SAS Environmental Services Blog

SAS-ES Top 10 Trends for Oil Waste Treatment

Posted by Sophie Cochrane on 27-Nov-2018 11:00:00
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As always, our work is filled with oil sludge and slops treatment. Due to this it is easy for the SAS-ES team to begin to identify the top trends for oil waste treatment, as related to oil contaminated waste management and treatment. 

After reviewing the 100s of conversations we’ve had with customers, partners and industry experts (operators, service companies, waste management/treatment companies, environmental service companies and consultants). We have come up with the “SAS-ES Top 10 Trends for Oil Waste Treatment”.

In no particular order:

  1. More waste than ever– Okay, not shocking, but underpinning the entire situation is that as a planet, we are producing more waste from drilling, production and refining than ever before. This presents significant challenges and opportunities for the entire industry.
  1. Water becomes more important than ever - Many more of our conversations now (especially in the US & Canada) revolve around clean water. The wastewater produced through fracking will continue to put pressures on reducing water consumption and finding new methods for treating contaminated water.
  1. Waste stops production, becomes a critical issue - Waste will take on entirely new level of importance as the inability to effectively treat/dispose of the large volumes of waste will cause more delays in production. Stopping production costs serious money, this will cause the industry to treat waste with more importance.
  1. Growth of non-entry tank cleaning accelerates - There is now a significant level of interest for non-entry tank cleaning systems. Continued pressure by oil companies and service companies on improving H&S standards means fewer man-hours in enclosed hazardous tanks is high on the agenda. This will continue to accelerate until non-entry becomes the standard approach.  
  1. Waste gets more expensive - As volumes of waste increase and available disposal space decreases, it’s only natural that the cost of disposal will go up. Additionally, governments are tightening waste disposal regulations and increasing waste taxes.  Waste can only get more expensive as time goes on. 
  1. Wastewater reduction becomes focus for tank/vessel cleaning - There is a continuously increasing level of interest specifically in reducing the volumes of water used in tank/vessel cleaning. This focus on waste prevention, not just waste treatment, will lead to the adoption of more closed loop systems where the wash fluid can be re-used multiple times. Using the right chemistry in the washing of these vessels will simplify the re-use of the wash pill and cut waste volumes significantly. 
  1. Mechanical systems & specialist chemicals combine for more effective approaches - The industry is learning that the best system often combines clever mechanical engineering with clever chemical engineering. It’s no longer “either/or”, it’s “both for best results”. There are now more holistic approaches, which leverage the best technology from all fields. 
  1. Heat treatment comes under serious pressure - Using heat has been a relatively standard approach for removing water from oil. However, heating a 100MT tank full of oil waste to 75C, and maintaining that temperature for 2-3 days is extremely costly.  As the cost of energy increases, companies will look for alternative approaches to heating alone.  
  1. Treatment of legacy waste accelerates - The industry has been storing waste for decades, putting off dealing with the problem until there was no other option. Storage space is running out and governments and the public are pushing for cleanups. These pressures will lead to more legacy waste projects around the world.
  1. Transportation costs/challenges drive “at-source” treatment - The conversation with our customers is often about reducing the “number of trucks”. The transportation of waste from drill sites to suitable treatment/disposal facilities is a serious problem. It creates a significant environmental risk and is very costly. There will be a push to reduce the volume of waste that is being “trucked”. 

Based on what we’ve seen and heard recently, these are the trends we believe will continue to play out in the years to come.

What do you think will be the top trends? Do you agree with us? Have we missed anything? It would be great to hear your thoughts so please do get in touch. 

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