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Eksplorasi Minyak dan Gas Lepas Pantai.docx
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LAPORAN RESPONSI ESDM


Pertambangan Minyak dan Gas Lepas Pantai
Based on Based on number 2 of series of papers on energy and the offshore Nov,1998

Oleh
Rachmat Hartono

3511100032 (ESDM A)

Fahruddin Ulinnuha I.

3511100068 (ESDM B)

T. Alfira Devy

3511100069 (ESDM B)

Jurusan Teknik Geomatika


Fakultas Teknik Sipil dan Perencanaan
Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember
Surabaya
2013

Eksplorasi Minyak dan Gas Lepas


Pantai
Based on number 2 of series of papers on energy
and the offshore Nov,1998

Menemukan Minyak di Bawah Laut


Banyak potensi hidrokarbon di dunia berasal dari
bawah laut. Oleh karena itu untuk menunjang
eksplorasi sumber hidrokarbon (minyak dan gas)
banyak dikembangkan teknik eksplorasi lepas pantai.
Teknik modern untuk eksplorasi minyak dan gas ini
sangat bergantung pada ilmu Geologi.Selain itu,
Kemampuan teknologi elektronik dan computer juga
semakin menunjang kita mempermudah dan
meningkatkan
kemampuan
manusia
untuk
melakukan eksplorasi ini.
Perusahaan harus mempunyai ijin untuk melakukan

Dalam paper ini menjelaskan tentang eksplorasi


mnyak dan gas lepas pantai dan gambaran terhadap
efek lingkungannya.

Teknik Eksplorasi
Oil Company menggunakan kombinasi dari 2 teknik
dasar eksplorasi yaitu Seismic Surveys, and
Exploratory drilling untuk mencari hidrokarbon
bawah laut.
Seismic survey
Seismic berasal dari bahasa yunani seism yang artinya
gempa bumi.Hal ini mengacu pada teknik yang
digunakan untuk memetakan lapisan batuan dan sifat
batuan tanpa mellakukan pengeboran.Geofisikawan
menggunakan sumber suara yang kuat ke lautan dan
merekam gemanya saat mereka dipantulkan kembali
dan ditangkap oleh receiver.Waaktu dri setiap gema
yang terekam bergantung pada kedalaman dan sifat
dari lapisan batuan itu sendiri.Survey seismik dapat
memetakan lapisan tanah lebih dari 10 km dalam
dasar laut. Survei sesimik dangkal sering digunakan
untuk memindai sedimen dan potensi bahaya
pengeboran.
Exploratory Drilling

eksplorasi pada kandungan hidrokarbon yang


terkandung pada lapisan bawah laut / Offshore yang
terlisensi .Di Canada hal ini di tanggulangi oleh
Canada Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board.
Perusahaan mungkin tidak mendapatkan informasi
utama tentang geologi daerah berlisensi,tapi data itu
sudah dianggap cukup untuk menunjukkan berapa
potensi dan haruskah melakukan investasi.Biasanya
para geolog dari perusahaan mempelajari struktur
geologi yang sama terhadap area yang mengandung
hidrokarbon.Meskipun perusahaan tersebut selalu
menerima resiko pulang dengan tangan hampa di
akhir eksplorasi.

Meskipun survey seismic dan pengetahuan geologi


mampu membuat gambaran dari lapisan batuan,sifat
batuan,keberadaan hidrokarbon. Tetapi untuk
mengetahui secara asli hanya dapat ditunjukkan
dengan melakukan pengeboran terhadap lapisan
batuan tersebut. Hal ini dikenal dengan Exploratory
drilling.
Eksploratory drilling di laut lepas dibawa oleh mobilre
drilling platform.Mobile Platform ideal untuk teknik
ini karena mereka bisa dengan mudah dipindahkan
dari suatu lokasi ke lokasi lain.

Dasar pengeboran
Bor adalah bagian yang dipasang diujung pipa.
Menggunakan mesin untuk memutar pipa nor yang
dapat mengebor batu. Ada beberapa jenis bor sesuai
dengan jenis batuan yang akan di bor. Hanya
memerlukan waktu beberapa jam lokasi akan
ditemukan. Selama pengeboran, ahli geologi secara
rutin memeriksa fragmen batuan untuk menilai lokasi
dan karakteristik batuan. Bor ini juga dilengkapi
dengan core untuk memberikan informasi lebih rinci
tentang karakteristik batuan. Pertama sumur dibor
langsung pada kedalaman 60-1200 meter yang
dikenal sebagai penanjakan. Kemudian string bor
dihapus, pipa yang bercasing dimasukkan kedalam
sumur. Ketika pengeboran berlangsung sumur dilapisi
dengan casing tambahan untuk mencegah batu jatuh
kedalam lubang yang mengandung gas bertekanan
tinggi. Sensor dimasukkan kedalam pipa dan
memantau kedalaman dan kondisi didalam sumur
bor. Selama pengeboran aliran kontinue pengeboran
lumpur yang berada didalam sumur. Lumpur ini
sebenarnya campuran tanah tebal dengan zat adiktif
kimia lainnya bersama air dan mineral minyak serta
barit (barium sulfat).

seismik sekarang dapat peningkatan teknik


instrumentasi, teknik posisi yang lebih akurat dan
meningkatnya kemampuan komputer untuk
memproses dan mengolah data. Peningkatan
teknologi juga mengakibatkan akurasi dalam
penentuan posisi pada sumur pengeboran menjadi
lebih baik. Pengurangan zat kontaminan juga
mengalami peningkatan. Logam berat yang
mengakibatkan rusaknya ekosistem laut juga
dikurangi atau dihapus.

Efek Penambangan Minyak dan Gas Lepas


Pantai Terhadap Lingkungan
Penduduk sekitar laut atau pun pantai melakukan
pekerjaan, seperti eksplorasi minyak dan gas lepas
pantai, dapat memiliki banyak dan beragam dampak
lingkungan. Di sini kita melihat bagaimana eksplorasi
mempengaruhi lingkungan laut, cara langsung lokal,
sebuah makalah pendamping, Implikasi Lingkungan
Global Baru Hidrokarbon Dev-elopments, mengkaji
aspek yang lebih luas dari hidrokarbon.
Survei seismik
Suara keras dari senapan angin yang digunakan dalam
survei seismik dapat memiliki berbagai efek pada
makhluk hidup, tergantung pada seberapa dekat
mereka. Suara dapat melakukan perjalanan jauh
melalui air.
Tekanan suara dari senapan angin dapat membunuh
atau melukai ikan, dan merusak pendengaran
mamalia laut dan hewan lainnya. Ikan telur dan larva
dapat dibunuh atau rusak parah dalam radius 1,5
sampai 6,5 m dari sumber gempa, kurang dari satu
persen dari telur dan larva biasanya terkena di daerah
survei yang diberikan.

Perubahan Eksplorasi Offshore dalam beberapa


dekade terakhir
Industri hidrokarbon telah mengalami perkembangan
dari pengalaman yang telah diperoleh dari
pengeboran lepas pantai. adanya kemajuan teknologi
eksplorasi kontrol yang lebih baik terhadap dampak
lingkungan, peningkatan efisiensi, dan peningkatan
tentang pemahaman hukum laut. Dalam hal survei

Lebih jauh, lebih dari beberapa meter dari sumber,


survei seismik dapat mengganggu ikan dan mamalia
laut. Kebisingan dapat mempengaruhi bagaimana
mereka memberi makan atau bermigrasi, atau
distribusi mereka di laut. Ikan tangkapan dikenal
untuk drop untuk beberapa waktu setelah pekerjaan
seismik telah terjadi.
Namun, pertanyaannya tetap apakah suara seismik
dapat menyebabkan spesies untuk meninggalkan
daerah penting untuk kelangsungan hidupnya, baik

untuk makanan atau untuk perlindungan. Dalam hal


ini, survei seismik mungkin juga menyebabkan
kerusakan yang lebih besar dalam jangka panjang,
daripada melalui langsung mempengaruhi.
Pembuangan pengeboran.
Pengeboran sumur eksplorasi yang melepaskan
bahan yang berbeda ke dalam lingkungan laut ini. Apa
dan berapa banyak dilepaskan tergantung pada
karakteristik sumur tertentu, seperti seberapa dalam
itu, dan jenis batu apa menembus. Dalam sumur
dangkal dan bagian atas sumur dalam, pembuangan
utama adalah berbasis air lumpur pengeboran dan
potongan batu.
Berdasarkan peraturan Kanada, perusahaan dapat
membuang lumpur berbasis air ke laut, karena relatif
tidak beracun. Biasanya lumpur dibuang di
pembuangan tunggal yang besar (bulk debit) dari
biasanya 500 meter kubik. Sebuah sumur tunggal
dapat menyebabkan 6000 m 3 stek dan debit lumpur.
Lumpur dibuang ketika tidak lagi cocok untuk
pengeboran.
Stek bor adalah bagian kecil dari batuan yang
dihasilkan oleh aksi menghancurkan mata bor.
Biasanya mereka adalah tentang konsistensi pasir
atau lebih halus, seperti lumpur dan tanah liat. Materi
tambahan dapat mengelupaskan dinding lubang bor,
biasanya disebut sebagai "pembersihan".
Saat ini di bawah peraturan Kanada, ada lumpur
berbasis minyak dapat dibuang sisi overthe, dan
akibatnya minyak berbasis lumpur dikirim ke tanah
untuk pembuangan, atau diinjeksikan kembali ke
dalam sumur. Uttings C dibor dengan minyak berbasis
lumpur digunakan untuk dibuang di laut selama
tingkat minyak mineral di stek dan cairan bor kurang
dari 15% dari berat kering. Namun, CNSOPB sekarang
membatasi kandungan minyak dalam stek sampai 1%
berat, yang hampir menghilangkan rilis lumpur
berbasis minyak dan stek di lepas pantai. 1% toleransi
memungkinkan untuk sejumlah kecil minyak dibawa
ke berbasis air lumpur di kondisi yang tidak biasa,
misalnya, untuk membebaskan pipa bor macet.
formasi air

Air asin terperangkap di dalam formasi batuan yang


mengandung
hidrokarbon
sering
mencapai
permukaan bersama dengan hidrokarbon selama tes
pro-produksi di rig eksplorasi. Air ini, yang dikenal
sebagai formasi, atau 'diproduksi' air jika dari operasi
dengan baik, mengandung nutrisi dan logam sesekali
terlarut, dan mungkin memiliki konsentrasi rendah
bahan radioac-tive dari formasi batuan. Jumlah air
formasi dilepaskan selama tes eksplorasi yang kecil,
itu melemahkan pesat dalam volume air laut di
sekitar sumur.
Limbah insidental tersebut termasuk lumpur dan
bahan kimia diasosiasikan-diciptakan dirilis bersama
dengan stek bor, cairan seperti garam solusi, polimer
dan berbagai Addi-insentif yang digunakan untuk
mencegah bendungan-usia ke sumur bor sementara
juga sedang dipersiapkan untuk produksi, serta dek
drainase, limbah domestik dan air limbah dari fasilitas
kru.
Limbah kecil lainnya yang dihasilkan oleh operasi
pengeboran lepas pantai meliputi:
desalinasi air (dari sistem minum air tawar),
blow-out preventer cairan (jika pencegah ledakan
diaktifkan),
limbah dari laboratorium on-board;
lambung kapal dan air pemberat;
lumpur, potongan dan semen di laut floorreleased
ketika bor akan dihapus dari dasar laut;
air laut tidak tercemar seperti air pendingin;
air yang digunakan untuk membersihkan boiler;
kelebihan lumpur semen dari peralatan mencuci;
filter bahan seperti tanah diatom;
limbah dari lukisan, seperti sandblast pasir, chip cat
dan cat semprot;
pembuangan disengaja bahan ascement tersebut
dan bor lumpur;
saringan dan filter air backwash untuk air, dan
cairan uji dari sumur selama pengeboran.

Dampak laut
Semakin jauh bergerak debit, bagaimanapun, lebih
encer dan kurang berbahaya itu bisa-datang. Studi
menguji efek pengeboran eksplorasi pada bagian AS

Georges Bank menemukan bahwa sejumlah kecil


beberapa
lumpur
pengeboran
(khususnya
pembobotan agen barit) telah trans-porting sebanyak
60 km dari lokasi sumur.
Kerang laut sangat sensitif terhadap partikel halus
dan minyak mineral dari lumpur pengeboran.
Organisme makan filter lain yang menyaring air untuk
mengekstrak ganggang mikroskopis untuk makanan,
juga dapat terkena dan mungkin sensitif terhadap
tingkat ditangguhkan bor lumpur. Tingkat
ditangguhkan bor lumpur di vicin-ity dari rig
pengeboran dan sepanjang lintasan diikuti oleh
denda bor selama badai mungkin cukup tinggi secara
terus menerus untuk mempengaruhi kerang.
Mencemari
Kecacatan adalah rasa dalam makanan dan
kekhawatiran di lepas pantai eksplorasi dan
pengembangan. Banyak penelitian telah menyelidiki
mencemari ikan komersial di sekitar eksplorasi lepas
pantai dan kegiatan produksi.
Belum ada kasus yang dilaporkan di mana mencemari
dari eksplorasi lepas pantai terdeteksi pada
tangkapan ikan komersial. Bagaimana-pernah,
ditangguhkan lumpur pengeboran mungkin bisa
mencemari kerang, kemungkinan besar dalam immenengahi sekitar platform pengeboran.
keadaan tertinggal
Sumur eksplorasi terkunci di dasar laut, sehingga
tidak ada yang akan tersangkut dengan alat tangkap.
Lebih dari 150 sumur telah dibor pada Shelf Scotian
tanpa dampak pada perikanan nanti.
dampak lainnya
Lampu dari rig pengeboran dan kapal laut lainnya
menarik burung dan satwa liar lainnya mungkin.
Tingkat kebisingan di dan dekat rig pengeboran
adalah perumpamaan kepada mereka dari kapalkapal besar dan kapal tanker. Sumber-sumber
kebisingan termasuk mesin, helikopter, kapal
pasokan, dan rutin peralatan op-timbangkan terkait
dengan penanganan pipa.

MAKALAH ASLI TERLAMPIR DI BELAKANG

Exploring for
Offshore Oil and Gas

IN THIS ISSUE

Finding Oil Under the Sea ..... 1


How do you find oil under the
About
Seismic Surveys .......... 21
sea? ..................................

Exploratory
Exploratory Techniques
Techniques.........
.........22
Drilling
Basics .....................
About Seismic
Surveys ..........32
Drilling
Drilling Fluids
Basics.....................
.....................33

How
has Fluids
Offshore
Exploration 3
Drilling
.....................
Changed in the Past Few
Decades??
How Has Exploration
Changed?4
..........................
4
Support Vessels
Vessels ...................
...................44
Support
Environmental
Effects
...........
How
Can Offshore
Oil and
Gas 5

Affect
the ......... 7
Exploration
Environmental
Impacts
Environment? ...................... 5
Glossary ............................. 8
Impacts on the Marine
Environment ....................... 7
Further Reading ................... 8
Glossary ............................. 8

CEF

Consultants Limited
5443 Rainnie Drive
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3J 1P8
in association with
Envirosphere Consultants Ltd.
advisory committee:
Dan G. Brown, P.Eng.
energy policy analyst
John Stewart, M.Sc.
president,
McGregor GeoScience Ltd.
Ralph Torrie, B.Sc. (Hon.)
president,
Torrie Smith Associates
Anne Wilkie, M.A., M.Sc,
LLB, MRTPI
principal,
MacLaren Plansearch

number 2 of a series of papers on energy and the offshore

Nov., 1998

FINDING OIL UNDER THE SEA

Many of the worlds potential reserves of hydrocarbons lie beneath the ocean.
The hydrocarbon industry
has developed techniques
suited to conditions found
in the offshore, both to find
oil and gas (known as exploration) and to successfully extract it for human
use.
Modern exploration for oil
and gas relies on a solid
foundation of geological
and technical knowledge.
In addition, todays capabilities with computers and
advanced electronics, drilling techniques and methods
of project management,
have increased our ability
to find hydrocarbons, and
the speed at which projects
can be developed.

least it has enough data to


suggest that the potential is
great enough to invest time

companies
always run the
risk of coming
up emptyhanded at the
end of an
exploration
program
and money in surveys and
exploratory drilling. Usually, company geologists
infer this from geological

similarities to areas where


hydrocarbons have been
found before. Nonetheless,
companies always run the
risk of coming up emptyhanded at the end of an
exploration program.
This fact sheet describes oil
and gas exploration in the
offshore, and outlines its
typical environmental effects. Companion papers
describe the basics of hydrocarbon resources, and
what happens during the
production phase of an
offshore project.

Companies earn the right to


explore the seabed by competitive bidding, under a
legal process that grants
exploration licences to
areas of the sea floor that
might hold hydrocarbons.
In waters off Nova Scotia,
the Canada Nova Scotia
Offshore Petroleum Board
regulates this process.
A company may or may
not have prior information
about the geology of its
licence area, but at the very

some of the rock formations that trap hydrocarbons; geologists


and geophysicists look for these when searching for oil and gas

Q
ABOUT
SEISMIC
SURVEYS
Seismic surveys allow
geophysicists to get a picture of
underground rock formations.
Sound waves are created by the
explosive release of compressed
air from an array of air guns
towed behind seismic vessels
(specialized ships), firing every
5 - 12 seconds.
The waves bounce off layers of
rock under the ocean floor, and
the timing of these echoes
when they are received by
hydrophones (towed
microphones), shows the shape
and location of the geological
features.
Hydrophones are on long cables
(streamers), usually at 12.5 m
intervals. One or many
streamers can be used; the type
using a smaller number is called
a 2-D survey, as it gives a twodimensional profile. Streamers
can be up to 6 km long and are
stored on a large winch.

EXPLORATORY
TECHNIQUES
Oil companies use a combination of
two basic methods seismic surveys
and exploratory drillingto look for
hydrocarbons under the sea.

Seismic Surveys
The term seismic is derived from
seism, a Greek word for earthquake.
It refers to the technique used to map
rock layers and properties without
having to drill a well. Geophysicists
set off powerful sound sources in the
ocean and record the echoes as they
bounce back from rock layers beneath
the sea floor. The time for each echo
to return depends on the depth and
properties of the rock layers.
The sound source for seismic surveys
is an array of air guns, each of which
creates underwater sound by sudden
simultaneous release of high pressure
air. Typical seismic surveys can map
rock layers over 10 kilometres into the
seabed.
Shallow seismic surveys of the upper
few hundred metres of the seabed are
often carried out to determine the
structure of the sediments and scan for
potential hazards to drilling (e.g.,
shallow gas pockets).

Exploratory Drilling
Although seismic surveys and geological knowledge can paint a picture of
the rock structure, the properties of the
rocks, as well as the presence of hydrocarbons, can only be determined by
drilling into the rock layers. This is
known as exploratory drilling.
Exploratory drilling in the offshore is
carried out by mobile drilling platforms. Of the many types of mobile
drilling platforms, two in particular
jack-up and semi-submersible rigs
are likely to be used if drilling were to
take place on Georges Bank.
Mobile platforms are ideal for exploratory wells because they can be
easily moved from one location to
another. Jack-up rigs consist of selfcontained legs lowered to contact the
seabed and are typically used in water
depths less than 130 m.
Semi-submersible drilling rigs, which
rival a battleship in weight, are platforms which have large diameter cylindrical legs that provide flotation;
they permit exploratory work in
continued on page 7

The seismic ship records the


data from all the hydrophones,
including accurate coordinates
for the ship and its
hydrophones. The most
sophisticated surveys employ
numerous streamers and many
hydrophones, providing enough
data to give a detailed 3dimensional profile of the rock
layers; these are called 3-D
surveys.

seismic vessel and array mapping rock layers beneath the ocean

Drilling Basics
The drill is a string of threaded sections of pipe with a drill bit mounted
at the end. Motorized equipment rotates the drill pipe, causing the bit to
cut into the rock. Different bits are
available for different types of rock; a
bit can wear out in only hours if hard
rock are encountered.
During drilling, geologists on the
drilling platform routinely examine
fragments of rock to assess the location of the bit and characteristics of
the rock. The drill can also be
equipped to recover columns of rock,
known as cores, to provide more detailed information on rock characteristics.
The first 60 to 1200 m of a well is
drilled directly into the sediments and
rock, with no casing, in a process
known as spudding. Later, the drill
string is removed and a pipethe well

casingis inserted into the well. As


drilling progresses, the well is lined
with additional casing both to prevent
rock from crumbling into the hole and
to contain any high pressure gases and
liquids.
The well also contains blow-out
preventersdevices on the top of the
casing that can close off the well in the
event of uncontrolled pressures. Each
new section of well casing is smaller
in diameter; typically the diameter of
the hole decreases with depth. Sensors
inserted in the drill pipe monitor conditions in the well.
During drilling, a continuous flow of
drilling mud is circulated in the well.
This mud is actually a thick mix of
clay and other chemical additives in
water or mineral oil, as well as barite
(barium sulphate), which adds weight.
continued on page 7

DRILLING
FLUIDS
Two basic types of drilling fluids,
or muds, are used in offshore
exploration and production: waterbased and oil-based muds.
Water-based mud is made up of
clay (bentonite) and water; it may
include barite, a heavy mineral
used as to add weight. Chemical
additives are mixed in to stabilize
the drilling fluid during use, and to
reduce corrosion and bacterial
activity.
Some chemicals, called coagulants
thicken and others, known as
anticoagulants, thin the mud.
Water-based mud is increasingly
used for most offshore wells and in
the shallower parts of deep wells.
Oil-based mud is a mixture of
barite, mineral oil, and chemical
additives. Oil-based muds are used
for deeper well sections, and in
cases where the well is drilled at
an angle (directional drilling),
where there is an increased
likelihood for a drill pipe to stick.
Oil-based mud is more expensive
and has more negative environmental effects compared to waterbased mud.
A new family of synthetic-based
muds has become available in
which the mineral oil component is
replaced by artificial oil-like
substances. These new muds were
developed in the hope of better
environmental performance than
oil-based muds. However, they are
not widely used because they are
expensive, and because it is still
unclear whether their performance
meets expectations.

Q
HOW HAS OFFSHORE EXPLORATION CHANGED IN
THE PAST FEW DECADES?
The hydrocarbon industry worldwide
has matured considerably as more
experience has been gained in offshore
drilling. There are technology advances for exploration and development, better control of environmental
impacts, increased efficiency, and
improved understanding of the marine
environment. Several key areas of
improvement are outlined below.
Seismic surveying now has improved
instrumentation, more accurate positioning techniques, and increased
computer capability for processing
and interpreting data. Computers have
assumed many of the more labour

SUPPORT
VESSELS
Drill rigs are tended by support
vessels, which bring in supplies
and equipment, including pipe,
drill muds, fuel, chemicals and
supplies. Vessels usually steam
regularly from nearby ports.
Helicopters make regular trips
out to the rigs.

intensive and manual activities associated with seismic studies. This has
improved the efficiency and accuracy
of assessments while reducing costs.

of mercury and cadmium. At the same


time, environmental regulations under
which the companies operate have
been strengthened in most areas.

Seismic surveys completed with more


sensitive equipment and computer
analysis allow subsurface rock structures to be mapped in finer detail,
often with less ship time. Improved
technology has also led to more precise positioning of wells.

Environmental performance has


improved particularly in terms of the
oils used to free pipe while drilling,
and the reduced toxicity of mineral
oils in some drilling muds. Early
drilling frequently used diesel oil in
drilling fluid, but its use was stopped
because it was so toxic.

Drilling fluids have also been improved, chiefly in the reduction of


contaminants. Heavy metals (which
are potentially harmful to marine
organisms) have been reduced or removed from some parts of drilling
fluids, and more environmentallyfriendly alternatives substituted.
For example, chromium has been
removed from lignosulfonate, one of
the main water-based drill mud additives; barite has reduced the amounts

Mineral oils replaced diesel, but at


first these too proved toxic. However,
the highly refined mineral oils used
now are virtually free of harmful contaminants; however, they have other
objectionable environmental effects,
and their use is highly regulated.
Improved methods of separating oil
from drill cuttings discharged from
rigs have further reduced emissions
entering the marine environment.

An exploratory drilling
operation usually employs one
or more drill rigs, a rig tender,
and supply vessels. Occasionally,
two or more drilling vessels may
be used simultaneously
depending on the exploration
plan.
Drill rigs for exploratory drilling
are leased for each project,
usually from large international
drilling companies such as
Rowan, Zapata, and Sedco.

a semi-submersible drilling rig at an offshore well

HOW CAN OFFSHORE OIL AND


GAS EXPLORATION AFFECT THE
ENVIRONMENT?
Our complex human
actions, like exploring for
offshore oil and gas, can
have many and varied
environmental effects. Here
we look at how exploration
affects the sea environment
in local, immediate ways; a
companion paper, Global
Environmental Implications
of New Hydrocarbon Developments, reviews the
broader aspects of our uses
of hydrocarbons.

Further away, more than a


few metres from the source,
seismic surveys can disturb
fish and marine mammals.
The noise may affect how
they feed or migrate, or
their distribution in the
ocean. Fish catches are
known to drop for some
time after seismic work has
occurred.

critical to its survival,


whether for food or for
protection. In that case,
seismic surveying might
well cause greater damage
over the long run, than
through any immediate
affects.
The class environmental
assessment of seismic
exploration on the Scotian

Seismic Surveys
The loud sounds from the
air guns used in seismic
surveys can have a range of
effects on living creatures,
depending on how close
they are. Sound can travel a
long way through water.
Sound pressure from the air
gun can kill or injure fish
with swim bladders, and
damage the hearing of
marine mammals and other
animals, if either are within
a few metres of it. Fish
eggs and larvae can be
killed or mortally damaged
in a radius of 1.5 to 6.5 m
from the seismic source;
less than one percent of the
eggs and larvae are usually
affected in a given survey
area. Sea birds tend to be
unharmed; to be hurt they
would have to be actually
underwater and very close
to the air gun when it went
off. Small crustaceans like
krill, found in zooplankton,
are usually unaffected.

release of drill cuttings from an offshore rig

Marine mammals can hear


sounds from seismic surveys at great distances, but
it is not known how much
the sounds influence their
behaviour. Mammals and
other higher animals often
develop a tolerance to unnatural sounds. Some kinds
of whales, for example,
seem to be comfortable in
noisy harbours and sea
lanes; other species, like
certain dolphins, like to ride
the bow waves of ships.
However, the question
remains whether seismic
sound might cause a
species to leave an area

Shelf (1998), concluded


that the predicted impacts
on invertebrates, fish and
marine mammals were
negligible to minor. There
exists the potential for
conflicts between seismic
operations certain fishing
gear types. These conflicts,
however, can usually be
avoided by careful
scheduling.

Drilling Discharges
Drilling an exploratory well
releases different materials
into the seas environment.
What and how much is
released depends on the

characteristics of the
particular well, like how
deep it is, and what kind of
rocks it penetrates. In
shallow wells and the upper
portions of deep wells, the
main discharge is waterbased drilling mud and rock
cuttings.
Under Canadian
regulations, companies can
dump water-based mud into
the ocean, as it is
comparatively non-toxic.
Usually the mud is dumped
in single large discharges
(bulk discharge) of
typically 500 cubic metres.
A single well may lead to
6000 m3 of cuttings and
mud discharge. Mud is
dumped when it is no
longer suitable for drilling.
Drill cuttings are small
pieces of rock generated by
the crushing action of the
drill bit. Typically they are
about the consistency of
sand or finer, such as silt
and clay. Additional
material can slough off the
drill hole wall, commonly
referred to as washout.
All rock removed from a
well is deposited on the
seabed. For an average
well, this is equivalent to a
column 5000 m deep, with
a diameter of 90 cm at the
surface, to about 20 cm at
the bottom. The volume of
rock can range from 300 to
1200 m3, and the volume of
mud and cuttings combined
continued on next page

Q
Environmental Effects (from page 5)
can reach 3200 m3 from
each exploratory well,
although the amount is
usually lower. The cuttings
are continuously dumped
during the drilling process.
Some drilling fluids also
enter the environment along
with the rock cuttings.
Solids control equipment on
board the rig separates
cuttings from fluids,
usually with 90% efficiency
for water-based mud and
75% for oil-based mud.
However, some fluids still
adhere to the rock.
Many drill rigs have a large
diameter pipe or caisson
reaching below the water
surface. The cuttings are
discharged into the caisson,
allowing for the washing of
cuttings and further
recovery of oil, if oil-based
muds are in use.
Currently under Canadian
regulations, no oil-based
mud can be dumped over
the side, and consequently
oil-based muds are shipped
to land for disposal, or
reinjected into the well.
Cuttings drilled with oilbased muds used to be
dumped at sea as long as
the level of mineral oil in
the cuttings and the drill
fluid was less than 15% of
the dry weight. However,
the CNSOPB now limits
the oil content in cuttings to
1% by weight, which
virtually eliminates the
releases of oil-based mud
and cuttings in the offshore.
The 1% tolerance allows
for small amounts of oil
taken into water-based
muds in unusual
circumstances, for example,
to free a stuck drill pipe.

Formation water
Salt water trapped within
rock formations containing
hydrocarbons often reaches
the surface along with the
hydrocarbons during production tests on exploratory
rigs. This water, known as
formation, or produced
water if from an operating
well, contains nutrients and
occasionally dissolved
metals, and may have low
concentrations of radioactive material from rock
formations. The amount of
formation water released
during exploration tests is
small; it dilutes rapidly in
the volume of ocean water
around the well.

Other drilling rig


discharges
With few exceptions, all
wastes from operations on
offshore drilling rigs must
be returned to shore for
disposal. However, many
incidental discharges may
occur and are allowed
under current regulations.
Such incidental wastes
include muds and associated chemicals released
along with drill cuttings;
fluids such as salt solutions,
polymers and various additives used to prevent damage to the well bore while
the well is being prepared
for production; as well as
deck drainage, domestic
sewage and wastewater
from crew facilities.
Deck wash may contain
small quantities of oil from
the well and from
lubricants of various kinds
(e.g. greases, hydraulic
fluids, and incidental fuels)
used on the drilling rig.
Before it goes overboard, it

is run through a process to


remove oily hydrocarbons.
Other minor wastes
produced by offshore
drilling operations include:

desalination water
(from the freshwater
drinking system),

blow-out preventer
fluid (if the blowout
preventer is activated),

wastes from on-board


laboratories;

bilge and ballast water;

mud, cuttings and


cement at the sea floor
released when drill is
removed from the sea
floor;

uncontaminated
seawater such as
cooling water;

water used to clean out


boilers;

excess cement slurry


from equipment wash
down;

filter materials such as


diatomaceous earth;

waste from painting,


such as sandblast sand,
paint chips and paint
spray;

accidental discharges
of materials such as
cement and drill muds;

strainer and filter


backwash water for
procedures using
water; and

test fluids from the


wells during drilling.

Accidental Spills
Accidental spills can happen, especially during
transfers to and from supply vessels. Many different

materials and supplies


could spill, such as diesel
during connection or disconnection of fuel lines, or
spills from containers being
lifted from vessel to vessel.
However, the most serious
form of accidental spill is a
blow-out, where an uncontrolled release of hydrocarbons may occur for hours,
weeks or even months, until
the well can be controlled.
The chance of a blow-out is
greater in an exploration
than a production well,
though still very rare.
Approximately 1% of exploratory wells world wide
have had blow-outs; the
resulting releases are normally quite small. In over
22,000 wells of all kinds
drilled in US coastal waters
from 1971 to 1993, only
five blow-outs occurred and
the total discharge was
170 m3.
Two blow-outs have occurred off Eastern Canada; one
at the West Venture N-91
site, the other while drilling
the Uniacke G-72 well
north of Sable Island in
1984. The latter released
natural gas and 240 m3 of
condensate, and was
controlled in nine days.
Natural gas and condensate,
a light oil similar to gasoline, are the hydrocarbons
most likely to be found on
the Canadian portion of
Georges Bank. Both rapidly
disperse or evaporate, and
do not tend to stay in the
marine environment as long
as do the heavier crude oils.
However, while it lasts,
condensate is quite toxic.

to facing page

Exploratory Techniques
(from page 2)

Drilling Basics (from pg. 3)

deeper water. They use anchor systems and thrusters to maintain their position
while drilling.

Assessing Hydrocarbon Reserves


From the findings of seismic surveys and exploratory wells, oil companies assess

Environmental Effects (from facing page)

Q
Marine Impacts (from previous page)
The farther the discharge moves, however,
the more dilute and less harmful it becomes. Studies examining the effects of
exploratory drilling on the U.S. portion of
Georges Bank found that small amounts of
some drilling muds (in particular the
weighting agent barite) had been transported as much as 60 km from the well site.
Sea scallops are particularly sensitive to
fine particles and mineral oil from drilling
muds. Other filter feeding organisms which
filter water to extract microscopic algae for
food, may also be exposed and may be
sensitive to levels of suspended drill muds.
Levels of suspended drill mud in the vicinity of a drill rig and along the trajectory
followed by the drill fines during storms
may be high enough on a continuous basis
to affect scallops.

Tainting
Tainting is an off-taste or flavour in a food
and a potential concern in offshore exploration and development. Many studies have
investigated tainting of commercial fish in

the vicinity of offshore exploration and


production activities.
There have been no reported cases where
tainting from offshore exploration was
detected in commercial fish catches. However, suspended drilling muds might be able
to taint scallops, most probably in the immediate vicinity of the drilling platform.

Abandonment
Exploratory wells are sealed at the seabed,
leaving nothing to be snagged by fishing
gear. Over 150 wells have been drilled on
the Scotian Shelf without impact on later
fishing.

Other impacts
Lights of drill rigs and other marine vessels
attract birds and possibly other wildlife.
Noise levels on and near drill rigs are comparable to those of large ships and tankers.
Noise sources include engines, helicopters,
supply vessels, and routine equipment operation related to pipe handling.

FURTHER READING
Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board. 19998. Class Assessment of Seismic Studies
on the Scotian Shelf. Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Neff, J.M., M.H.Bothner, N.J.Maciolek, and J.F. Grassle. 1989. Impacts of Exploratory
Drilling for Oil and Gas on the Benthic Environment of Georges Bank. Marine Environmental
Research 27: 77-114 p.
S.L. Ross Environmental Limited. 1995. Blowout and Spill Probability Assessment for the
Sable Offshore Energy Project. Report to Mobil Oil Canada Properties. November 1995.

Exploring for Offshore Oil and Gas


CEF Consultants Ltd.
5443 Rainnie Drive
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 1P8

GLOSSARY
Flocculate Fine particles
such as clays clump
together forming larger
particles when placed in
seawater. The particles are
attracted because they
have tiny electrical charges
on their surfaces.
Kick A condition in a
well where gas or oil from
the rock formations
overcomes pressure control
and enters the well bore.
Mineral oil A type of
clear, often colourless oil
used as a lubricant in
drilling muds; in purified
form used for human and
animal medicinal purposes.
Production test If an
exploratory well strikes a
suitable rock formation
containing hydrocarbons, a
production test may be
carried out, using a
controlled release of
hydrocarbons to test the
volume and quality. Excess
hydrocarbon is burned or
flared off the rig.
Semi-submersible A
mobile drilling platform
that floats and is held on
location by anchors and/or
thrusters.
Synthetic based muds
Drilling muds that have
synthetic oils in place of
mineral oil. Synthetics
mainly include chemicals
such as esters, ethers, and
polyalpha-olephins, but
other types can include
other various chemical
forms of olefins, as well as
acetals and paraffin.
Trace metals metals
occurring in minute
amounts in water or
sediment. Elevated levels of
some trace metals can be
harmful to marine life.