Use of the ALARP Principle for Evaluating Environmental Risks and Impacts of Produced-Water Discharged to Sea
When produced water from offshore production is discharged to sea, it contains some oil (aliphatic and aromatic components), production chemicals, and naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM). These groups of materials are traditionally treated in different ways in the regulations and standards.
Regulations of oil in produced water are mainly related to maximum concentrations and the total discharge of the aliphatic (dispersed) fraction. Regulation of chemicals is based on the environmental risk profile of each production chemical, although efforts are made toward regulations based on risk assessment of the discharge of the mixture of substances. For discharge of NORM dissolved in the produced water, no limit values are imposed. For NORM solids (scale, sludge, sand) from process equipment, discharge to sea is in general not allowed—it is reinjected or taken to a deposit onshore.
Management of safety risks takes place on the basis of the principle that risks shall be reduced to a level as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP). The concept of environmental risk is not as unambiguously defined as safety risks. With respect to accidental environmental impacts, the parallel is relatively straightforward, but with respect to planned environmental impacts (e.g., emissions/discharges during operation), the parallel to the safety ALARP level is not so clear; the consequence (the environmental impact) is not linked to a certain frequency (i.e., we cannot talk about risk as likelihood times consequence).
Costs are normally defined as money, effort, and time. But what if the cost of a reduced health, safety, and environmental (HSE) risk or impact is an increase in another HSE risk or impact? Produced-water reinjection might cause increased carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Handling solid NORM during shipping to shore causes health risks to the people handling the NORM. Can that risk be justified on the basis of the possible reduction in environmental impact by not discharging the solid NORM to sea instead?
This paper highlights the aforementioned issues and proposes a method called “integrated HSE ALARP assessment” for supporting such analysis. The environmental risks and impacts of discharge of oil, chemicals, and NORM, respectively, with produced water to sea are used to illustrate these principles.
Financing FLNG Facilities—What Lies Ahead?
Although the FLNG concept has been around for decades, only three units are in the water and operational or under commissioning as of 2018. As the mitigation of technological risks is demonstrated, commercial risks become the focal point and the challenge to financing the capital-intensive projects.
What Project Sanctions Tell Us About the State of the Upstream Sector
Many of the biggest players in the industry—particularly the majors—have adapted their portfolios for “lower for longer” and are once again sanctioning big projects. While we are not back to the heady days of 2010–2014, we have left behind the dark days of 2015–2016.
A Box of Operations: How To Influence What You’re Going To Get
Sizing a person’s “operating box” for making decisions and taking actions to make room for ingenuity and affordable mistakes provides opportunities for his and the organization’s learning. Which factors affect the resizing of the box and how can the limits be adjusted to encourage continued growth?
Don't miss out on the latest technology delivered to your email every two weeks. Sign up for the OGF newsletter. If you are not logged in, you will receive a confirmation email that you will need to click on to confirm you want to receive the newsletter.
12 September 2018
29 August 2018
05 September 2018
13 September 2018