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Modeling Options for Drill-Cuttings Management

Advances in modeling techniques allow quantitative prediction of long-term trends in cuttings-pile characteristics and environmental risks, providing firm direction in mitigating risks. Modeling involving fluid dynamics, soil mechanics, scientifically verified 3D dispersion modeling, contaminant degradation, and seabed recovery was used in several scenarios: the extant pile, moving the pile across the seabed using suction pumps, backflush discharges related to retrieving the pile, and disturbance from remaining jacket footings ultimately falling into the pile after several hundred years.

Introduction

The Murchison platform is located in 156 m of water in the northern North Sea and is operated by CNR International. Drilling operations had been conducted at the field since the 1970s, ending in 2008. Discharges of drill cuttings and drilling mud have resulted in the formation of a drill-cuttings pile beneath the platform jacket structure. Between 1980 and 2000, oil-based muds were used and oil-contaminated discharges took place in line with normal permitted operations, and the cuttings pile now in place is consequently oil-contaminated. Fig. 1 above shows the location of the Murchison platform and the local bathymetry, and Fig. 2 illustrates the jacket base.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 164983, “Modeling the Options for Managing Drill-Cuttings Piles on Decommissioning,” Sean Hayes, SPE, Genesis, and Liz Galley, CNR International, prepared for the 2013 SPE European HSE Conference and Exhibition, London, 16–18 April. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Modeling Options for Drill-Cuttings Management

01 January 2014

Volume: 66 | Issue: 1

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