Cleaning up the desert in Kuwait ///

At a press conference, a stranger struck up a conversation about culture. “Insha’Allah,” the businessman told me, literally means “‘God willing.’ When I was in Lebanon, it meant, in a business sense, ‘hopefully.’ Here in Kuwait, it means ‘maybe, maybe not.’” “Doesn’t that mean the same thing?” I asked. He replied, “It’s a subtle difference.” It’s hard to get a handle on the global volume of oilfield waste. Oil production figures are difficult enough to obtain, but reliable volumes of oilfield waste (i.e., sludge) are even more difficult. I would estimate that at a minimum, at least 100 million barrels of this waste product are generated globally each year, although the real number is probably much higher. Of this, at least 30 million barrels are tank bottoms, which is a loosely defined mixture of hydrogen-poor oil, brine and various solids. Much of this waste is disposed of in earthen pits...

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