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Improving the Working Environment and Drilling Economics Through Better Understanding of Oil-Based Drilling Fluid Chemistry

R.W. James, SPE, T. Schei, and P. Navestad, Phillips Petroleum Co. Norway, and T.A. Geddes, M.G. Nelson, SPE, and D. Webster, Carless Rening and Marketing Summary The relationships between oil-based drilling uid composition and the associated vapors have been quantied. The study documents the long- and short-term changes in base oil selection and uid compositions. The study is based on the generation and assessment of data collected from the vapor emissions of oil-based drilling uids with varying compositions and at a range of temperatures. The purpose of the study was to enable a better understanding of the potential working environment hazards when using mineral oil-based drilling uids. One result of this understanding is that new rig construction designs and older rig upgrades can be performed more informatively. This will reduce the repetition of continual modication costs. have a smectite bentonitic content of up to 35%. These characteristics provide very unstable drilling conditions in the presence of aqueous drilling uids. Subsidence of the depleted reservoir sections, most notably in the Ekosk eld, has added to formation instabilities especially when using water-based drilling uids. The drilling of wells with increasingly greater deviations and more complex well paths necessitated the use of nonaqueous synthetic oil-based drilling uids to stabilize the exposed formations being drilled. Since 1990 there has been wider and more successful use of these uids. However the Norwegian state pollution control authorities and the European pollution authorities were not entirely comfortable with the use and discharge of synthetic oilbased drilling uids. Consequently PPCoN moved towards an increased use of mineral oil-based drilling uids. This practice was coupled with the reinjection of cuttings and of contaminated oil-based drilling uid. This form of drilling operation has eliminated any negative disturbance of the marine environment since there is a no discharge to the sea. PPCoN has also been challenged on two strategy fronts for its intention of using mineral oil-based drilling uids. These challenges have been from the following. The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate NPD regulatory controlling document, Quality assurance when documenting chemical hazards to health and environment. An item of concern resulting from an NPD audit of the 2/4X platform, a new platform purposefully designed in 1994 to use oil-based drilling uids. The item reads, ... The NPD would like to point out that choosing oil-based drilling uids is controversial, from a working environment point of view, and would like to emphasize that the selection of equipment and ventilation systems must be thoroughly evaluated. The hazards for personnel of uncontrolled exposure to the vapors and mists from oil-based drilling uids includes impacts on the central nervous system such as dizziness, tiredness, headaches and nausea, and conditions such as pneumonia, bronchitis, bronchial asthma and possibly cancer.1 The seriousness is emphasized knowing that some mineral base oils can evaporate at a rate of 1 vol%/10 h at 70C.1 This temperature is not uncommon for a drilling uid during drilling operations. Headspace Measurement Observations From Laboratory Studies In this section some of the possible sources of vapor emissions from oil-based drilling uids are described and alternative ways of reducing them are discussed. The concentration of vapor in the headspace of a diesel base oil is typically 100 ppm but may be as high as 1,000 ppm at 80C. By comparison the best of the more recent generation base oils with low headspace characteristics have maximum headspace concentrations of less than 30 ppm at 80C. It is also important to note that the vapors given off by a diesel base oil, for example, contain more toxic compounds such as polycyclic aromatics than the more highly rened base oils described herein. The obvious way to obtain lower vapor concentration in the headspace of a base oil is to use higher boiling components. How1064-6671/2000/154/254/7/$5.000.50

Introduction Controlling the amount of vapor in the workplace is important for occupational health and safety reasons. It is commonly believed that most vapors in the working areas come from the mineral base oil of the drilling uid. This is due to the base oil being the greater volume of the drilling uid, generally in excess of 50%. Studies have shown this belief to be erroneous. The total hydrocarbon vapor from oil-based drilling uids also includes vapor contributions from drilling uid additives and possibly from hydrocarbonbearing formations which have been drilled with the uid. This means that when formulating a suitable drilling uid it is important to minimize those components in the formulations that could be hazardous. Generally it is the lighter hydrocarbon components that are most hazardous to personnel. The traditional approach to minimizing the concentration of organic vapor in the atmosphere has involved improving the characteristics of the base oils. However, eld studies have shown that reducing the vapor concentration in the headspace above the pure base oil, from 100 parts per million ppm to 10 ppm, for example, does not necessarily lead to the same percentage reduction of vapor in the work place atmosphere issued from the whole drilling uid see the Appendix. The term headspace refers to the vapor phase associated with and in equilibrium with a respective substance or blend of substances, liquid and/or solid. A brief eld history is given to support the reasons for the continued use of oil-based drilling uids by the operator. In addition, the driving criteria for ongoing working environment studies are discussed. Phillips Petroleum Company Norway PPCoN had used water based drilling uids for drilling operations until the early 1990s. Drilling down to the chalk reservoir has been through tertiary clay formations primarily of the Miocene, Oligocene and Eocene ages. The clay formations have pore pressures of up to 1.68 specic gravity uid weight equivalent. The clays are very reactive and
Copyright 2000 Society of Petroleum Engineers This paper (SPE67835) was revised for publication from SPE 57551 rst presented at the 1999 SPE/IADC Middle East Drilling Conference held in Abu Dhabi, UAE, 8 10 November. Original manuscript received for review 22 February 2000. Revised manuscript received 27 July 2000. Paper peer approved 14 August 2000.


SPE Drill. & Completion 15 4, December 2000

TABLE 1 RELATIVE HEADSPACES OF MUD COMPONENTS Component Base oil A Base oil B Emulsier Rheology modier Wetting agent Organophilic clay A Organophilic clay B Relative Headspace at 35C 1.0 2.0 17.8 23.7 37.7 0.18 0.05 Relative Headspace at 50C 1.0 2.5 16.7 23.0 32.4 Relative Headspace at 80C 1.0 2.0 8.6 10.7 11.8 0.05 0.04

ever this results in two contrasting effects: the vapor pressure decreases as the boiling point of the oil increases, and the viscosity increases as the boiling point increases. For drilling and safety purposes the desired base oil should have low viscosity, low vapor pressure and a high ashpoint. This is in addition to the requisite environmental properties. Meeting all these parameters simultaneously is not always possible. A compromise must be reached in the form of a narrower boiling point range, resulting in lower base oil yields, higher byproduct yields and as a consequence higher production costs for the rener. Composition of Additives. An oil-based drilling uid typically includes a base oil phase usually in excess of 50% by volume, a water phase containing salt and lime, an oil/water emulsier liquid, a preferentially oil wetting agent liquid, possibly a liquid rheology modier liquid, an organophillic clay viscosier, and an inert additive, barite, for density control. Drilling uid additives are not an openly dened chemical group. However the major additives in an oil-based drilling uid such as emulsiers, rheology builders and wetting agents can be viewed as active chemicals dissolved or dispersed in suitable solvents. Gas chromatographic analysis has revealed these additives to be complex mixtures containing large proportions of highly volatile materials. All the liquid additives studied have higher overall vapor pressures, and therefore headspaces, than the base oils studied. The high vapor pressures may be attributed to either the additive solvents or to a chemical reaction/decomposition process involving the active parts of the additives. Relative Headspace Values. The relative headspaces of the different drilling uid additives, including base oils, are signicant and diverse. Study results indicate that the headspace for each of the liquid additives is generally at least an order of magnitude larger than that of the base oils studied. A relationship is illustrated where base oil A has been given the arbitrary value of 1 Table 1.

Individual Drilling Fluid Additive Headspace and Reactions. The total headspace of the individual drilling uid additives is also diverse Table 2. Total vaporization of small volumes, for example, 1 L, of the samples at the higher temperature of 155C is necessary to calculate an equivalent ppm/unit area for each respective sample. The results from Table 2 indicate that various base oils exhibit measurable differences in total headspace; for example, base oil B is typically twice that of base oil A. If improvements for occupational health are to be addressed then the choice of base oil is one of the many crucial factors which must be carefully considered. The organophillic clays used in this study produced widely varying headspace results and for clay A a signicantly higher headspace than the base oils. The emulsier, wetting agent and liquid rheology modier additives used produced higher headspaces than either of the two base oils. Additionally, the wetting agent has a headspace approximately twice that of either of the other two additives. This may be due to a compound causing a large spurious peak at approximately 12 to 16 minutes on the chromotogram. A similar peak was also seen in the analysis of the whole drilling uid system at the same retention time. With the exception of organophilic clay A, all drilling uid additive headspace reduced with time when aged in an open beaker with heating and stirring. The wetting agent peak at 12 to 16 minutes was present but diminished initially at a greater rate than the overall headspace values. Laboratory prepared drilling uids made using organophilic clay A exhibited an initial decrease in headspace followed by an increase at approximately 20 hours tailing off at 24 hours Fig. 1. This cyclic effect was analogous to that of the spurious peak seen at 12 to 16 minutes in the organophilic clay A uids. Both laboratory prepared drilling uids with organophilic clay B showed an overall decrease in headspace over the 24-hour period. This decrease is analogous to the expected decrease in headspace which was observed with the base oils only. The 12 to 16 minute peak was also observed in the organophilic clay B drilling uids at T 0, the time at which these uids produced the highest headspace concentration. Organophilic clay A drilling uids had greater headspace concentrations than the organophilic clay B throughout the aging experiment Fig. 2.

TABLE 2 INDIVIDUAL MUD COMPONENT ANALYSIS* Temperature Density Total vaporization 155C 35C 50C 80C 120C Base Oil A Base Oil B 0.828 39.4 0.1 0.3 2.8 27.6 0.816 38.9 0.3 0.9 6.2 48.7 Clay A Clay B Emulsier 0.980 46.7 4.3 9.7 45.2 Rheology Wetting Modier Agent 0.908 43.2 5.5 12.9 54.2 0.900 42.9 12.2 25.2 83.2

7.8 49.0

0.3 5.3

*Total headspace values of individual mud components given as ppm.

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Fig. 1Headspace of mud samples aged in a beaker at 80C. Fig. 2Headspace of base oil samples aged in a beaker at 80C.

This was indicative of the presence of the 12 to 16 minute peak. Generally, the headspaces of base oil A drilling uids were lower than those of base oil B. Analysis of Hot Rolled Laboratory Drilling Fluids. The following observations were made from the analysis of the hot rolled laboratory produced uids: in all instances, the headspace increased with hot rolling; base oil A/organophilic clay B drilling uid consistently had a lower headspace than the other drilling uids; a very prominent peak occurred at retention times of approximately 12 to 16 minutes in all laboratory produced mud systems both before and after hot rolling; in base oil A drilling uids, light hydrocarbon components were produced to a greater extent with organophilic clay B than with organophilic clay A. The results are summarized in Table 3. Field Drilling Fluids. Representative eld drilling uid samples were collected and forwarded for testing in the laboratory. Each eld drilling uid sample was analyzed at 35, 50, and 80C. All the chromatograms exhibited excessive light hydrocarbon substances which were not seen in any of the individual additives, or in any of the laboratory prepared drilling uids. The eld samples produced higher total headspace than any of the laboratory produced drilling uid samples. This could be attributed to miscellaneous additives which had not been provided for inclusion in the laboratory prepared samples or, alternatively, to drilled formation cuttings contamination and/or interference. Although precise replication of eld drilling uid headspace was not possible in the laboratory, results have shown that the laboratory samples are useful predictive tools for eld drilling uid headspace quantitation. Further Investigative Work The appearance of the spurious peak at 12 to 16 minutes in the laboratory prepared samples was a concern. Various investiga-

tions were performed to determine the provenance of the spurious peak registered on some of the chromatograms at retention times of between 12 and 16 minutes. The Catalytic Effect of Organophilic Clays. Six different combinations of clay, brine and base oil A were reuxed at 80C and regularly sampled over a 10-day period. Aliquots of the appropriate samples were analyzed by total vaporization using an HS40XL autosampler to emulate liquid injection by gas chromatography. The mixtures prepared were ask 1: organophilic clay B, brine, base oil A, ask 2: organophilic clay B, base oil A, ask 3: brine, base oil A, ask 4: organophilic clay A, brine, base oil A, ask 5: organophilic clay A, base oil A, and ask 6: base oil A. Within each reux system, the total headspace remained unaffected with time, but the proportion of lighter shorter retention time hydrocarbon components increased. The presence of brine with organophilic clay B and base oil A produced a greater proportion of light material 5 to 60 minutes retention time than the organophilic clay B/base oil A sample alone. The organophilic clay A/brine/base oil A sample followed a similar trend to the previous observation but to a lesser extent. Within the brine/base oil A sample, without clay present, there was a pronounced appearance of low boiling material between 166 and 238 hours. This material is the same as that seen when clay is present. Total Vaporization of Laboratory Drilling Fluids Without Barite. The total vaporization experiments of laboratory drilling uids without barite being present were carried out as part of the quantitation work to convert the headspace area count into ppm vapor in the headspace. Barite had already been determined as inert and was therefore inconsequential to any results. The spurious peak at 12 to 16 minutes was not present in any of the uid total vaporization experiments performed at 155C, whether lime was present or not. It only occurred at lower temperatures of 80, 50, and 35C and under normal headspace conditions. Therefore,

TABLE 3 ANALYSIS OF HOT ROLLED MUDS* Base Oil A/ Organophilic Clay B Before hot rolling After hot rolling 21.6 25.9 Base Oil A/ Organophilic Clay A 27.8 29.2 Base Oil B/ Organophilic Clay B 35.9 37.6 Base Oil B/ Organophilic Clay A 39.7 45.4

*Headspace of hot rolled uids given as ppm.


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the presence of this peak could not be attributed to a pH dependent reaction, but may have been due to some kind of equilibrium reaction in which the material was continually decomposed and reformed. This cyclic phenomenon was further demonstrated by aging of the uids in open beakers. Drilling Fluids Prepared Without Major Additives. The spurious peak at 12 to 16 minutes was not observed in any of the laboratory drilling uids prepared without emulsier, wetting agent, or viscosifying additives. This suggests that these additives are required for generation of the spurious peak. Gas ChromatographyMass Spectrometry. Samples of drilling uids and the wetting agent were heated to 80C in closed vials. Using a syringe the vapor was sampled and injected through a ow splitter into the gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer GC/ MS for analysis. The following molecules were identied in the wetting agent: ethanal molecular weight, 44, propanone 58, butan-1-ol most abundant, 74, butan-2-ol trace, 74, propane, butane, pentane, heptane, decane, undecane, dodecane, and tridecane. In base oil A/organophilic clay B mud the following molecules were identied: ethanal 44, propanone 58, butan-1-ol most abundant, 74, and butan-2-ol trace, 74. The headspace of n-butanol was determined and the retention time of the major peak 14 minutes conrmed some of the above observations and test results.

Oil Drilling Fluids Mist and Vapor Exposures in the Field General. Human exposure to oil mist and vapors while drilling wells with oil-based drilling uids on a drilling rig or platform are from the following: the drill oorskin shale shakers, desanders, desilters, and centrifuges: inhalation of mist and vapors, and skin exposure when under maintenance drilling uid tanks: inhalation of mist and vapors, and skin when taking uid samples or cleaning owlines transferring the uids: inhalation of mist and vapors, inhalation of formation gas from the wellbore repairing of associated equipment unitsskin uid manual mixing: inhalation of mist, dust from the additives, and skin exposure. Exposure by inhalation can be quantied more explicitly. An adult, when resting, requires and breathes approximately 5 L of air/min. This may increase to 20 L/min under duress when, for example, performing heavy maintenance work.1 Health, environment, and safety information about all the chemicals and additives used offshore must be available on location in Norway. This information will be in a Material Safety Data Sheet MSDS. The MSDS contains information of recommended safety protective equipment and clothing to be used, and recommended handling procedures are stated. Proprietary information regarding the chemical components of an additive is not always available to the worker handling the additive. However information systems are required which allow the drilling operator the necessary safety controls for additive and product handling. The information advises when breathing masks are to be used, when protective clothing and rubber gloves are required, etc. The Norwegian regulations require that workers at any location must be able to operate comfortably and safely. A shale shaker operator is not allowed to perform his or her tasks for long periods wearing full breathing apparatus with air bottles in lieu of acceptable area ventilation. Should air quality conditions be inferior, ventilation systems must be installed or improved to meet required standards. But again, air ventilation systems must consider noise levels and must remain within limits. The regulatory air quality administrative norm, or threshold limit, for oil mist on the Norwegian Continental Shelf is 1 mg/m3 of air for an 8-hour work shift, or at the established 0,60 mg/m3
James et al.: Improving Working Environment and Drilling Economics

for a standard 12-hour offshore work shift. The administrative norm for oil vapor is 50 mg/m3 for an 8-hour exposure period, or at the established 30 mg/m3 for a 12-hour shift. The Drilling Platform. Field sampling for this paper was performed on the PPCoN Ekosk 2/4X platform. The 2/4X drilling platform was planned and constructed through the mid-1990s. The drilling rig area was intentionally designed for the use of oil-based drilling uids. However the rst well drilled of the 50 well slots available was a dedicated reinjection well for formation cuttings and oil-based uids associated with those cuttings. The reinjection well was drilled with an alpha olen-based syntheticbased uid and the cuttings with associated drilling uid were discharged into the sea. The drilling uid areas of the platform rig were carefully constructed to ensure that safety, general working environment conditions, and ergonomics would not be compromised. All uid owlines were covered, although not necessarily sealed. Hatches and openings in the uid owlines, such as where the owline enters the shale shaker trough, were allowed. The shale shaker trough was not completely closed so as to allow the trough to be manually cleared of cuttings when necessary. The three shale shakers were completely enclosed by ventilation canopies that covered all sides. The cuttings ditch was also covered. All cuttings were transported from this ditch in an enclosed conveyor to the cuttings slurrication unit for pulverizing and preparation for reinjection. The drilling uid mixing tanks and storage tanks were also completely enclosed with the exception of uid sampling ports. The owline ditch distributing the drilling uid to respective tanks had an opening for uid sampling purposes. Temperature differentials of the drilling uid and the atmospheric temperature can be 70C. Therefore vaporization and condensation of the uid are stimulated, thereby increasing the opportunity of exposure. The mixing of all uid additives is performed mechanically. That is, powdered and liquid additives are dosed from enclosed purpose-built bulk containers. The exception here is for specialty additives such as lost circulation materials which are used less frequently and are considered hazard free. Field Mist and Vapor Sampling. Sampling for levels of oil mist and vapor were performed on the Ekosk 2/4X drilling rig on 3 and 4 December 1997. Sampling was performed the drilling 1 through a 12 4 -in. section the higher pressured reactive clay formations. Sampling at this time was intentional since the uid temperatures were at the maximum expected temperature of 70C. This provided worst case mist and vapor results. The base oil used in the drilling uid was one of only three available at the time that could meet the PPCoN technical specications. The specications are as follows density at 15C, minimum 0.8 g/cm3; viscosity at 40C, maximum 3.5 cStokes; initial boiling point, C, minimum 260C; nal boiling point, C, maximum 295C; ashpoint, C, minimum 115C; pourpoint, C, minimum 18C; aromatic content, %vol, maximum 0.5%vol. Offshore Testing, Methods, and Results. Sampling for oil mist and vapor concentrations was performed using National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health NIOSH method No. 5026 and the American Society for Testing and Materials ASTM method. These test procedures are explained briey. A dosimeter actuated by a pump is used to draw air through collection lters to measure oil mist concentrations. A 37 mm lter house with a double glass ber lter, Gelman type A/F, was used which was connected to a jumbo charcoal tube SKC type lot No. 226 behind the lter holder. Oil vapor drawn onto the active charcoal in the jumbo charcoal tube was absorbed to enable quantitative measurements to be made. To achieve controlled air ow across the lter, a portable battery air pump with an adjustable air ow type SKC 224-PCEX was used. The calibrator type was Gilabrator
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TABLE 4 OIL MIST AND VAPOR RESULTS FROM THE SHAKER ROOM Shale Shaker Room Shaker 1 (stationary) (1) Shaker 2 (stationary) (2) Shaker 3 (stationary) (3) Person 1 (P) (4) Person 2 (P) (5) Stationary wall (S) (6) Walkway west (S) (7) Oil Mist Result (mg/m3) 5.52 5.00 0.62 0.40 0.06 0.17 0.03 TLV* (mg/m3) 0.60 0.60 0.60 0.60 0.60 0.60 0.60 Oil Vapor (mg/m3) 63.3 98.4 37.3 35.0 3.2 5.9 3.5 TLV* (mg/m3) 30 30 30 30 30 30 30

*TLVThreshold level value for a 12-hour period.

from Gilan Instrument Corporation. A bubble generator calibrates the air ow, controlled to 1.5 Lmin. Pre- and postcalibration tests were performed for each pump used. In the shale shaker room, the testing apparatus was located at the bottom end of each of the three shakers 1, 2, and 3 near the nonsealing door covers Table 4. The door covers close off an opening which is needed in the shaker ventilation canopies to allow shaker screen replacements to be made. Changing of shaker screens is a manual function. One testing unit was located on each of the two persons 4 and 5 attending to the area. One unit was located on the wall 6 directly across a walkway in front of the shakers, and one unit was located outside the shaker room on a walkway 7. Results are provided for both oil mist and vapor concentrations from these areas. Two of the units 1 and 2 located on the shale shakers indicate oil mist concentrations greater than 500% of the threshold allowance. This was later determined to be the result of an oilbased drilling uid splash from changing a shaker screen, collecting a drilling uid sample, or washing the screens with a high pressure spray gun. It reiterates the care that must be taken when performing these studies and the need to use experienced testing personnel for correct interpretation of the results. The unit located on third shaker 3, however, still indicated that the threshold limit had been maginally exceeded. Vapor exposures at these locations were also excessive. Air sampling units were also used to measure the mist and vapor concentrations in the drilling uid tank area Table 5. Two units 8 and 9 were attached to two persons working in the area, and one unit 10 was stationed above the active uid tanks. All units registered very low levels of mist and vapors in comparison to the threshold levels allowed. Further air sampling units 11, 12, and 13 were used in the cuttings slurrication unit Table 6. The function of the slurrication unit is to receive oil uid coated cuttings after they have been processed on the shakers, blend them with sea water, and mechanically pulverize them into a pumpable slurry or uid. The slurry is then transferred to an injection pump and pumped into a selected formation zone in the dedicated reinjection well. The oil uid coated cuttings are blended into a resultant slurry which has approximately 15% solids, 10% oil from the drilling uid, and 75% sea water. All units registered very low levels of mist and vapor in comparison to the threshold levels allowed.

All air sampling tests were performed in the presence of an oil-based drilling uid which contained a base oil which was in compliance with the previously mentioned technical specications. Laboratory Analysis Methods and Results. The oil in the Tenax tubes and glass ber lters from the respective testing apparatus units was extracted with freon and analyzed by Fourier transform infrared FTIR spectrometry to determine the concentration of oil mist and vapor. The samples were analyzed against a calibration curve established using the base oil as a control. The oil mist and vapor readings were then quantied for the n-alkane values from n C-12 to n C-32. The results of the samples taken from the two persons Table 4, sampler positions 4 and 5 in the shale shaker room are specied below. The results have indicated that the exposure of n-alkane saturated hydrocarbons in the oil mist was greatest in the n C-15 to n C-17, and n C-21 to n C-27 ranges. The vapor n-alkane concentrations were greatest in the n C-13 to n C-16 and n C-19 to n C-27 ranges. Information regarding the concentrations of shorter n-alkane values was not available for inclusion in this paper.

Controlling Related Economics Personnel safety is ranked without doubt the foremost criterion by which to address and adhere to for drilling operations. By correctly understanding oil-based drilling uids chemistries an operator can control associated operational costs more effectively. Controlling Initial Drilling Fluid Formulations. The laboratory studies have shown that improved physical and chemical understanding must be gained for any proposed base oil. Also, the chemistry of the additives must be known and early laboratory blending studies are needed to determine possible negative synergistic effects. By controlling the types of additives used and by optimizing their synergistic effects, the opportunity for a safer working environment is established. Ensuring Ventilation Systems Are Effective. The older drilling modules in the greater Ekosk area have been upgraded to ensure

TABLE 5 OIL MIST AND VAPOR RESULTS FROM THE DRILLING FLUID TANK AREAS Drilling Fluid Tank Areas Mud pit (person) (8) Mud pit (person) (9) Mud pit (stationary) (10)
*TLVThreshold level value for a 12-hour period.

Oil Mist Result (mg/m3) 0.04 0.05 0.05

TLV* (mg/m3) 0.60 0.60 0.60

Oil Vapor (mg/m3) 1.4 1.0 1.0

TLV* (mg/m3) 30 30 30


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TABLE 6 OIL MIST AND VAPOR RESULTS FROM THE SLURRIFICATION UNIT Slurrication Unit Slurry unit (stationary) (11) Slurry unit (person) (12) Slurry unit (stationary) (13)
*TLVThreshold level value for a 12-hour period.

Oil Mist Result (mg/m3) 0.01 0.11 0.90

TLV* (mg/m3) 0.60 0.60 0.60

Oil Vapor (mg/m3) 8.6 6.1 4.0

TLV* (mg/m3) 30 30 30

acceptable working environmental conditions are maintained. Upgrading the ventilation facilities of the shaker rooms and uid storage tank rooms has been challenging and costly. This is due to the structural changes necessary in the conning shaker rooms for installing adequate ventilation systems. In conjunction with the installations, wind and sheltering walls have needed restructuring to enable controlled air ows which allow a ventilation system to function correctly. Simultaneously, drilling uid and atmospheric temperature differentials increased as improved drilling technologies enabled higher drilling penetration rates, hence higher uid temperatures. This only aggrevated the ability to correctly vent the areas in question. The greater temperature differentials gave rise to greater condensation and vapor quantities. The upgrade of one such shaker room alone cost U.S. $385,000. Similarly, a recent shaker room upgrade on a mobile rig built in the 1990s for drilling with oil-based drilling uids cost U.S. $575,000. This upgrade was necessary to ensure that personnel can function in an acceptable working environment in an ergonomically acceptable manner. The studies discussed in this paper have indicated that ventilation systems and working areas must be constructed adequately no matter what base oil and uid systems are used. However the studies have also indicated that uid-related rooms with inferior ventilation systems can be very expensive to correct at a later date. For this, the selection of less hazardous oil-based drilling uids remains an advantage. The Benets of Offshore Monitoring. Irrespective of the adequacies of ventilation systems in the drilling uid areas of a drilling rig, benets can be gained from oil mist and vapor monitoring Table 3. This is so because there are areas that require personnel attendance for maintenance purposes. For example, enclosed drilling uid circulating, processing, and storage tank areas must be entered for inspection or cleaning purposes. Shaker screens need to be replaced when broken therefore the ventilation canopy on the respective shaker needs to be opened and manually entered. Drilled cuttings may need to be cleared manually from a shale shaker trough. A careful systematic mist and vapor monitoring program will help identify the less safe working areas of a drilling rig or, conversely, identify when the condition of an area is less acceptable during particular types of operations. Gathering this information of oil mist and vapor levels from different areas will correctly indicate whether an area needs modication. Recommendations This investigation has identied a number of alternative approaches that could be taken to improve conditions. They are the following. Using base oils rather than the more volatile solvents presently employed as diluents for the active ingredients in the additives could eliminate the effects of additive solvents on the headspace. Further experimental work will be required to determine the effectiveness of this approach. Identifying the causes for the catalytic effect of clays may determine whether certain clays and amine salt treatments in manufacturing processes have a greater catalytic effect on headspace values.
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Extended investigation into component aging should be repeated over a longer time period 96 hours with sampling at shorter intervals in order to establish the cycle and origin of the 12 to 16 minute spurious peak. To obtain more information about the production of the 12 to 16 minute spurious peak, the three additives rheology modier, wetting agent, and emulsier should be aged over 96 hours but in different combinations to assess any interactions among them. Conclusions A number of conclusions can be established from the information presented. Small amounts of the major additives appear to increase the overall headspace of a drilling uid by a disproportionate amount. Some organophilic clays clay A in this study exhibit a marked effect on the vapor concentration in the headspace of a drilling uid system. This effect may be attributed to the clay itself, some kind of catalytic effect, or to a reaction with one or more of the major additives. Because the liquid additives such as the emulsier and wetting agent have an incommensurate effect on drilling uid headspaces, using an alternative carrier uid for these additives could improve the situation. The contribution of drilling uids to the hydrocarbon vapors in the workplace may be assessed by calculations before a uid system is used in the eld. Ventilation systems in working areas must be constructed effectively no matter what base oil and uid systems are used. Monitoring of oil mist and vapor will correctly indicate the need to improve conditions in that area. Acknowledgments The authors acknowledge permission to publish this paper from Phillips Petroleum Company Norway and the Co-Venturers, including Fina Exploration Norway S.C.A., Norsk Agip A/S., Elf Petroleum Norge A.S., Norsk Hydro Produksjon A.S., TOTAL Norge A.S., Den Norsk Stats Oljeselskap A.S., and Saga Petroleum A.S. References
1. Aschehoug, S.H. and Zachariassen, G.H.: Oil-Based Drilling Fluids and the Working Environment, MS thesis 1996.

Appendix 1 Denition of Headspace Analysis. Headspace analysis involves sampling the vapor phase that is in equilibrium with a liquid in a sealed vial and injecting this vapor onto a gas chromatographic column for quantitative analysis. Instrument Conditions. Headspace sampler: Perkin Elmer HS40XL Inject time Sample shaker Needle temperature Transfer temperature GC cycle time Thermostat time Pressurization time

0.2 On 160C 170C 140 minutes 20 minutes 3 minutes


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Withdrawal time Vial venting Carrier gas GC Conditions Carrier gas Column

0 On 15 psi Helium, 10 psi CP SIL SCB 50 m 0.53 inner diameter 15 mL/min1 5 mL/min1 40 psi 15 psi

Totakl split vent Septum purge Air Hydrogen GC temperature program 35C for 10 minutes Ramp 5C minutes1 to 60C Ramp 2C minutes1 to 235C Hold at 235C for 20 minutes Injector temperature: 175C Detector temperature: 295C

Reagan W. James is a senior drilling engineer with Phillips Petroleum Co. Norway (PPCoN) involved with the use of uids for drilling operations, permanent well plugging, and abandonment operations. e-mail: rwjames@ppco.com. Trond M. Schei is a senior industrial hygienist for PPCoN. He was coordinating medic for offshore platforms. Schei completed nursing l Navestad is cureducation at Sanitestsforeningens Skole. Pa rently an information technology (IT) system specialist with PPCoN. Before joining PPCoNs IT group, he worked as an industrial hygienist. Navestad holds a candidate of scientic inorganic chemistry degree from Chemistry U. of Oslo. Thomas A. Geddes is Research and Development Manager at Carless Rening and Marketing, responsible for all laboratory activities. He holds an Honors degree in chemistry from Edinburgh U. Guy Nelson is a senior chemist at Carless Rening and Marketing, responsible for development work relating to drilling uid base oils, printing ink distillates, process oils and feedstocks. He holds a Special Honors degree in chemistry from U. of Shefeld. Debbie Webster is a senior research and development chemist for performance uids at Carless Rening and Marketing. Her experience includes the ne chemical and pharmaceutical industries. She is a graduate of Open U.

SI Metric Conversion Factors ft 3.280 8.33 psi 6.894 757

E01 m E00 kPa SPEDC


James et al.: Improving Working Environment and Drilling Economics

SPE Drill. & Completion, Vol. 15, No. 4, December 2000