Anadarko’s oil exploration drilling operations off the New Zealand coast late in 2013 involved a variety of land-based operations including support from Intergroup for liquid waste disposal.

The waste disposal operations were carried out under intense health and safety, environmental and logistical pressures.

Despite these strictures, Intergroup successfully delivered the full contract with no health and safety or environmental incidents and completed all the waste removal operations compliant to Anadarko’s performance and quality standards.

Onshore waste transport and processing

Anadarko’s New Zealand oil exploration drilling operations were centred on the deep sea drilling ship Noble Bob Douglas, which carried out a series of investigations in areas off the coast of both the North and South Islands over a three-month period late in 2013.

Three drill ship supply vessels operating in rotation transported waste material produced by the drilling operations to land for processing. Contractors servicing the vessels were under intense pressure to keep the supply vessels in service, due to the high costs involved.

Intergroup provided industrial operators and specialised equipment to:

A late change to Anadarko’s operating procedures meant that a wider range of waste materials required processing than was originally contracted. However, due to Intergroup’s extensive resources, we were easily able to handle this unexpected extended requirement.

Over the period of the drilling project, Intergroup handled more than 3000m3 of liquid waste, requiring 136+ truck movements and over 1000+ man-hours of work.

Waste materials included SBM (synthetic-based mud), oily water, dry cement powders, bilge water slops, waste oils and empty chemical drums. Some of these materials were converted to fertiliser, while oil was recycled and cleaned chemical drums went to scrap.

Meeting the resourcing challenge

A critical aspect of this contract was Intergroup’s ability to mobilise staff and equipment at short notice to undertake waste material unloading when a supply ship arrived in port. This included the need to handle 24/7 operations as required.

Usually, only one ship was in port at a time, while the others were in transit to or from the Noble Bob Douglas. However, at one point, all three ships arrived in port at the same time, putting extreme pressure on all contractors and requiring a substantial increase in our waste removal capacity.

We comfortably handled this unforeseen demand within the programme, through mobilising additional resources from elsewhere in New Zealand.

Significant health, safety and environmental hazards

Working with a variety of waste materials, in a tight working environment amongst live port operations and alongside numerous other equally time-pressured contractors servicing the same ship, meant high health, safety and environmental hazard risk. Mitigating this risk required excellent communications, sharing of hazard information and meticulous logistics management.

Paying attention to Health and safety of all personnel

All Intergroup personnel working on-site were well trained and complied with a stringent set of overlapping Health and Safety requirements, including Intergroup’s own standards and procedures, the Port of Taranaki’s compliance provisions and also the specific requirements of the ships being serviced.

Through a combination of good coordination with other contractors, careful logistics management and having skilled staff with good situation awareness, no health and safety incidents occurred.

Environmental risk management

In handling a variety of waste materials around the marine environment, Intergroup took special care that to ensure no spills occurred, to the extent of catching drips from pipe connections. Staff were constantly vigilant of any change in environmental conditions, such as deterioration in the weather, which could affect operations.

As a result of this constant attention, no environmental incidents occurred.

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