Action: Use water-based muds instead of oil-based muds (drilling fluids) in the drilling process
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
- We found no studies that evaluated the effects of using water-based muds instead of oil-based muds (drilling fluids) in the drilling process on subtidal benthic invertebrate populations.
‘We found no studies’ means that we have not yet found any studies that have directly evaluated this intervention during our systematic journal and report searches. Therefore, we have no evidence to indicate whether or not the intervention has any desirable or harmful effects.
Fluids used in the drilling process, also called “muds” are often contaminated with oil and chemical additives causing pollution in the area (Henry et al. 2017). Traditionally-used oil-based muds and the discharge in water or sediment of cuttings contaminated with them are now prohibited in the OSPAR region. Using water-based muds where applicable as an alternative could potentially help to significantly reduce the pollution related environmental risks to subtidal benthic invertebrates associated with drill cuttings (OSPAR 2000; Patel et al. 2007). Additional evidence related to drilling fluids are summarised under “Threat: Energy production and mining – Recycle or repurpose fluids used in the drilling process”.
Henry L.A., Harries D., Kingston P. & Roberts J.M. (2017) Historic scale and persistence of drill cuttings impacts on North Sea benthos. Marine Environmental Research, 129, 219–228.
Ospar Commission. (2000) OSPAR Decision 2000/3 on the use of rganic-Phase Drilling Fluids (OPF) and the discharge of OPF-contaminated cuttings. OSPAR, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Patel A., Stamatakis S., Young S. & Friedheim J. (2007) Advances in inhibitive water-based drilling fluids—can they replace oil-based muds? In: International Symposium on Oilfield Chemistry. Society of Petroleum Engineers.