Executive Interviews

Blake Scott, President, Scott Environmental Services, Inc

23 August 2016

How did you come to be in the oil industry? Can you give us a brief of your background before you started with Scott Environmental?

As a high school assignment, I shadowed one of my father’s former co-workers at Eastman Chemical Company, a major chemical and polymer product manufacturer. The experience left me with a keen interest in engineering. 

After my junior year of high school I attended St. Clare’s College in Oxford, England. After graduation, I was accepted to The University of London’s Imperial Col¬lege of Science, Technology and Medicine. Shortly thereafter, I decided to return to the U.S. to finish my BS and MBA degrees at Texas Christian University (TCU).  

It wasn’t too long after receiving my bachelor’s degree before my father and I discussed the formation of our own company. It was apparent that there was an opportunity to revolutionize the industry’s approach to waste management.  In 1994, we founded Scott Environmental Services, Inc. 

What are the top 3 challenges your clients most commonly come to you with? 

Oil and gas operators are feeling the pressure of cost-reduction, regulatory liability and environmental impact in their operations. Among these challenges, management of solid drilling waste is a top consideration.

How did they change over the last 18 months? 

Due to current market conditions, oil and gas companies are being forced to become more efficient and cut costs. At the same time, the industry is producing much higher volumes of drilling waste per well and solid waste disposal costs are on the rise. This is leading companies to search for solution-based companies that can help them operate in this increasingly competitive environment.

Can you explain exactly how your partnerships with universities work and what are the benefits of those relationships? 

Scott is very pleased to collaborate with universities and other industry best-practice organizations to prove the effectiveness of our waste management programs.

In 2009, for example, Scott Environmental Services, Inc. partnered with Texas A&M University on the “Pecos Project,” a pilot program to test its solidification/stabilization solutions in the Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas. Specifically, it provided solutions that could help alleviate significant damage to surface lease roads caused by increased traffic due to oil and gas production. The research demonstrated that by treating the contaminated mud and cuttings with solidification and stabilization, the materials provided a durable roadway surface that was environmentally friendly, posing no pollution risk.

Scott also was a participant in the creation of the Interstate Technology Regulatory Council’s Technical Guidance on Stabilization and Solidification. This document provides guidance on the use of stabilization and solidification for contaminated soils and sludges and has been used as a best practice for the industry.

As was demonstrated in the Pecos project and in the ITRC document, strength, hydraulic conductivity and leaching resistance are key performance parameters for next generation waste management. 

What are Scott’s top challenges and opportunities in 2016? 

Challenges

Our main challenge is the education of potential customers regarding how they can optimize their solid drilling waste through the use of our patented technologies. They have the need and we have the solution. Even though Scott’s processes are extraordinarily beneficial to the industry and the communities in which it operates, historic behaviors and methods of operation can be difficult to change.

Opportunities

Just recently, a handful of environmental groups collectively sued the EPA, claiming that the agency had failed to adequately regulate the disposal of waste generated by oil and gas drilling. This certainly should be a wake-up call for industry. For us, it presents an opportunity to educate operators on better, more efficient ways to manage their waste.  

What are the strategic priorities for your company in the next 12 months and beyond?

Our priorities can be broken down into two categories. The first is to expand our customer base by demonstrating the economic value we deliver to the upstream oil and gas industry. The second is to continue to demonstrate the environmental benefits of our processes to our customers, regulators, and the public so that the upstream industry can be viewed as environmentally sound and sustainable.

Waste and environmental solutions are a costly investment. How does Scott Environmental ensure that their services end up saving your client money mid- and long-term?

Using the company’s processes, clients have seen immediate savings – up to 2 percent or more of the well’s drilling cost depending on the oil and gas play and the overall cost of the well. This represents a dramatic reduction in immediate costs for an operator in the near-term. These cost-saving benefits are even greater when liability reduction and construction rework is taken into account.

As for the long-term benefits, research has shown that solidification and stabilization systems designed for strength, low-hydraulic conductivity and leachability are scientifically forecast to last several thousand years. (ITRC (Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council). 2011. Development of Performance Specifications for Solidification/Stabilization. Section 7.1.2, pp. 53-54. S/S-1. Washington, D.C.: Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council, Solidification/Stabilization Team. www.itrcweb.org.

What is unique about Scott that differentiates it from competitors?

Although some companies claim to offer comparable solutions, Scott is the leader in next generation solid drilling waste management because of the following:

  •  We are pioneers in several areas of environmental science.
  • Scott received the first statewide permit from the Railroad Commission of Texas for the mobile recycling of contaminated mud and drilled cuttings using solidification/stabilization technology.
  • Scott’s unique services are mobile and do not interfere with drilling or production.
  • We are a registered engineering firm.
  • Our licensed PEs provide operators with design/build customized engineered solutions.
  • We use “representative sampling” to ensure greater confidence that each particle has the same chance of being collected in the sample.
  • Construction specification and quality control are primary elements of our turnkey operations, saving client companies time and money, providing them with the confidence that their solid drilling waste management program is being handled by a company with extensive experience and commitment to excellence.  
  • Our technology is patented. 
  • Scott has processed hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of drilling waste. In fact, with one client, we processed enough drilling cuttings to build Texas Motor Speedway’s track over nine times!
  • We have constructed hundreds of all-weather, drilling locations and analyzed and sampled hundreds of wells.


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