Oil-laden drill cutting wastes have remained a serious environmental menace to well engineers and oil prospecting companies, due to unacceptability of oil-based muds to the environment as proscribed by the environmental guidelines. The problem of oil-containing drill cuttings can be better appreciated when viewed along the line that in Nigeria, about 3,900 billion barrel of drill cuttings are produced in a typical four thousand and fifty-four meter on shore drilling operation. Guidelines and standards of the regulatory authority in Nigeria, the Department of Petroleum Resources, forbid the discharge of drill cuttings into the environment without first ascertaining the nil or minimum impacts via carrying out Environmental Impact Assessment and Environment Evaluation Report studies. Biodegradation is the natural process whereby micro-organisms use up such substances as energy source, which are broken down into constituents such as fatty acids, carbon dioxide, and water. The biodegradation of oil pollutants is not a new concept; however, it is new as an increasingly effective and potentially inexpensive clean-up technology. Its potential contribution as countermeasure biotechnology for decontamination of oil-polluted ecosystems is enormous. Oil exploration industries should adopt biodegradation treatment procedures of their generated wastes before discharge into receiving environment.
Part of the book: Oil and Gas Wells