Countries in Latin America, namely Argentina, Venezuela and Brazil, are bestowed with some of the largest oil reserves in the world. Venezuela is among the top 10 oil producers in the world. The country has been exporting oil to various nations over the past two decades. Currently, exploration activities in the region have led to new oil & gas discoveries. This, in turn, has resulted in higher investments in Latin America. Large MNCs are likely to invest significantly in the region due to the discovery of sizeable shale gas deposits. Argentina is the only country that is expected to embark on a large-scale shale gas production. Exploration and production of shale deposits in Argentina supplemented by political support is anticipated to reinforce the country’s economy significantly. Hence, government encouragement in terms of supportive schemes is also foreseeable in the next two to four years. This is anticipated to boost the overall growth of the drilling fluids waste management market in the near future.
Major portion of investment has been allotted for exploration and production activities, primarily in deep and ultra-deep reserves of Brazil. Increasing exploration and production activities would lead to accelerated drilling activities over the next two years. This, in turn, is estimated to propel demand for drilling mud, which ultimately would raise concerns regarding its handling, treatment and disposal. Hence, increased drilling activities are anticipated to bolster demand for drilling fluids waste management services. Stringent environmental regulations prohibit the disposal of drilling fluids waste before treatment. As a result, environmental policies have simultaneously led to the growth of drilling fluids waste management market in the recent years. After treatment, the waste so generated is required to comply with the permissible levels of toxic content in fluids. These permissible limits are determined by regulatory authorities in respective countries.
Pre-salt areas of Brazil and the Vaca Muerta shale formation in Argentina are considered the most lucrative options for drilling fluids waste management service providers. Significant investment by the government of Brazil for the development of oil and gas reserves is likely to foster growth of drilling fluids waste management companies in the region. Due to new offshore and onshore oil and gas discoveries, Colombia, Brazil and Argentina witnessed significant growth in the drilling fluids waste management market in the past few years. Increase in drilling activities in Latin America has strengthened the market growth for drilling fluids waste management services in the region. Disposal of drilling fluids waste directly into the seawater or land has affected the flora and fauna. This, in turn, has raised concerns in several environment and government agencies in Latin America, compelling them to deploy effective steps to curtail direct toxic disposal. Stringent regulations enacted by governmental organizations have further accelerated the growth of drilling waste management companies in the region.
Drilling activities in offshore regions are primarily focused on deep and ultra-deep water areas with harsh environmental conditions. These conditions are likely to lead to a delay in completion of drilling activities. This directly impacts the project cost. Apart from the challenges mentioned above, waste management companies need to ensure that their operations comply with the environmental regulations and are cost-effective in nature. Lack of oil and gas infrastructure in Latin America coupled with an increase in offshore activities further compounds the already existing problems.
The drilling fluids waste management market in Latin America is consolidated in nature. Baker Hughes Incorporated, Schlumberger Limited, Weatherford International Limited and Halliburton Company are some of the key players in the drilling fluids waste management market in Latin America. These companies have been providing drilling fluids waste management services for several years and account for majority of market share. Brand image plays an important role in acquiring contracts for drilling waste management. These companies provide turnkey solutions, from waste handling to waste disposal, to exploration and production companies.