The time is ripe for an industry dialogue as Asian governments push to reduce environmental impacts caused by oil and gas exploitation amidst rising world energy demand and increasing exploration in highly difficult environments.
In the wake of the Gulf of Mexico disaster, oil and gas companies expect wide regulatory changes, affecting companies' operational strategy, especially as safety and environment compatibility records will become a more important factor in gaining access to global reserves.
Top Asian drilling regulators from Department of Mineral Fuels Thailand, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Vietnam, Ministry of Environment Indonesia, Marine Environmental Protection Command Philippines and the Central Pollution Control Board India are among the regulators, who will discuss updates in regulations and the possibility of creating a regional standard for effluent guidelines governing drilling fluids and cuttings management at the Drilling Fluids and Cuttings Management Asia Forum on 22-24 February 2011 at the Four Points by Sheraton, Bangkok, Thailand.
Drilling fluids are critical components to drill oil and natural gas wells and on exploration drilling rigs, providing hydrostatic pressure to avoid formation damage and to limit corrosion, but most of them are toxic. The fluids come with any of the three base materials, which are water-based (which can be dispersed and non-dispersed), non-aqueous, usually called oil-based mud (OBM), and gaseous, in which a wide range of gases can be used. The dilemma is materials that show good technical performance and stability at high temperatures are frequently poor biodegraders and those that are the most chemically active can show the highest toxicities.
Asian governments have been vigilant in updating laws and decrees to avoid the devastation caused by drilling fluids and oil spill at the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, especially with the recent concerns that some oil and gas companies tend to care more about profits than solving degradation problems.
Yet Asia remains to have the highest non-aqueous drilling fluids (NADFs) and oil-based muds (OBMs) discharges, which are effective but highly polluting to the environment, totalling 12,200 tonnes of discharge, 500% more than its North American counterpart at only 2,419 tonnes, according to International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (OGP) October 2010 report. A drilling fluids expert said, "Just formulating a regulation is not good enough. It has to be strictly enforced and there should be watchdogs enforcing the rule."
To respond to this, Mr Hoang Duong Tung, Director of the Center for Environmental Monitoring, Vietnam Environmental Administration said, "Recently, environmental inspection has been accelerated. The level of environmental penalties has increased 10 times compared to before. Environmental tax was passed by National Assembly in 2010. Environmental Police was established in 2009 and operates effectively." He added that related laws, government decrees, national technical regulations and policies are constantly building and improving to meet with the real situation. Mr Hoang's presentation aims to introduce Vietnam's legal framework for environmental protection in oil and gas exploitation.
The Drilling Fluids and Cuttings Management Asia Forum is the only government-business forum for leaders in Asian drilling fluids and cuttings waste management, featuring regulations, case studies and high-level dialogues on sustainable development of techniques and technologies for oil and gas exploration. The meeting, which includes CEOs and directors from major international and local industry players, seeks to address current opportunities and challenges in the area of drilling fluids and waste management in Asia. A full-day forum will be supplemented by a pre-forum dedicated informal master class and a post-forum dedicated session on waste management and drilling fluids for special applications.
The Center for Energy Sustainability and Economics (Center for Energy) is an industry research centre (IRC) that works to bring top executives together in communities of learning and practice to act as a catalyst for generating high-value energy business insight and channel top expertise to where the world needs it most. Center for Energy meetings are powered by Arc Media Global (arcmediaglobal.com), a B2B/G2B integrated international marketing specialist headquartered in Singapore.
If you'd like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with the speakers at the forum, please call Rex Ian Sayson at (+65) 6844 2080 or E: Rex at drillingfluids[.]arcmediaglobal.com.