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Abstract Title: Mercury Released During Smelting of Mercury Contaminated Steel Originating from the Oil and Gas Industry
Presenter Name: Matthew Kirby
Company/Institution: Qa3
Session: Energy/ Fossil Fuels
Day and Session: Thursday 28th July - Session Three
Start Time: 12:00 UTC
Co-Authors: Matthew Kirby

Abstract Information :

Mercury is ubiquitous in oil and gas reservoirs and it is well documented that during the operational life of a given field, throughout production, mercury can accumulate within the scale layer naturally formed on the internal surface of the process equipment and pipelines. Whilst the mercury is typically present at ppb concentrations in the oil and gas, with the vast volumes produced, often over decades of production, the accumulation of mercury can be significant, sometimes present in the surface scale at percentage concentrations.

When facilities have reached the end of their operational life and are selected for decommissioning, the mercury present on the internal surfaces needs to be taken into consideration as part of the planned decommissioning work scope, otherwise it can pose a serious risk to human health and the environment. The entire decommisioning process needs to be sustainable with minimal impact on the environment and as much recycling of the materials as is practically possible.

Prior to the disposal of decommissioned steel equipment, either through abandonment in-situ, by reuse or through the route of recycling via smelting, there may be a requirement to decontaminate the infrastructure to remove mercury. To facilitate efficient decontamination and safe disposal, validated methods for decontamination and the monitoring of the mercury in steelwork before and after decontamination need to be employed.

This presentation describes the mechanism and extent of the accumulation of mercury in oil and gas facilities, the importance of evaluation of the contamination as part of decommissioning and the potential for mercury exposure and release to the environment during the smelting of mercury contaminated scrap metal.

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