Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (TENORM) in the Oil and Gas Industry: A Review

  • Israel DoyiEmail author
  • David Kofi Essumang
  • Samuel Dampare
  • Eric Tetteh Glover
Part of the Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology book series (RECT, volume 238)


Radiation is part of the natural environment: it is estimated that approximately 80 % of all human exposure comes from naturally occurring or background radiation. Certain extractive industries such as mining and oil logging have the potential to increase the risk of radiation exposure to the environment and humans by concentrating the quantities of naturally occurring radiation beyond normal background levels (Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli 2004).


Radioactivity Radiation exposure Radionuclides Chronic Acute Toxicology Produced water Scale DNA Dose limit Radiation protection 


  1. Agbalagba EO, Avwiri GO, Chadumoren YE (2013) J Appl Sci Environ Manage 17(2):279–288Google Scholar
  2. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (1999) Toxicological profile for ionizing radiation, toxic substances portal – ionizing radiation, Accessed on Jul 25, 2015
  3. Al-Masri MS, Suman H (2003) NORM waste management in oil and gas industry: the Syrian experience. J Radioanal Nucl Chem 256(1):159–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) (2003) Radiation and Waste Safety in the Oil and Gas Industry. IAEA-Safety Report No. 34Google Scholar
  5. Avwiri GO, Esi E, Agbalagba EO (2013) Gamma spectrometry analysis of produced water from selected flow stations in Delta State, Nigeria. Int J Environ Monitor Anal 1(5):167–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (2004) Full field development phase 3, Environmental and socio-economic impact assessment 31648 – 046, Appendix 10Google Scholar
  7. Bou-Rabee F, Al-Zamel AZ, Al-Fares RA, Bem H (2009) Technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive materials in the oil industry (TENORM). A review. NUKLEONIKA 54(1):3–9Google Scholar
  8. Doyi I, Oppon OC, Glover ET, Gbeddy G, Kokroko W (2013) Assessment of occupational radiation exposure in underground artisanal gold mines in Tongo, Upper east region of Ghana. J Environ Radioact 126:77–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. El Afifi EM, Awwad NS (2005) Characterization of the TENORM waste associated with oil and natural gas production in Abu Rudeis, Egypt. J Environ Radioact 82:7–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Eriksen DO, Sidhu R, Strälberg E (2006) Radionuclides in produced water from Norwegian oil and gas installations-concentrations and bioavailability. Czechoslovak J Phys 56:D43–D48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fischer RS (1998) Geologic and geochemical controls on naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) in produced water from oil, gas, and geothermal operations. Environ Geosci 5(3):139–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gazineu MHP, Hazin CA (2008) Radium and potassium-40 in solid wastes from the oil industry. Appl Radiat Isot 60:90–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gazineu MHP, de Araujo AA, Brandao YB, Hazin CA, Godoy JM (2005) Radioactivity concentration in liquid and solid phases of scale and sludge generated in the petroleum industry. J Environ Radioact 81:47–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Godoy JM, Cruz RP (2003) 226Ra and 228Ra in scale and sludge samples and their correlation with the chemical composition. J Environ Radioact 70:199–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Guidelines for naturally occurring radioactive materials (2002) Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Associated Ltd. Report ABN 44000292773, March 2002, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  16. Hamilton LD, Meinhold AF, Nagy J (1991) Produced water radionuclide hazard/risk assessment – phase 1. Prepared for the American Petroleum Institute. BNL 47403. Brookhaven National LaboratoryGoogle Scholar
  17. Hamlat MS, Djeffal S, Kadi H (2001) Assessment of radiation exposures from naturally occurring radioactive materials in the oil and gas industry. Appl Radiat Isot 55:141–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hrichi H, Baccouche S, Belgaied J (2013) Evaluation of radiological impacts of tenorm in the Tunisian petroleum industry. J Environ Radioact 115(2013):107–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. IAEA (2006) Regulatory and management approaches for the control of environmental residues containing naturally occurring radioactive material NORM – Proceedings of a Technical Meeting held in Vienna, 6–10 December 2004. TECDOC-1484. IAEA, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  20. ICRP (2007) Annals of the ICRP Publication 103, The 2007 Recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection, pp 103–122Google Scholar
  21. Jonkers G, Hartog FA, Knaepen WAI, Lancee PFJ (1997) Characterization of NORM in the oil and gas production (E&P) industry. In: Proceedings of the International Symposium on Radiological Problems with Natural Radioactivity in the Non-nuclear Industry. Amsterdam, September 8–10, pp. 23–47Google Scholar
  22. Kadyrzhanov KK, Tuleushev AZ, Marabaev ZN (2005) Radioactive components of scales at the inner surface of pipes in oil fields of Kazakhstan. J Radioanal Nucl Chem 264:413–416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kraemer TF, Reid DF (1984) The occurrence and behaviour of radium in saline formation water of the U.S. Gulf Coast Region. Isot Geosci 2:153–174Google Scholar
  24. Lagera L, Hart A, Graham B (1999) Radionuclides in oil and gas operational discharges and environmental samples associated with offshore oil and gas production facilities. I: Continental Shelf Associates, Inc. Radionuclides, metals, and hydrocarbons in oil and gas operational discharges and environmental samples associated with offshore production facilities on the Texas/Louisiana continental shelf with an environmental assessment of metals and hydrocarbons. Prepared for U.S. Department of Energy. (DOE/MT/92001-23). Tulsa, OK (US): National Petroleum Technology Office, 1999: chapter 6Google Scholar
  25. Lysebo I, Birovljev A, Strand T (1996) NORM in oil production, occupational doses and environmental aspects. In: Proceedings of the 11th Congress of the Nordic Radiation Protection Society, Reykjavik, August 26–30, Accessed on Jan 28, 2014
  26. Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (2005) Natural radioactivity in produced water from the Norwegian oil and gas industry in 2003, Report no 2. NRPA, ǾsterasGoogle Scholar
  27. OGP (2008) Guidelines for the management of naturally occurring radioactive materials in the oil and gas industry, International Association of Oil & Gas Producers, Report No. 412Google Scholar
  28. Omar M, Ali HM, Abu MP (2004) Distribution of radium in oil and gas industry wastes from Malaysia. Appl Radiat Isot 60:779–782CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pasocha AS (1997) Naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) and petroleum origin. Appl Radiat Isot 48:1391–1396CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Exploration and Production Forum (1987) Low specific activity scale origin treatment and disposal. Report no 6.6/127. London, pp 25–38, Final version 17 August 2005Google Scholar
  31. Radiation Health & Safety Advisory Council for the CEO of ARPANSA, (2005) Naturally-Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) in Australia: Issues for DiscussionGoogle Scholar
  32. Rajaretnam G, Spitz HB (2000) Effect of leachability on environmental risk assessment for naturally occurring radioactive materials in petroleum oil fields. Health Phys 78(2):191–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rich AL, Crosby EC (2013) Analysis of reserve pit sludge from unconventional natural gas hydraulic fracturing and drilling operations for the presence of Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (TENORM)Google Scholar
  34. Røe TI (1998) Produced water discharges to the North Sea: a study of bioavailability of organic produced water compounds to marine organisms. PhD thesis. Trondheim: Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Chemistry and BiologyGoogle Scholar
  35. RPB (1995) Dose limits, radiation protection and safety guide No. GRPB-G3, Radiation Protection Board, Ghana Atomic Energy CommissionGoogle Scholar
  36. Shawky S, Amer H, Nada AA, El-Maksoud TMA, Ibrahiem NM (2001) Characteristics of NORM in the oil industry from Eastern and Western deserts of Egypt. Appl Radiat Isot 55:135–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Smith AL (1987) Radioactive scale formation. J Petrol Tech 39:697–706CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Smith GE, Fitzgibbon T, Karp S (1995a) In Proceedings of Exploration and Production Environmental Conference. Houston, Texas, USA, March 7–29, p 181Google Scholar
  39. Smith KP, Blunt DL, William GP, Tebes LL (1995b) In Proceedings of Exploration and Production Environmental Conference. Houston, Texas, USA, March 27–29, p 231Google Scholar
  40. Smith KP, Blunt DL, Williams GP, Tebes CL (1996) 44. Radiological dose assessment related to management of naturally occurring radioactive materials generated by the petroleum industry. Report ANL/EAD-2m. Argonne National Laboratory, USAGoogle Scholar
  41. Snavely ES (1989) Radionuclides in produced water - a literature review. American Petroleum Institute Publication No. 5404, Washington, DC, pp 1–85Google Scholar
  42. Strand T, Lysebo I (1998) NORM in oil production activity levels and occupational doses. In: Proc of the 2nd Int Symp on the Treatment of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials NORM II, 10–13 November 1998, Klefeld, Germany, pp 137–141Google Scholar
  43. Strand T, Lysebo I, Kristensen D, Birovljev A (1997) Deposits of naturally occurring radioactivity in production of oil and natural gas. NRPA report 1997:1. Østerås, Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, 1997. (In Norwegian)Google Scholar
  44. Testa C, Desideri D, Meli MA, Roselli C, Bassignani A, Colombo G, Fantoni RF (1994) Radiation protection and radioactive scales in oil and gas production. Health Phys 71:34–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Testa, C, Desideri D, Guerra F, Meli MA, Roselli C (1998) Proc. of the Int. Solv. Extraction Symp., Moscow, Russia, June 21–27, 416Google Scholar
  46. USNRC. 1991. Occupational dose limits. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Code of Federal Regulations. 10 CFR 20, Subpart CGoogle Scholar
  47. Van Hattum B, Cofino WP, Feenstra JF (1992) Environmental aspects of produced water discharges from oil and gas production on the Dutch continental shelf. Amsterdam: Vrije University, Institute for Environmental Studies, 1992Google Scholar
  48. Vegueria JSF, Godoy JM, Miekeley N (2002) Environmental impact studies of barium and radium discharges by produced waters from the “Bacia de Campos” oil field offshore platforms, Brazil. J Environ Radioact 62:23–38Google Scholar
  49. White GJ, Rood AS (2001) Radon emanation from NORM-contaminated pipe scale and soil at petroleum industry sites. J Environ Radioact 54:401–413CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zielinski RA, Budahn JR (2007) Mode of occurrence and environmental mobility of oil-field radioactive material at US Geological Survey research site B. Appl Geochem 22:2125–2137CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2016

Open Access This chapter is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 International License (, which permits any noncommercial use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license and indicate if changes were made.

The images or other third party material in this chapter are included in the chapter's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the chapter's Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Israel Doyi
    • 1
    Email author
  • David Kofi Essumang
    • 2
  • Samuel Dampare
    • 1
  • Eric Tetteh Glover
    • 3
  1. 1.National Radioactive Waste Management Centre, National Nuclear Research InstituteGhana Atomic Energy CommissionAccraGhana
  2. 2.Graduate School of Nuclear and Allied SciencesGhana Atomic Energy CommissionAccraGhana
  3. 3.Department of ChemistryUniversity of Cape CoastCape CoastGhana

Personalised recommendations