The exposure to the workers in oil drilling is complex. Generally the drilling fluids consist of mineral oils. In addition, a number of compounds are added to the mineral oil. During drilling the drilling fluids are exposed to high temperatures and high pressure. It is therefore possible chemicals that originally are contained in the drilling fluid may change chemically due to thermal decomposition. Thus oil drillers may be exposed to the original drilling fluid, potential decomposition products, and particles originating from the rocks and oil/gas.

Scientific reports dealing with lung diseases in humans exposed to oil mist or oil vapour in oil drilling or exposed to such compounds in general are scarce. The few animal studies that have been carried out suggest that high exposure to mineral oil based oil mist may result in pathological alterations of the alveoli of the lungs, while the bronchi appear to be less vulnerable.

We will in this study focus on possible lung diseases in offshore workers engaged in drilling operations, and thus are exposed to mud during this activity. The aims are to study if current exposure in drilling operations has untoward pulmonary effects, and if previous higher exposure has induced lung fibrosis.