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Abstract IPTC Wilhelm Afdzal KL 2008

International Petroleum Technology Conference
3-5 December 2008 - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Abstract Submission

Mercury in SE Asia Produced Fluids - Holistic Approach to Managing Offshore Impacts

S. Mark Wilhelm, President, Mercury Technology Services (smw@hgtech.com)
Ahmad Afdzal Md Isa, Executive Director, HG Solution Sdn Bhd (afdzal@hgsolution.com.my)
Shaharuddin Safri, Managing Director, HG Solution Sdn Bhd (shah@hgsolution.com.my)



Mercury is a naturally occurring constituent of oil and gas produced in SE Asia. In fact, average mercury concentrations in SE Asia produced fluids are the highest in the world. Actions to avoid consequences to oil and gas offshore operations have been gained through experience and include implementing special health and safety precautions for workers, selecting materials and designing equipment to avoid degradation, developing procedures to decontaminate equipment, monitoring discharges for environmental protection and mercury removal to ensure product quality. Often actions and policies come from reaction to acute problems rather than from advance planning. An integrated approach to mercury management can minimize negative impacts and reduce operating cost. Consideration should be given to the consequence of mercury from the initial stages of field development. A holistic approach to managing potential impacts involves several steps:

  • Forecasting reservoir mercury concentrations from geology
  • Measuring mercury in drill stem tests
  • Design of facilities to ensure integrity
  • Confirming amounts in early production
  • Modeling of mercury species to predict partition and deposition
  • Analytical mapping to confirm predictions
  • Training and education of workers
  • Monitoring mercury in air in work environments
  • Biological monitoring for selected work activities
  • Advance planning for turn-around to allow decontamination
  • Development of mercury waste plan
  • Provision of clear company policies and action levels
  • Planning for decommissioning early on
Because the necessary steps cross many company organizational boundaries, an integrated top-down and bottom-up plan should be adopted with worker protection and process integrity paramount. Mercury in process fluids can be handled routinely with little negative consequences if a holistic and integrated plan is adopted.

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