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Title: Trace Metal Distribution and Mobility in Drill Cuttings from Marcellus Shale Gas Extraction

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Research Org.:
National Energy Technology Lab. (NETL), Pittsburgh, PA, and Morgantown, WV (United States). In-house Research
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Resource Relation:
Conference: 18th International Conference on Heavy Metals in the Environment
Country of Publication:
United States
Drilling Waste Management; Long-term Metal Release; TCLP; Sequential Extraction; Marcellus Shale

Citation Formats

Stuckman, Mengling, Lopano, Christina, and Hakala, Jacqueline Alexandra. Trace Metal Distribution and Mobility in Drill Cuttings from Marcellus Shale Gas Extraction. United States: N. p., 2016. Web.
Stuckman, Mengling, Lopano, Christina, & Hakala, Jacqueline Alexandra. Trace Metal Distribution and Mobility in Drill Cuttings from Marcellus Shale Gas Extraction. United States.
Stuckman, Mengling, Lopano, Christina, and Hakala, Jacqueline Alexandra. 2016. "Trace Metal Distribution and Mobility in Drill Cuttings from Marcellus Shale Gas Extraction". United States. doi:.
title = {Trace Metal Distribution and Mobility in Drill Cuttings from Marcellus Shale Gas Extraction},
author = {Stuckman, Mengling and Lopano, Christina and Hakala, Jacqueline Alexandra},
abstractNote = {},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 9

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  • The objective of this study was to develop a method of converting drill cuttings from gas shale wells into high strength proppants via flame spheroidization and devitrification processing. Conversion of drill cuttings to spherical particles was only possible for small particle sizes (< 53 {micro}m) using a flame former after a homogenizing melting step. This size limitation is likely to be impractical for application as conventional proppants due to particle packing characteristics. In an attempt to overcome the particle size limitation, sodium and calcium were added to the drill cuttings to act as fluxes during the spheroidization process. However, themore » flame former remained unable to form spheres from the fluxed material at the relatively large diameters (0.5 - 2 mm) targeted for proppants. For future work, the flame former could be modified to operate at higher temperature or longer residence time in order to produce larger, spherical materials. Post spheroidization heat treatments should be investigated to tailor the final phase assemblage for high strength and sufficient chemical durability.« less
  • Field evaluations of a commercially manufactured heated auger unit have been carried out to determine whether these units can remove oil from drill cuttings. Some preliminary results from two wells drilled with Conoco LVT low toxicity oil base mud have shown that these units have demonstrated the ability to reduce the oil content to low levels (<1%) under some operating conditions. This evaluation is still in progress to define the limits of operating conditions where this performance is possible.
  • Experimental results indicate that supercritical extraction will reduce the oil-based mud contamination of drill cuttings to a level that will allow offshore disposal. Pilot plant experiments were conducted using HFC 134a and propane as the extractive solvents. A commercial process design and cost estimate was prepared. The estimate indicates that the supercritical extraction technology is very competitive with current cuttings` disposal technologies. The process offers the advantage of allowing the continued use of oil-based mud in environmentally sensitive areas: a major benefit for drilling operations.
  • Historic data from the Department of Energy Eastern Gas Shale Project (ESGP) were compiled to develop a database of geochemical analyses, well logs, lithological and natural fracture descriptions from oriented core, and reservoir parameters. The nine EGSP wells were located throughout the Appalachian Basin and intercepted the Marcellus Shale from depths of 750 meters (2500 ft) to 2500 meters (8200 ft). A primary goal of this research is to use these existing data to help construct a geologic framework model of the Marcellus Shale across the basin and link rock properties to gas productivity. In addition to the historic data,more » x-ray computerized tomography (CT) of entire cores with a voxel resolution of 240mm and optical microscopy to quantify mineral and organic volumes was performed. Porosity and permeability measurements in a high resolution, steady-state flow apparatus are also planned. Earth Vision software was utilized to display and perform volumetric calculations on individual wells, small areas with several horizontal wells, and on a regional basis. The results indicate that the lithologic character of the Marcellus Shale changes across the basin. Gas productivity appears to be influenced by the properties of the organic material and the mineral composition of the rock, local and regional structural features, the current state of in-situ stress, and lithologic controls on the geometry of induced fractures during stimulations. The recoverable gas volume from the Marcellus Shale is variable over the vertical stratigraphic section, as well as laterally across the basin. The results from this study are expected to help improve the assessment of the resource, and help optimize the recovery of natural gas.« less