This study investigates different types of waste materials and their applicability in the oil and gas industry as well as analyzing various applications of these waste materials in the petroleum industry. This study also explores the availability of these waste materials by performing a statistical analysis in a good number of countries worldwide. The statistical study was performed starting with a study on which countries generate waste the most overall, followed by examining multiple countries and investigating their top three most available waste. The results showed that the USA is the leading country in terms of municipal solid waste generation of 258 million metric tons, followed by China that generates around 220.4 million metric tons and then India that generates 168.4 million metric tons of municipal solid waste. The regions that generate the most food waste are North America and Oceania, providing the availability of food waste in those regions. Most of the palm tree wastes are available in the Middle East and some parts of the USA, while green waste can be found in the USA, China, and the UK. Sawdust wastes are mostly available in Europe and North America, while hay waste is abundant in the USA. Waste materials were also examined for various petroleum industry applications. Food wastes were found to be effective in drilling and completion fluids. Various food waste products were utilized to alter the drilling fluid properties such as potato peels and mandarin peels. Food wastes were also effective in altering the pH of the drilling fluids. Some plant-based wastes such as date trees were effective treatments used to stop lost circulation. Based on biodegradability and toxicity basis, waste materials were also classified into four main categories, which are eco-friendly, biodegradable, non-biodegradable, and toxic using color category classification. In summary, waste materials have the potential to be used in the petroleum industry, and they might as well be a good alternative for the future. As an example, the drilling fluid average cost approximately one-tenth of the total cost of the drilling operation, which is considered a tangible cost. By using waste materials as drilling fluid additives, the cost of the drilling fluid can be minimized. Further investigation and research should be carried out to get a better understanding of the importance of waste materials, and how they can be exploited for future applications in the oil and gas industry.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for Research in Energy and Environment (CREE)

Keywords and Phrases

Applications; Environment; Oil and gas industry; Review; Waste materials

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

2190-0558; 2190-0566

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2020 The Authors, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Mar 2020