mud has continued and is to be expanded upon.
The main disciplines undertaken included the following:
- Chemical and physical analysis of materials
- Market assessment of reuse options
- Assessment matrix including technical, financial and regulatory aspects
- Cost benefit analysis