Worldwide Drill Cuttings Injection Permitting Requirements and Guidelines

Quanxin Guo; Ahmed S. Abou-Sayed
Presented at SPE/EPA/DOE Exploration and Production Environmental Conference, San Antonio, Texas, March 2003.


Cuttings and other drilling waste injection through downhole fracturing started in the late 1980s and by the early 1990s, drill cuttings injection was being performed worldwide as an economically sound and environmentally safe long-term solution for drilling and production waste management. Although drill cuttings injection has become the preferred drilling waste management option in many parts of the world, each situation is different and the biggest hurdle in applying this technology for drilling and production waste management in some countries is waste injection permit application either because the regulatory agencies have not established any permitting requirements and application procedures or because the E&P operators are not familiar with the application process. Although different regions or countries have different permitting requirements, many of the requirements are essentially the same. This paper presents a review and analysis of worldwide drilling waste injection permitting requirements. Common permitting requirements are given with application procedure guidelines. The operators can use the guidelines to prepare their permitting application, while the regulatory agencies may use the review and guidelines as a reference for establishing or streamlining their own drill cuttings injection permit application requirements and procedures.