Zero Discharge System: An Innovative Drilling Rig Design to Protect the Environment in Lake Maracaibo

Suarez, D. (PDVSA Petroleum & Gas) | Segovia, G.J. (Schlumberger) | Valera, R.E. (Schlumberger) | Nava, L.A. (Schlumberger)


In 1999 the operator entered into a 10-yr contract with an oilfield services company to drill and work over wells in mature areas of Maracaibo Lake. In this alliance the operator will share risks and involve the services company in the operations performance through an incentive-penalty scheme with the objective of reducing operation times and costs, protecting the environment, maximizing reserves recovery and introducing technologies to achieve the desired goals.

The engineers pooled their knowledge and expertise to build multipurpose green rigs designed for well construction and work over on Lake Maracaibo environment. Likewise, each rig has a sophisticated treatment system to recycle wastewater into water suitable for industrial use. The document presents how this system can avoid pollution and the wastes are sent onshore to be taken to a zone designated for their final disposal or recycling and the sophisticated system that these rigs have to operate with zero discharge of any pollutants in Lake Maracaibo.