What Is Slurry Injection?

Slurry injection is the culmination of decades of oilfield waste disposal experience and research. It is the best way to treat, dispose of, and contain toxic and non-toxic waste without damaging the environment while efficiently producing a dependable resource.

  • Slurry injection is the grinding and processing of solids into small particles.
  • The particles are mixed with water or other liquid to create a slurry.
  • The slurry is injected into an underground formation at high pressure to fracture the rock substrate according to a preplanned 3D model.

Slurry injection is a safe and environmentally preferable disposal method for oilfield waste when conducted at locations in suitable geological conditions and the injection process is properly managed and monitored.

Our team ensures the performance of operational procedures and scheduled testing to monitor the integrity of the wellbore.

Slurry injection is also known as slurry fracture injection(R), drill cuttings re-injection, and fracture slurry injection. We offer both annular injection and injection into a dedicated disposal well.

Injection can be continuous or intermittent, depending on your needs.

Safe, Deep Oilfield Waste Disposal

Most drill cuttings are low-toxicity, but slurry injection ensures they remain separate from environmental resources. Unlike conventional surface disposal methods, slurry injection safely deposits oilfield waste deep underground where it will pose no threat to the environmental resources we depend upon.

  • Drill cuttings are deposited below the surface, thousands of feet below usable groundwater.
  • Before slurry injection the wellbore is encased in multiple layers of steel and cemented into place, creating an impermeable wall between the wellbore and the surrounding strata.

Economical Efficiency

Slurry injection is the most cost effective method of oilfield waste disposal. Other methods require transporting waste to another location; slurry injection eliminates the expense of transport as well as the risk of an environmental spill requiring expensive clean-up and potential fines.

  • The tightening regulatory climate makes other methods of waste disposal more costly.
  • Slurry injection can meet the most stringent regulations while keeping costs down.

Expertise

Our engineers have developed and own the most advanced 3D fracture modeling tools for waste injection in the industry. Computer modeling is crucial to locating the best strata for slurry injection and to predict exactly how the rock will fracture to maintain isolation and containment.

We have published over 50 papers on injection related topics.

Types of Waste We Inject

Slurry injection allows the cleaning and reuse of drilling fluids and muds. Damaging particles are removed for further treatment. Recycled, clean mud is now available to continue protecting the drill and providing an efficient drilling process.

  • Drilling fluids and muds that lubricate and cool the drill bit and carry drill cuttings to the surface
  • Drill cuttings produced when a drill moves through rock
  • Bio-solids
  • Contaminated soils
  • Petroleum exploration and production waste
  • Other types of non-hazardous and hazardous waste can also be injected

Waste materials are separated by a vibrating screen. The liquid mud passes through the screen and is recycled. Cuttings coated with mud are stockpiled for further processing and final disposition.

Contact Advantek Waste Management Services to learn more.

Slurry Injection Library

Technical papers related to the injection of solids and slurry using hydraulic fracturing (aka, drill cuttings injection, slurry injection, slurry fractured injection, or cuttings reinjection).

  • "Ultimate Capacity of a Disposal Well in Drilling Waste Injection Operations", Abou-Sayed, A. S., Guo, Q., Meng, F., & Zaki, K. (2003, January 1). Ultimate Capacity of a Disposal Well in Drilling Waste Injection Operations. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/79804-MS

    Click here to view Article

    Abstract: Drilling waste disposal through downhole hydraulic fracturing is often the preferred waste management option because it can achieve green operation and often has favorable economics. Most field situation comprise of injection in either dedicated well or in the annulus of an existing well. Containment of the disposed waste must be ensured and one of the questions in drilling waste injection operations is what the capacity of a disposal well or annular scheme is? The answer to this question depends on downhole waste storage mechanisms. It is evident from laboratory simulation studies and field operation experience that multiple fractures are created in drill cuttings injection (DCI) operations and the capacity of a disposal well is much larger than that estimated from single fracture simulations. More importantly, as more solids are injected into the disposal formation, the local stress is modified. Because of this change in local stress, fracture shapes and extents at the beginning of a DCI operation can be significantly different from the fracture shapes and extents at the end the operation. Modeling of this fracturing evolution process is necessary and essential to ensure the safe containment of the disposed waste and to estimate accurately the disposal capacity of a drilling waste disposal well. This paper presents a numerical algorithm for modeling the multiple fracturing and fracture evolution process during drill cuttings injection operations. Case studies show that the modeling results based on multiple fracturing have significant impacts on DCI operations engineering such as injection pressure requirement and disposal capacity. The results also provide insight into best practices for the containment of disposed waste, when injection can continue into a previous zone and when is there a need to inject into a different zone or when a new disposal well should be drilled. For the purpose of brevity, "disposal well" will be used to designate either a dedicated injector well or an annular injection scheme.

  • "Safe injection pressures for disposing of liquid wastes: A case study for deep well injection", Abou-Sayed, A., Thompson, T. W., & Keckler, K. (1994, January 1). Safe injection pressures for disposing of liquid wastes: A case study for deep well injection. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/28126-MS

    Click here to view Article

    Abstract: The determination of maximum injection pressures is an important component of planning and permitting for deep well disposal of liquid wastes. In the United States, safe injection pressures are defined as those that do not initiate or propagate fractures. The maximum injection pressures are often based on the closure pressure at the wellbore; however, higher pressures can sometimes be demonstrated to be safe. This was the case during the recent preparation of a no-migration petition and permit applications for deep well injection at the BP Chemicals Inc. Lima, Ohio, facilities. In this case, a substantial database existed, which included core mechanical properties, in situ stress tests and transient pressure tests on a specially drilled stratigraphic test well, as well as about 20 years of injection flow and pressure history. These data were used to provide the required assurances to the regulatory agencies that injection over the closure pressure could be adequately defined. This analysis was complicated by the stress dependance of the injection formation permeability and the pluggage of the near wellbore region due to fines in the injection stream. This paper describes the database used and the analyses conducted to demonstrate that injection above closure pressure at BP Chemicals' facilities at Lima, Ohio, does not initiate or propagate fractures in the injection zone and that the injected fluids will be contained in the injection zone for at least 10,000 years.

  • "The Mounds Drill-Cuttings Injection Field Experiment: Final Results and Conclusions", Moschovidis, Z., Steiger, R., Peterson, R., Warpinski, N., Wright, C., Chesney, E., … Akhmedov, O. (2000, January 1). The Mounds Drill-Cuttings Injection Field Experiment: Final Results and Conclusions. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/59115-MS

    Click here to view Article

    Abstract: This paper summarizes the results obtained from a comprehensive, joint-industry field experiment designed to improve the understanding of the mechanics and modeling of the processes involved in the downhole injection of drill cuttings. The project was executed in three phases: drilling of an injection well and two observation wells (Phase 1); conducting more than 20 intermittent cuttings-slurry injections into each of two disposal formations while imaging the created fractures with surface and downhole tiltmeters and downhole accelerometers (Phase 2); and verifying the imaged fracture geometry with comprehensive deviated-well (4) coring and logging programs through the hydraulically fractured intervals (Phase 3). Drill cuttings disposal by downhole injection is an economic and environmentally friendly solution for oil and gas operations under zero-discharge requirements. Disposal injections have been applied in several areas around the world and at significant depths where they will not interfere with surface and subsurface potable water sources. The critical issue associated with this technology is the assurance that the cuttings are permanently and safely isolated in a cost-effective manner. The paper presents results that show that intermittent injections (allowing the fracture to close between injections) create multiple fractures within a disposal domain of limited extent. The paper also includes the conclusions of the project and an operational approach to promote the creation of a cuttings disposal domain. The approach introduces fundamental changes in the design of disposal injections, which until recently was based upon the design assumption that a large, single storage fracture was created by cuttings injections.

  • "Laboratory investigation of drill cuttings disposal by downhole injection", Willson, S. M., Steiger, R. P., Moschovidis, Z. A., Abou-Sayed, A. S., de Bree, P., & Sirevag, G. (1999, January 1). Laboratory investigation of drill cuttings disposal by downhole injection. American Rock Mechanics Association.

    Click here to view Article

    Abstract: The results of laboratory block fracturing experiments are presented which investigate the dominant fracturing mechanisms associated with drilling-waste injection operations. The tests include injection into reactive and competent shales, high permeability sands, and multi-layered formations of varying permeability. Specific details of proposed fracture mechanism have been confirmed or, where found to be inappropriate, these have been refuted.

  • "Worldwide Drill Cuttings Injection Permitting Requirements and Guidelines", Guo, Q., & Abou-Sayed, A. S. (2003, January 1). Worldwide Drill Cuttings Injection Permitting Requirements and Guidelines. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/80587-MS

    Click here to view Article

    Abstract: 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.

  • "Drill Cuttings Reinjection", Bybee, K. (2002, February 1). Drill Cuttings Reinjection. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/0202-0046-JPT

    Click here to view Article

    Abstract: This article is a synopsis of paper SPE 72308, "Design Considerations in Drill Cuttings Reinjection Through Downhole Fracturing," by Ahmed S. Abou-Sayed, SPE, and Quanxin Guo, SPE, Advantek Intl., originally presented at the 2001 IADC/SPE Middle East Drilling Technology, Bahrain, 22-24 October.

  • "Cuttings Injection And Monitoring Operations: Cashiriari Gas Field, Peru" Marinello, S. A., Mohamed, I. M., Hussein, H., Helmy, N., El-Fayoumi, A., Zaki, K., … Pierce, D. (2010, January 1). Cuttings Injection And Monitoring Operations: Cashiriari Gas Field, Peru. American Rock Mechanics Association.

    Click here to view Article

    Abstract: Performance and environmental assurance of cuttings injection programs require monitoring and periodic analysis of injection response. Such programs provide operational oversight and the ability to respond to changes in performance, providing for optimization of operating parameters to minimize potential negative impacts. Cuttings injection was implemented on a remote pad in the Cashiriari Field, located in a nature preserve in Camisea, Peru. CI was recognized as a technically and environmentally acceptable alternative for waste management in a location with extreme environmental sensitivity. Higher than anticipated injection pressures, indicative of regional and local stress regimes, required adjustments in operating parameters and expectations. Performance was contingent on successful inhibition of reactive clays in and around the target zones. Continuous monitoring of closure pressure and other trends associated with batch injection has made performance predictions possible. Monitoring operations have allowed for performance improvement and/or minimization of potential problems. The operation injected over 212,000 bbls of cuttings on the first pad and continues to be successful on the second pad through careful management of batch attributes and adaptation to operating realities. Assurance derived from such programs provides long term operational viability and social acceptance of cuttings injection as a safe means of waste management.

  • "Industrial waste injection feasibility in North Dakota", "I.M. Mohamed, G. Block, O. Abou-Sayed, A.S. Abou-Sayed,
    Industrial waste injection feasibility in North Dakota, Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, Volume 159, 2017, Pages 267-278"

    Click here to view Article

    Abstract: Class I and Class II waste re-injection are the most important methods for disposing of fluid in North Dakota: in 2007, more than 96% of produced water were disposed of using underground injection, and by 2012 all produced water was being managed by underground injection. While Class II injection covers waste produced from most Exploration & Production (E&P) activities, Class I injection wells are used for disposing of a special class of industrial wastes, including waste generated by petroleum refining, metal production, chemical production, pharmaceutical production, commercial disposal, and food production. Non-hazardous industrial waste and Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM) not associated with E&P can also be injected using Class I wells. In all cases, the primary concern for permitting and safe operations is to (1) predict the movement of the injected waste to ensure that it stays within pre-defined formations, and (2) ensure that pore-pressure increases caused by injection do not impact neighboring offset wells. Results from a geochemical study of the feasibility of disposal into the Dakota Sands (Inyan Kara formation) in North Dakota is being presented. Analyses were made using a compositional reservoir simulation (REVEAL) to predict the pore-pressure distribution, direction and movement of the injected fluid, as well as chemical reactions between formation brine/waste/formation rocks and the effect of these chemical reactions on formation injectivity and cap rock integrity. Forecasts indicate that for over 50 years of injection, the injected wastes will be completely trapped within the Dakota Sands (no fluid flow is expected to penetrate through the cap rock) and injection pressures are expected to remain well below the estimated fracture pressure. While the Inyan Kara formation is therefore a reasonable storage trap for industrial wastes, carbonate and sulfate scales may cause near wellbore formation damage and rising wellhead pressures which operators will need to address.

  • "Industrial waste injection feasibility in North Dakota", Mohamed, I. M., Block, G., Abou-Sayed, O., & Abou-Sayed, A. S. (2016, September 26). Industrial Waste Injection Feasibility in North Dakota. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/181678-MS

    Click here to view Article

    Abstract: Class I and Class II waste re-injection are the most important methods for disposing of fluid in North Dakota: in 2007, more than 96% of produced water were disposed of using underground injection, and by 2012 all produced water was being managed by underground injection. While Class II injection covers waste produced from most Exploration & Production (E&P) activities, Class I injection wells are used for disposing of a special class of industrial wastes, including waste generated by petroleum refining, metal production, chemical production, pharmaceutical production, commercial disposal, and food production. Non-hazardous industrial waste and Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM) not associated with E&P can also be injected using Class I wells. In all cases, the primary concern for permitting and safe operations is to (1) predict the movement of the injected waste to ensure that it stays within pre-defined formations, and (2) ensure that pore-pressure increases caused by injection do not impact neighboring offset wells. Results from a geochemical study of the feasibility of disposal into the Dakota Sands (Inyan Kara formation) in North Dakota will be presented. Analyses were made using a compositional reservoir simulation (REVEAL) to predict the pore-pressure distribution, direction and movement of the injected fluid, as well as chemical reactions between formation brine/waste/formation rocks and the effect of these chemical reactions on formation injectivity and cap rock integrity. Forecasts indicate that over 50 years of injection the injected wastes will be completely trapped within the Dakota Sands (no fluid flow is expected to penetrate through the cap rock) and injection pressures are expected to remain well below the estimated fracture pressure. While the Inyan Kara formation is therefore a reasonable storage trap for industrial wastes, carbonate and sulfate scales may cause near wellbore formation damage and rising wellhead pressures which operators will need to address.

  • "Multistage Centrifugal Pumps for Drilling and Production Waste Injection Operations", Newman, K., McCosh, K., Woolsey, G., & Boodhay, M. (2009, January 1). Multistage Centrifugal Pumps for Drilling and Production Waste Injection Operations. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/122415-MS

    Click here to view Article

    Abstract: Injecting oilfield waste into suitable receiving formations is an effective and environmentally acceptable method to dispose of drilling and production waste including cuttings, drilling fluids, produced water, emulsions and other produced waste. Traditionally, solid waste is degraded to less than 300 microns and suspended as water-based slurry containing 20% solid matter. Rheological properties are controlled so that the slurry can be injected, typically using triplex pumps, under high pressure (1000 to 5000 psi) through a casing annulus or tubular into hydraulic fractures. At locations, where injection pressures are within limits and the disposal well and domain may cope, or be benefitted with higher rates of injection, increases in the rate of disposal is beneficial to operations due to the increased efficiency allowing faster ROP's or faster evacuation of waste storage devices. This paper discusses the suitability and application of multistage centrifugal pumps for drilling waste injection and provides some data obtained during real time waste injection operations using multistage centrifugal pumps in parallel installation with traditionally used triplex pumps. Wear data in conjunction with engineering economic evaluation will be discussed. Slurry viscosity and particle size data will be presented to show the effect of pump shear on slurry properties and the implications for waste injection. A multistage centrifugal pump proved capable of pumping waste slurry continuously at relatively high rates for a limited trial period of time. A multistage centrifugal pump provides a continuous flow without the pulsation normally associated with using a reciprocating plunger-style pump and the need to have such pulsation dampened. Laboratory testing and real-time subsurface injection data at an offshore installation indicates that multistage horizontal centrifugal pumps may offer some benefits compared to traditional reciprocating triplex plunger pumps. Some operations requiring relatively high flow rates with flow media containing solids may benefit from implementation of this style pump providing the net power requirement and equivalent downhole pressure requirement are within the pump design range, and there is available footprint at the location. Oilfield waste can be disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner under zero-discharge conditions with the performance of the pump ensuring operational reliability and injection assurance. Operations on a global scale may benefit from this new application for multistage pumps. Decreased downtime together with slurry stability and controlled injection assures operational performance and cost effectiveness, enabling oilfield waste to be disposed in a safe, controlled and environmentally responsible manner.

  • "Cuttings-Injection and -Monitoring Operations: Cashiriari Gas Field, Peru", Pierce, D., Dunlap, L., Suarez Pineda, C. R., Zaki, K., Elfayoumi, A., Loloi, M., … Cassanelli, J. P. (2010, January 1). Cuttings-Injection and -Monitoring Operations: Cashiriari Gas Field, Peru. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/139215-MS

    Click here to view Article

    Abstract: Performance and environmental assurance of cuttings injection programs require monitoring and periodic analysis of injection response. Such programs provide operational oversight and the ability to respond to changes in performance, providing for optimization of operating parameters to minimize potential negative impacts. Cuttings injection was implemented on a remote pad in the Cashiriari Field, located in a nature preserve in Camisea, Peru. CI was recognized as a technically and environmentally acceptable alternative for waste management in a location with extreme environmental sensitivity. Higher than anticipated injection pressures, indicative of regional and local stress regimes, required adjustments in operating parameters and expectations. Performance was contingent on successful inhibition of reactive clays in and around the target zones. Continuous monitoring of closure pressure and other trends associated with batch injection has made performance predictions possible. Monitoring operations have allowed for performance improvement and/or minimization of potential problems. The operation injected over 212,000 bbls of cuttings on the first pad and continues to be successful on the second pad through careful management of batch attributes and adaptation to operating realities. Assurance derived from such programs provides long term operational viability and social acceptance of cuttings injection as a safe means of waste management.

  • "Design Considerations in Drill Cuttings Re-Injection Through Downhole Fracturing", Abou-Sayed, A. S., & Guo, Q. (2001, January 1). Design Considerations in Drill Cuttings Re-Injection Through Downhole Fracturing. Society of Petroleum Engineers. doi:10.2118/72308-MS

    Click here to view Article

    Abstract: The disposal domain concept is arguably accepted as the prevalent storage mechanism during the batch injection of drill cuttings. The disposal domain is best thought of as an elliptical realm surrounding the well. This phenomenon is well documented by field and laboratory observations and has been addressed in previous work. Most studies and field operations have centered around vertical or near vertical wells. Rarely have horizontal wells been designed for conversion to injectors or used for disposal and therefore, the effect of batch injection and the created disposal domain have not been addressed. The current paper will provide an integrated look at the fracturing process that occurred in a horizontal disposal well. The well is located in the Valhall Field, North Sea, offshore Norway. The well has multiple perforated intervals. The work will address a modified disposal domain concept as it applies to horizontal wells. The paper illustrates a history of the fracture nature (geometry and extent) and propagation across the various layers. Comparison of the field pressure history and the simulation results will be addressed. Further studies to address the effect of a workover carried out in the well, plug placement, are currently under way. These modifications will be addressed in a future paper.

  • "Geo-mechanics of Batch Injection in Horizontal Waste Disposal Wells, North Sea" ARMA 05-672, presented at Alaska Rocks 2005, The 40th U.S. Symposium on Rock Mechanics (USRMS), June 25 - 29, 2005, Anchorage, AK.

    Click here to view Article

    Abstract: The disposal domain concept is arguably accepted as the prevalent storage mechanism during the batch injection of drill cuttings. The disposal domain is best thought of as an elliptical realm surrounding the well. This phenomenon is well documented by field and laboratory observations and has been addressed in previous work. Most studies and field operations have centered around vertical or near vertical wells. Rarely have horizontal wells been designed for conversion to injectors or used for disposal and therefore, the effect of batch injection and the created disposal domain have not been addressed. The current paper will provide an integrated look at the fracturing process that occurred in a horizontal disposal well. The well is located in the Valhall Field, North Sea, and offshore Norway. The well has multiple perforated intervals. The work will address a modified disposal domain concept as it applies to horizontal wells. The paper illustrates a history of the fracture nature (geometry and extent) and propagation across the various layers. Comparison of the field pressure history and the simulation results will be addressed.

    Authors: K. S. Zaki, Advantek International; T. G.Kristiansen, BP Norway; A. S.Abou-Sayed, C. W. Summers, G. G. Wang, and M. D. Sarfare, Advantek International

    Copyright 2005, Society of Petroleum Engineers

  • "An Assessment of Economical and Environment Drivers of Sour Gas Management by Injection," SPE 97628, paper presented at the SPE International Improved Oil Recovery Conference in Asia Pacific, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 5-6 December, 2005.

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    Abstract: Many of the largest fields yet to be developed around the world contain oil, water, and high concentrations of sour gas. The fact that they are still undeveloped reflects the significant political and economic hurdles they have yet to overcome. Successful production of such fields will require careful management of surface resources (land, water, and power), subsurface resources (hydrocarbons), and associated streams (produced water, non-salable products, and E&P wastes). Several fields in the Caspian Sea are awaiting full development because they are burdened by the high expected cost and severe legal and economic risks associated with high hydrogen sulphide (H2S) content. Advantek International was contracted to undertake a comparative analysis of the engineering requirements, environmental impact risks, and economics for disposal of several associated streams in a Caspian field with 20% acid gas (CO2 and H2S).

    Authors: Abou-Sayed, A.S., Zaki, K., Summers, C.

    Copyright 2005, Society of Petroleum Engineers

  • "Management of Sour Gas by Underground Injection - Assessment, Challenges and Recommendations", SPE 86605, presented at the SPE HSE Conference held in Alberta, Canada, 29-31 March 2004.

    Click here to view Article

    Abstract: Many of the world's Mega-fields (> 1 billion barrels of reserves) contain sour gas, a blend of natural gas and hydrogen sulfide (H2S), either alone or in combination with carbon dioxide (CO2). H2S gas is extremely toxic, the combination of H2S and CO2 (Acid Gas - AG), can be highly corrosive, the elemental sulphur reacts with water to form acid rain, and CO2is now recognized as a significant greenhouse gas. Where there is a demand for the natural gas, and capacity to separate the components, the H2S and CO2 can be separated out. However, these components must be managed in a cost-effect way and according to regulatory requirements to maximize recovery of hydrocarbons and minimize AG safety and environmental impacts. To date, the CO2 components have typically been vented to the atmosphere, and sulphur has been produced for industrial uses. Novel step changes are needed to handle the large sour gas volumes to be produced by the mega-fields under development in the Caspian Sea and Middle East regions.

    Authors: Abou-Sayed, A.S., Zaki, K., C. Summers, Advantek International Corporation

    Copyright 2004, Society of Petroleum Engineers