Offshore disposal of untreated oil base mud (OBM) cuttings is not permitted anywhere in the world, and in several geographical areas the discharge limit is generally 1% oil on cuttings or less.
Norwegian firm Thermtech claims its TCC technology is the only industrially proven thermal technology that can meet such strict requirements and operate offshore. Fixed and mobile units operated by the company around the world heat the drilling waste to a temperature high enough for the fluids to evaporate. ‘The base oils used in mixing OBM will typically evaporate at temperatures below 300°C,' the company explains. ‘By heating the waste above the evaporation temperature of the oil, the fluids, including the water, will vaporize leaving clean mineral solids. The thermal separation is achieved by transforming kinetic energy into thermal energy through the friction created in the waste itself.'
Operational reliability is said to be improved and downtime limited by obviating logistical requirements such as skip-and-ship operations or re-injection, says Thermtech, and the absence of external heating sources in the TCC renders the technology safe and explosion proof. The TCC unit needs less space than rival processing units based on different thermal separation technologies, adds the company, and an added advantage is that its short retention time means base oils in the cuttings can be reused in new OBM since they are not destroyed or fractionated during treatment. OE
eBird catches the worm
The innovative eBird seismic streamer control system developed by Kongsberg Seatex picked up a prestigious award for design excellence from the Norwegian Design Council in Oslo last month. The company – the position reference and attitude determination systems specialist within the Kongsberg Maritime group – succeeded in the industrial design category and was also one of the four nominees for this year's NDC honours award.
‘Our in-house designers and engineers worked with a team from Inventas in Trondheim to develop eBird in response to requests from the industry for enhanced seismic streamer control,' recalls Kongsberg Seatex president Gard Ueland. ‘They succeeded in this goal and to be recognised by the industry through the system's growing acceptance.'
The eBird's lateral, vertical and roll streamer control in marine seismic acquisition enables fault tolerant and efficient multi streamer steering, with very low acoustic noise. With its titanium body said to provide maximum tensile strength as well as exceptional corrosion resistance, eBird can be adapted to all types of streamer cable and robustness in all operational conditions is assured by the connector-less power and signal transfer between body and wings.
The eBird first came to the industry's attention at the 2009 annual meeting of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists in Houston. A cooperation agreement with marine seismic contractor PGS followed, implying that eBird will be standardised as the primary system for steering the company's advanced streamer cables.