As a condition of their well licence, all operators or licensees must report how they manage and dispose of their drilling waste for each well drilled in Saskatchewan in accordance with the GL99-01 Drilling Waste Management Guideline.
Drilling Fluid Waste
Most of the wells drilled for oil or gas use a liquid system to manage the wellbore stability during drilling that consists of:
- Drilling muds (freshwater, saltwater-based or hydrocarbon-based);
- Additives; and
- Various other wastes specifically related to the drilling activity.
As the wellbore is drilled, the drilling fluid becomes contaminated with formation material generating liquid and solid wastes. In some cases, the drilling fluid can be reused or recycled; however, the majority of the time it is disposed of.
Acceptable Disposal Methods
See the GL99-01 Drilling Waste Management Guideline for acceptable disposal methods in Saskatchewan, including options for:
- On-lease land
- Residual solids disposal (RSD)
- Off-lease land
- Land spraying disposal after completion of drilling
- Land-spraying while drilling (LWD)
- Land treatment
- Disposal at waste processing facility
- Road bed incorporation
- Encapsulation (process of adding a polymer film to drilling fluid to coat drill cuttings and wellbore walls to create a barrier)
- Solids washing