SPE Paper: Uintaite is Approved for Use in Drilling Operations in Sensitive Marine Environments
January 26, 2023
Over the last thirty years the oil and gas industry has implemented high environmental standards to reduce its impact on the environment. As drilling and completion fluids services are one of the main components in drilling operations, North Sea environmental regulations require every chemical compound in the drilling fluid formulation to be evaluated before approval for use.
This paper outlines the chemical composition and testing of Gilsonite® uintaite, with the following conclusions:
- Low thermal maturity and nil aromatic content within uintaite matrix is one of the unique features that defines why uintaite is not harmful in environmental tests.
- Uintaite does not interfere with thermal maturity biomarkers.
- Uintaite possesses chemical and geochemical characteristics that make it a non-harmful natural material, due to its very low content of dangerous compounds such as sulfur or aromatics rings.
- Low Pow results for bioaccumulation pointed out that uintaite will not bioaccumulate, because it is not soluble either in water or n-Octanol.
- Molecular weight of uintaite is significantly higher than 7 kDalton and does not penetrate through skin.
- Uintaite is an inert natural material for marine species according to EPA and OSPAR guidelines for environment protection. It can be used in the GoM or in the North Sea as a drilling fluid additive with no negative impacts to the environment.
- Uintaite has negligible or innocuous effect in the reservoir.
- Environmental tests results and rock-fluid interaction determine that uintaite is a safe additive for marine ecosystems.
Ghery Sotomayor of American Gilsonite Company shared the high points of this paper with peers at the ADIPEC 2022 Exhibition and Conference – demonstrating that Gilsonite is safe and effective in sensitive marine environment drilling operations.