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The fate of waste drilling fluids from oil and gas industry activities in the exploration and production operations.

Njuguna, James; Siddique, Shohel; Kwroffie, Lorraine Bakah; Piromrat, Siwat; Addae-Afoakwa, Kofi; Ekeh-Adegbotolu, Urenna; Oluyemi, Gbenga; Yates, Kyari; Mishra, Ajay Kumar; Moller, Leon


Shohel Siddique

Lorraine Bakah Kwroffie

Siwat Piromrat

Kofi Addae-Afoakwa

Urenna Ekeh-Adegbotolu

Ajay Kumar Mishra


Operational discharges from oil and gas exploration industry, accidental spillage, or improperly disposed drilling wastes has serious detrimental effects on human and the environment. The water- and oil-based fluids wastes are generated every year all over the world and remain a serious challenge in compliance with the requirements of zero discharge for the oil and gas industry. To meet environmental regulations, sustainable and effective waste management is critical yet mostly missing in the oil and gas industry. This work aims to provide the current state of art in drilling waste (drill cuttings and drilling fluids). An overview of the drilling fluid waste is first provided followed by its characteristics, environmental concerned constituents in this waste stream are then explored while considering the current waste management efforts. Environmental and regulatory issues regarding drilling waste and the shortcomings of regulations are also discussed. The work sums up with a perspective future trends on drilling waste management, opportunities and challenges ahead including the potential for recycling and re-use of waste drilling fluids and cuttings for commercial products development. There are opportunities for waste valorisation especially in raw materials recovery for valuable products utilisation rather than incurring burden to the environment.


NJUGUNA, J., SIDDIQUE, S., KWROFFIE, L.B., PIROMRAT, S., ADDAE-AFOAKWA, K., EKEH-ADEGBOTOLU, U., OLUYEMI, G., YATES, K., MISHRA, A.K. and MOLLER, L. 2022. The fate of waste drilling fluids from oil and gas industry activities in the exploration and production. Waste management [online], 139, pages 362-380. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 16, 2021
Online Publication Date Jan 10, 2022
Publication Date Feb 15, 2022
Deposit Date Jan 10, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jan 11, 2023
Journal Waste Management
Print ISSN 0956-053X
Electronic ISSN 1879-2456
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 139
Pages 362-380
Keywords Drilling fluid waste; Oil and gas; Waste management; Environmental persistent waste; Waste regulations; Enhanced oil recovery
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