TWMA Releases Research on Reducing Carbon Footprint of Drilling Process



Leading environmental services specialist Total Waste Management Alliance (TWMA) has completed a research project aimed at helping operators reduce the carbon footprint of the drilling process.

The work is part of TWMA's multi-million pound investment in Research & Development to help reduce the environmental impact of the oil & gas industry drilling process both on and offshore and just one of a range of research projects in partnership with academia.

The Aberdeen-headquartered company was recognized recently for its commitment to research work, with a visit from Scottish Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism, Jim Mather to launch a Scottish Science Advisory Committee (SSAC) report calling for further collaborations on R&D between industry and higher education bodies.

In one of its collaborations, TWMA teamed up with the Business Environment Partnership (BEP) and Scottish Agricultural College student Tracey Elrick to measure the carbon footprint of offshore versus onshore recycling of the cuttings that are a by-product of the drilling process.

Findings revealed that the carbon footprint of a typical skip and ship operation was 400 times greater than processing the cuttings on a rig through TWMA's TCC-RotoMill technology.

If all cuttings were treated offshore, the research also showed the following benefits could be realized:

  • Diversion of 28,000 tonnes of residual powder from landfill
  • 6000cubic meters of oil could be reclaimed and reused in drilling operations
  • 6000cubic meters of water could be recovered and reused rather than discharged into the sewer process

TWMA Managing Director Ronnie Garrick said, "The findings provide clear evidence of the environmental benefits of using technology such as the TCC-RotoMill to process cuttings in situ offshore, avoiding crane lifts and the additional impact of transportation.

"TWMA's aim has been to develop a range of products to help our customers meet and even surpass the increasing levels of legislation being introduced around the world to protect the environment. We have invested heavily in research work and the university collaborations have proved beneficial."

Projects have involved Glasgow Caledonian University, the University of the West of Scotland, Interface, the National Industrial Symbiosis Program and the Scottish Environmental Technology Network.

TWMA is the only SME in the world to process cuttings offshore using its TCC-RotoMill. More than 10 units are in operation in the UK and overseas using thermal technology to separate oil-based drill mud cuttings into constituent parts of water, oil and solids that can be recycled.

The company also has a fully mobile form of the TCC-RotoMill technology in the form of the TCC-RotoTruck, capable of traveling to virtually any location required globally by the oil & gas industry. TWMA is also an expert in the planning, management and operation of industrial waste management programs.