A PETERHEAD- based company has been given support by First Minister Alex Salmond, after it came up with a radical green solution to the problem of what to do with a toxic by-product of oil exploration.
Mr Salmond, MSP for Aberdeenshire East described Envireneer as “a motivated and forward-thinking local company striving to contribute to a greener and cleaner Scotland”.
He said: “I assisted Envireneer in my capacity as constituency MSP during the development process of its innovative approach to this distinct environmental problem.
“It is encouraging to see a motivated and forward thinking local company striving to contribute to a greener and cleaner Scotland.
“The company has ambitions to rapidly roll out its service and hopes to realise a potential application in global markets. I wish it all the best with the introduction of its technology and hope that it can seize the significant opportunities presented by the oil and gas market.”
Envireneer R&D Ltd was founded in 2005 and is based at the town’s Burnside Business Centre.
Envireneer has found what it sees as an answer to the problem of what to do with left over oil-based mud drill cuttings - the residue of the lubricating fluids used when the drill bit is biting through thousands of feet of rock.
These so called ‘leftovers’, which contain all sorts of chemicals, used to be dumped at sea. In recent years attempts were made to recycle them, but they normally just end up in landfill regardless.
Envireneer’s solution was to turn the cuttings into nutrient-rich agricultural compost by mixing it with vegetable material, wood and cardboard.
The composting trials for this process took five years, including the setting up of a scale facility to prove that the theories of the company could be used to achieve practical results.
These results have been favourably reviewed by BP which has indicated that it is interested in the process’s potential.
The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency has examined the process and issued a position statement which makes clear that, if the drill cuttings compost is produced in strict accordance with Envireneer’s procedures, it will not be treated as waste once it has been sold and dispatched to its end market.
This means that once it has been turned into agricultural material, carriers will not need a waste transfer note to transport it, they will not need to be registered as a waste carrier and end users will not need a waste management licence or licensing exemption.
It also means that the primary producer of the waste will be freed from the duty of care attached to it under the current regulatory regime.
A spokesperson for Envireneer R&D said: “It’s a win-win situation. It’s the world’s first zero waste solution for drill cuttings disposal and everyone in the disposal chain benefits.
“Much of Scotland’s farmland is undernourished. At the moment, farmers can buy a compost, but they have to buy fertiliser as well, to add the required nutrients. Envireneer’s compost combines both qualities and its composition significantly improves the structure of the soil, which is a lasting benefit.”