NORM (LSA) Management
Naturally occurring (NORM) deposits have been identified and recognised within the oil and gas exploration and production industry, for a number of decades. NORM is also known as LSA (Low Specific Activity Scale). Equipment can be cleaned of scale, sludge or other forms of NORM and the radioactive waste generated is properly disposed of.
What is NORM?
Subsurface reservoirs contain water, oil and gas in various percentages. The formation water can contain Barium, Strontium and Calcium and naturally occurring Radium or other radio nuclides. During exploration when injected with water, this results in a chemical incompatibility with the subsequent formation of a chemically inert and insoluble material commonly referred to as NORM. This material can be deposited in the form of scale, sand, wax and sludge. NORM may also be present in produced water, condensates and Radon gas, a radium daughter, may also be found in produced natural gas.
The radioactive nature of the material is a hazard commonly arising during the extraction of oil and gas, particularly from mature fields. As such it is governed by legislation requiring operators and contractors to develop awareness training and working procedures to control, protect and minimise exposure to workers.
Around the world strict controls and legislation govern the handling, storage and disposal of NORM waste.