Radiation Professionals offer a complete petroleum NORM management solution. In collaboration with other petroleum industry service providers, we perform:
- NORM Project management (offshore and onshore)
- Facility radiation surveys
- Infrastructure cleaning
- Rapid-deployment Portable Field Laboratory
- NORM Waste consolidation and conditioning
- NORM storage and disposal
NORM - The Little Mistake That Can Hurt Your Operation and the 5 Things You Can Do About It
Before We Get Started, Some Background Information
The geological formations that contain oil and gas deposits also contain naturally occurring radionuclides, which are referred to as "NORM" (Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials):
- Uranium (and its decay products)
- Thorium (and its decay products)
- Radium (and its decay products)
Geologists have recognised their presence since the early 1930s and use it as a method for finding deposits.
Much of the petroleum in the earth's crust was created at the site of ancient seas by the decay of sea life. As a result, petroleum deposits often occur in aquifers containing brine (salt water). Radionuclides, along with other minerals that are dissolved in brine, precipitate (separate and settle) out forming various wastes at the surface:
- Mineral scales inside pipes
- Contaminated equipment or components
- Produced waters.
Because the extraction process concentrates the naturally occurring radionuclides and exposes them to the surface environment and human contact, these wastes are classified as NORM.
We won't get into the risks of radiation too much, if you are an insider you are likely aware of them already. They are well documented:
- Exposure risks to workers
- Exposure risks to surrounding community
- Risk of moving contaminated waste material
- Financial risk of contaminated metal and equipment
- Social and PR risk
- Legal and regulatory risk
- Decline in productivity, plus many more.
If these are managed well then the risks are minimal. In fact, most incidents we are familiar with came about because of poor management or operation.
To manage an operation well, you need to make good decisions. To make good decisions you need the best available information. To get the best information it starts with accurate and reliable data.
>We have outlined 5 things you can do today to get more reliable and accurate data in regards to NORM.
Ensure you are looking in the right places. A good place to start is;
- Separator Vessels
- Around Pipes
- Flow Interrupts
- Ponds and Sludge
Make sure you look in these places regularly
One of the mistakes we see is people thinking that a radiation detector is just a detector. Not all radiation detectors are created equal.
There are many different categories of radiation detectors for a multitude of different purposes.
So if you are conducting environmental monitoring, NORM identification, gauge compliance or contamination monitoring, get the right tool designed for that job.
You need to know how long to measure for with your instrument, to enable you to achieve a meaningful result.
As monitoring precision in radiation is tightly linked to counting statistics, monitor too little and the uncertainties on your measurements may exceed the magnitude of the actual measurement. This renders your data meaningless. Along with incorrect instrument choice, this is one of the leading causes of invalid data.
Rule of Thumb: The longer the measurement the greater the precision
Have your radiation levels changed compared to last year?
How can you prove that?
The answer is simple; you need to show what your levels were a year ago as well.
To show that you don’t have NORM or a contaminated site, you need to know what the levels were when you started.
Keep up to date with your regulatory requirements.
There is a good chance you have an RMP for your site. You need to stay on top of it and the requirements set out and committed to in this plan.
As with most risks, it is better to manage it and stay on a plan rather than try to pull it together later.
When choosing a company to be your client partner, look for;
- Someone who has the complete offering for the life cycle management of the project
- A professional team with a history of working closely with regulators
- A company that is committed to ensuring you get the best information to fulfil you requirements.