Drill cuttings and drilling fluids (muds) transport, fate and effects near a coral reef mesophotic zone

Jones, Ross, Wakeford, Mary, Currey-Randall, Leanne, Miller, Karen, and Tonin, Hemerson (2021) Drill cuttings and drilling fluids (muds) transport, fate and effects near a coral reef mesophotic zone. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 172. 112717.

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Abstract

The study was conducted to improve knowledge and provide guidance on reducing uncertainty with impact predictions when drilling near sensitive environments. Near/Far-field hindcast modelling of cuttings/drilling fluid (mud) discharges from a floating platform was conducted, based on measured discharge amounts and durations and validated by ROV-based plume and seabed sampling. The high volume, concentration, and discharge rate water-based drilling mud discharges (mud pit dumps) were identified as the most significant dispersal risk, but longer-range movement was limited by the generation of jet-like plumes on release, which rapidly delivered muds to the seabed (80 m). Effects to the sparse benthic filter feeder communities close to the wells were observed, but no effects were seen on the epibenthic or demersal fish assemblages across the nearby mesophotic reef. For future drilling near sensitive environments, the study emphasized the need to better characterise drilling fluid discharges (volumes/discharge rates) to reduce uncertainty in modelling outputs.

Item ID: 79903
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-3363
Copyright Information: © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license.
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2023 23:18
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4105 Pollution and contamination > 410599 Pollution and contamination not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180505 Measurement and assessment of marine water quality and condition @ 50%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180501 Assessment and management of benthic marine ecosystems @ 50%
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