Waste drilling mud is considered as one of the most significant hazardous waste produced in oil and gas exploration industries. Different contaminants are present in the waste drilling mud and cuttings including heavy metals, BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and other hazardous materials typically originating from the base drilling fluids.
Due to the presence of environmental regulations, the waste drilling mud cannot be discharged into the environment and thus must be treated prior to disposal and/or landfilling. Various treatments have been proposed for the remediation of the waste drilling mud, most of which pose significant environmental risks and are expensive methods to implement. There is a need for a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly process to be developed for the removal of hazardous materials from the waste drilling mud.
In order to identify the greenest and most cost-effective method for waste drilling mud remediation, a detailed literature review, a solid background of all developed methods, and a technical comparison on all those methods are required. The selected methods should then be experimentally tested and optimized to investigate their capability to remediate the waste drilling mud.
The aim of the present project is to review all the proposed methods for waste drilling mud, compare them on their capability using significant factors and a technical analysis, and identify the best method to be tested experimentally. Surfactant-enhanced washing was selected and tested based on different surfactants' abilities to reduce the interfacial tension values between oil and water. Washing experiments were also conducted and the effect of various parameters were determined. Based on the results, further recommendations were also made.
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