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Houston,Texas: TWMA Opens New Manufacturing Base in Houston (USA)

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TWMA, a leader in integrated drilling waste management and environmental solutions, has recently launched its U.S. expansion with the opening of the company’s newest manufacturing base in Houston. The new facility will allow TWMA to manufacture American-made equipment and meet growing demand for its services in the United States and around the world.

“This new office has the potential to change the dynamics of the entire company,” said Ian Nicolson, TWMA’s Vice President of the Americas. “We’re bringing a whole new range of services and technologies to the U.S. oil and gas industry. We can save operators $30 to $40 thousand dollars per well by handling and treating their drilling wastes with our specialized waste management solutions.”

Demand for TWMA’s waste management solutions is booming. The company has already won several U.S. contracts with oil and gas operators, which has helped fuel the expansion.

Operating both offshore and onshore, TWMA handles and treats drill cuttings and associated oil industry wastes. Using state-of-the-art technology, drilling wastes are recovered, recycled and reused, recovering significant operator costs whilst minimizing environmental impact.

While initial plans focus primarily on expanding in the U.S. market, having a Houston-based facility will allow TWMA to extend its reach into Canada and South America, Nicolson said.

Through the Houston office, TWMA will increase the production capability for its entire range of waste management solutions to service the U.S and international markets. This will include the TCC RotoTruck and TCC RotoMill, which are currently utilized globally to thermally process drilling wastes onshore and offshore, and supporting equipment including vacuum systems, dryers and TWMA’s cuttings collection and distribution system (CCDS).

TWMA has been operational in the United States since 2008, but the new Houston facility will be the company’s first regional manufacturing site. Currently, 20 employees have been hired to work at the new facility. TWMA expects to triple this number by July and plans to have 200 to 300 employees hired in the next 24 months.

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Bulk tanks, thermal systems advance environmental efficiency of cuttings handling

By Katie Mazerov, contributing editor

In response to heightened industry and regulatory standards, service companies are continuing to introduce innovative technologies to improve the safety and environmental responsibility of solids control and cuttings handling.

Part of Baroid’s FullCircle® cuttings reinjection process, the two-stage hammermill grinds waste and cuttings to a slurry before they are injected into the formation for disposal. FullCircle The cuttings injection service helps eliminate costs and risks of cuttings handling and disposal.

“Solids control and waste management technologies assist the operator in achieving regulatory standards and provide effective mud conditioning for drilling operations,” said Ana Djuric, global environmental advisor for Halliburton’s Baroid business line. “Solids control is regulated for health, safety and environmental (HSE) standards, but the efficiency and throughput of solids control equipment are not directly regulated,” Ms Djuric said. “Indirectly speaking, disposal limits in a given area are what drive solids control efficiency.”

The primary purpose of solids control is drilling fluid conditioning, or removing as much of the unwanted solids as possible from the drilling fluid, she explained. “But the secondary purpose is to achieve regulatory disposal limits through effective waste management such as cuttings dryers and cuttings treatment equipment,” she said. Equipment selection is determined by several variables, including hole volume, available space on the rig and subsequent discharge in the area.

Halliburton’s Honey Comb Base (HCB™) tanks are used for bulk transfer of waste. In an offshore operation, waste is conveyed pneumatically by the SupaVac™ SV400 cuttings collection and pumping system through hoses from the HCB tanks on a rig to tanks or collection pits on a boat to be transferred onshore.

“Solids control equipment assists in environmental compliance by helping the operator remove unwanted solids, rock cuttings and particulate materials from the drilling fluid during operations,” Ms Djuric continued. The wastes can then be treated with secondary recovery or treatment equipment to extract additional fluids from the solids for reuse in drilling operations.

Among the latest advances are Halliburton’s Honey Comb Base (HCB) tanks, which improve the efficiency of handling cuttings for disposal. “By storing cuttings in pneumatic bulk tanks, as opposed to traditional skips, crane lifts are virtually eliminated in regards to cuttings handling,” explained Greg Abbott, manager, Solids Control Systems for Halliburton. “At the same time, bulk tank storage significantly reduces the chances of spilling oil-contaminated drill cuttings while transporting them from the drilling locations to disposal locations.”

Better thermal systems and methods of bulk handling also have been developed. “In many ways, it’s the chemistry that is the environmental driver rather than the mechanical processes associated with solids control and waste management,” Ms Djuric noted.

Achieving optimal environmental standards is complicated by the myriad regulations that vary by country, state or province and even county. Offshore regulations are more standardized than onshore, but agencies such as STRONGER in the United States are working to provide a more harmonized approach to drilling waste regulations and practices. “In offshore regions where regulations are lacking, North Sea or Gulf of Mexico standards commonly apply,” Ms Djuric said. Offshore, the primary environmental concern is to protect aquatic species from the generally monitored parameters of hydrocarbons, chemical toxicity, degradation and, in some areas, bioaccumulation.

“On land, Louisiana 29B or Alberta’s Directive 50 are commonly used as a reference point. But harmonization is very difficult to achieve on land due to the wide diversity of ecosystems,” Ms Djuric explained. Depending on the location, onshore environmental compliance can range from protection of vegetation, agriculture and soil quality, to safeguarding water quality and associated aquatic species, or drinking water conservation. Metals, salts, including chlorides, hydrocarbons and chemical toxicity are the parameters typically monitored.

Thermo–mechanical cuttings cleaner is used to process oil-contaminated drilling waste. Oil and water are separated from the cuttings by mechanical and thermal treatment. Recovered oil can be re-used to fuel the machine, enabling a more sustainable process.

Even as more technologies emerge into the marketplace, managing and navigating through the regulatory environment is becoming a significant issue. “The biggest challenge will be educating regulatory bodies around the world as more technologies come into the market that allow for reuse and recycling of drilling fluids and drill cuttings,” Mr Abbott said.

In some areas, for example, wastewater must be treated and disposed of as waste even after it has been purified. “We have technologies in place for water treatment that can treat water to drinking standards, but that technology cannot be used in certain areas because a particular region’s definition of ‘beneficial reuse’ is not fully established, or because the definition of ‘waste’ is so inflexible that recycling or reuse of waste is not permitted,” Ms Djuric noted.

HCB and SupaVac are Halliburton’s trademarks, and FullCircle is Halliburton’s registered trademark.

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