Dialogue on drill cuttings

The oil industry made further steps towards greater openness in November by sponsoring a seminar on how to deal with the piles of drill cuttings which have accumulated at the base of oil and gas platforms. The dumps can be over a metre high and hundreds of metres wide, and can be contaminated by the chemicals used in offshore operations.

The seminar was organised by the Environment Council and is part of an oil industry initiative to find an acceptable solution to the problem (ENDS Report 281, p 8 ). It brought together interested parties from environmental groups and fishermen's organisations, academics and civil servants.

  • Shell has awarded a contract to Maersk to bring to shore and process up to 3,500 tonnes of new drill cuttings per year. A reprocessing plant will be built in Aberdeen to clean and process the cuttings for eventual use in the construction industry. A number of oil companies have lately awarded similar contracts in response to tighter legislation preventing dumping of contaminated cuttings at sea.

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