ENVIRONMENTAL CORNER

January 2017 – Let us speak Sulfur Management

To be marketed, sour gas needs to be cleansed of its acid components (H2S and CO2). The most common process consists first in upflowing sour gas in a downflowing amine solution which absorbs acid components and releases sweet gas (CH4). The resultant “rich” amine is routed into a regenerator which separates an H2S- rich stripped gas from a clean amine that will be recycled. The H2S-rich stripped gas is then usually routed into a Claus process to produce elemental sulfur. Most sulfur produced worldwide today is a by-product of sour hydrocarbon (E&P or refineries) (...) Read More >

Although diffuse GHG (in particular those resulting from transports) remain difficult to manage, Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) seems to be one of the best answer to process significant CO2 emissions (over 100,000 tons per year) such as those resulting from industry (cement, glass, iron, petrochemicals) or big thermal power plants. After capturing CO2 from point sources, it consists in transporting then re-injecting it into a dedicated geological formation. As most industrial facilities use combustion with air, the CO2 emitted is highly diluted by nitrogen. To capture CO2 from flue gases, a liquid (...) Read More >

Like any other industry, oil & gas production generate waste, of which drilling cuttings and produced water are generated in the largest quantities. Until the mid-eighties, common practice was to discharge them directly at sea or dispose of them on land without actually worrying about the consequences on the flora, fauna and more generally, on the surrounding environment. The environmental awareness which emerged at the end of the 1980s, profoundly changed mentalities. Local and international regulations have become increasingly stringent, requesting oil companies to evolve  (...)  Read More >

Earthquakes are caused by the sudden slippage of large, deep faults (several dozen or sometimes several hundred kilometers deep) that instantly release huge quantities of energy. Their distribution across the globe is not random, but rather follows narrow fault lines along tectonic plate margins. he intensity of an earthquake is graduated on the Richter scale which is logarithmic. In other words, when the unit is increased by one, the intensity of the earthquake is multiplied by ten. The Richter scale also links the intensity of an earthquake to the consequences of such an event. Below 3, (...)  Read More >

The Caspian Sea is a remnant of the Para Thetys sea. It became landlocked about 5.5 millions years ago due to tectonic uplift and a fall in sea level. It is the largest closed sea of the world (1200 km length, 280 km average width) with a total surface of 371000 km2. It lies 28 meters below the ocean level. Its shoreline extends over 5360 km.Its level mainly varies according to evaporation (main outflow) and flow rate of the Volga river (main inflow) which represents 80 % of its fresh water supply, Due to this inflow of fresh water river, the Caspian Sea is nearly a fresh-water lake in its northern (...)  Read More >

Oil & Gas operations may require significant amounts of water especially during the implementation of extensive hydraulic fracturing campaigns such as those dedicated to the development of unconventional shale plays. A fracturing fluid is 90% water, the rest being shared between a propping agent (9 to 9.5% of sand in most cases) and chemicals. For instance, a 10 multi-stage fracturing job will require between 10000 m3 and 20000 m3 of water the equivalent of an Olympic swimming pool. However, from a global point of view, water needs for hydraulic fracturing is not (...)  Read More >

To limit land use, the cluster concept, developed offshore during the seventies, has been transposed to onshore development. A PAD (Figure 1) consists of drilling several wells (between 5 and 15) from a same surface tie-in point and using horizontal drains to reach different reservoir targets. A full-field development with a total of 300 wells will require about 20 PADS, a CPF (Central Processing Facility) and a network system to connect PADS and CPF. The PAD model considerably reduces land use, as many wells are concentrated on a small surface area (...)  Read More >

On January 24, 2010, Gasland the documentary by Josh Fox was screened at the Sundance independent film festival in Utah and then a few months later, it was broadcast on the NBO TV channel. The film had a stunning effect on its viewers and the images spread like wildfire among the general public. J. Fox had been approached by an oil company that wanted to drill wells on his family property in Pennsylvania in the Marcellus shales. His suspicions were aroused and he began to investigate the shale issue, piecing together a case to impugn the motives of all shale oil and gas (...)  Read More >

In 1971 G. Eldin, General Secretary of the OECD published a paper in which he highlights how economic growth generates a series of undesirable natural phenomena such as degradation of the biosphere, pollution of air and water as well as nuisances imposed on local communities. Eldin pointed out the need to solve environmental problems at a global and not regional scale, highlighting the fact that the ecological degradation of the biosphere does not sit well with...political boundaries. 25 years before the Kyoto protocol, he also describes with surprising vision, (...)  Read More >