[PAPER] NORM Waste Management in Vietnam’s Oil and Gas Industry: Lessons from Malaysia

Author[s]: Huyen Thi Le, Jing-Shuo Leow, Hooi-Siang Kang, Teng Iyu Lin and Omar Bin Yaakob


Naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) is omnipresent in all oil and gas formations and generated from petroleum production and decommissioning activities. NORM waste discharged from the petroleum industry can make radiological impacts on human health and the environment, hence efficient management of such waste is important, particularly in Vietnam, given the nation’s petroleum production and decommissioning operations in the coming years. Relatively similar to Vietnam, Malaysia is one of the strongest oil and gas producers in Southeast Asia, but the country has much experience in oil and gas decommissioning. Therefore, in this paper, the authors compare the legal frameworks for managing NORM waste from the petroleum industry between Vietnam and Malaysia to find out useful aspects in Malaysia’s regulatory documents for application in Vietnam, in consultation with the related regulations and guidelines from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP). The key findings include: (1) Malaysia establishes stricter exemption levels for some radionuclides from U-238 and Th-232 series; (2) Malaysia prohibits importing or exporting radioactive waste; (3) Malaysia’s regulation provides comprehensive requirements on NORM waste transportation, some of which are even more detailed than IAEA’s regulations; (4) Malaysia’s guidance describes the decision-making process for licensing or registering for radiation safety as well as for managing NORM waste in oilfields, storage approaches and disposal options for such waste, which can be helpful for oil and gas exploration and production companies in Vietnam to develop NORM waste management procedures; and (5) Malaysia’s guidance provides instructions on design of NORM waste disposal facilities as well as radiological monitoring locations and parameters for an oil and gas production system, which can be learnt for facilitating management of NORM waste from Vietnam’s oil and gas industry.

Publication in American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Journal of Hazardous, Toxic, and Radioactive Waste, Volume 28, Issue 1

Please visit https://doi.org/10.1061/JHTRBP.HZENG-1283 for full article access.

For more information on the publication, please contact Huyen Thi Le ([email protected])

Leave a Reply