The human impact on our environment is well documented. With this in mind, every industry is making concerted efforts to reduce the environmental impact of their business activities. Drilling companies have not been left behind. There are numerous avenues through which drill operators are reducing their environmental impact. Herein are some of the most notable ones.
#1. Using Advanced Low Footprint Rigs
Traditionally, drills have been designed to be massive, labour-intensive, and energy intensive. These rigs have typically been very expensive to run and have a large environmental footprint.
However, with modern technology comes a modern drilling rig. There are new drilling rigs that have been designed to inherently have the least footprint. For starters, they are smaller but can achieve the same gals as the traditional did. Secondly, they are highly automated, which reduces the number of people needed during operations. They also require much less energy to run, which bodes well for the environment as there are reduced emissions related to operating the rigs. Finally, being smaller, they also occupy much smaller space. As such, they cause a reduction in the amount of environmental degradation resulting from their presence and operations.
#2. Using Wooden Mats In And Around The Drilling Site
Companies operating drilling rigs are also utilizing wooden mats to minimize their operation cause. For instance, Cenovus which operate in northern Alberta makes use of wooden mats to provide temporary access roads as well as temporary platforms to work from. This protects the soil and the ecosystem associated with the area around the rigs.
#3. On-Site Wastewater Treatment
Wastewater treatment associated with drilling activities is a major cause of environmental footprint. Tracking the wastewater to storage and or treatment facilities causes a huge negative impact on the environment. However, increasingly drill operators are investing in leading wastewater treatment technologies that allow the process of treating wastewater on-site.
For instance, GE has reportedly developed a treatment plant that makes use of membrane desalination which separates water from the dissolved salt. This technology is quite portable and can be deployed at the rig site, allowing users to process wastewater on-site. Additionally, operators can reuse the water, thereby requiring a lot less water extraction from other sources.
However, Water-Free drilling systems have been developed, which means not long from now, there will be drills operating without the need to use water, further reducing the environmental impact associated with drilling.
#4. Using Alternative Energy In The Drilling Process
Typically drills have been run purely on diesel. Every aspect of drill that requires energy input used diesel as the main and sometimes only source of energy. However, with the new age of renewable energy, more and more drill operators are using renewable energy sources. For instance, solar energy is now widely used in drilling operations, thereby reducing the energy needed to operate the rig. This has reduced the emissions related to drilling.
Other steps and technologies that are helping drill operator become more environmentally friendly include reducing gas flaring, using eco-friendly cleaning chemical (especially on the rigs), reducing paper usage in the drilling operations, and much more.