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Hydrogen sulfide

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Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is highly toxic, with a distinctive "rotten eggs" odor. If the formation oil or gas is sour, there is no alternative but to produce the H2S and, because it generally has minimal economic value, dispose of the gas in a safe and cost-effective manner. The treatment procedure and treatment location depend on the concentration of H2S. Caustic scrubbing can be used for the removal of high concentrations.[1] Treatment of the low-concentration H2S (nominally < 150 ppm) is made using nonregenerative chemical technology that is more efficient at low H2S concentrations. Chlorine dioxide and nitrite ion[2][3] are two such low-cost treatment chemicals. Sour gas sweetening provides more information on processing and treatment.

Drilling hydrogen sulfide (H2)S-bearing formations poses one of the most difficult and dangerous drilling problems to humans and equipment. If it is known or anticipated, there are very specific requirements to abide by in accordance with International Association of Drilling Contractors rules and regulations.


  1. Cassinis, R.B. and Farone, W.A. 1997. Improved H2S Caustic Scrubber. Presented at the SPE Western Regional Meeting, Long Beach, California, 25-27 June 1997. SPE-38273-MS.
  2. Sturman, P.J., Goeres, D.M., and Winters, M.A. 1999. Control of Hydrogen Sulfide in Oil and Gas Wells With Nitrite Injection. Presented at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Houston, 3–6 October. SPE 56772.
  3. Wilson, D.R. 1996. Hydrogen Sulphide Scavengers: Recent Experience in a Major North Sea Field. Presented at the European Petroleum Conference, Milan, Italy, 22–24 October. SPE 36943.

Noteworthy papers in OnePetro

External links

International Association of Drilling Contractors

Occupational Safety & Health Administration

See also

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) fields

Sour gas

Sour gas sweetening


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