Drilling Wastes (Cuttings) Management in Oilfields in Nigeria

by

Abasiodiong Thomas
Hsse Unit, Department of Microbiology
Faculty of Science, University of Uyo
thomasabasiodiong@gmail.com; 08130654529, 08052217991

&
Imoh E. Ukpong
Dept. of Geography and Natural Resources Management
Faculty of Social Sciences
University of Uyo, Uyo

Abstract
Drilling wastes in the oilfields constitute a large amount of wastes that pollute Nigeria’s oil producing areas and their disposal pose a lot of problems especially when the wastes are toxic. Like other solid wastes, drill cuttings are disposed into the environment without checking the menace of these wastes. The aim of this study, therefore, was to identify the different disposal and management methods used in the oilfield within Niger Delta Region in Nigeria where oil explorations and production activities are carried out on a daily basis. Fifteen oil companies were selected for the study. Copies of the questionnaire were administered, laboratory analysis of samples was carried out and field tests were conducted to determine the effect of drill cuttings wastes on the environment. The cuttings were found to contain some traces of heavy metals such as Zinc, Lead (Pb), Barium (Ba), Cadmum (Cd), Copper (Cu), Chromium (Cr), Nickel (Ni). Other crude oil residues and particles which were low. The concentration of the metallic constituents of the cuttings were lower than FEPA allowable levels except Zinc and Cadmium that showed significant levels p.<0.05 df = 1.5 and 4.17 respectively. However, by bioaccumulation process, the metallic constituents would affect both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem in a long run.

Key words: Cuttings, Management, Nigeria, Oilfield, Wastes.

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