An oil spill can have a dramatic, negative impact on the marine and coastal environment, communities, businesses and company reputation and performance. This was highlighted by the Deepwater Horizon major oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Whilst the primary aim of any operator is to avoid a spill, there is a requirement to reduce and mitigate damage to environmental and socio-economic receptors which may result from potential future oil spills.
Oil spill modelling provides a decision-making tool in the prediction of locations and associated environmental sensitivities that could be impacted during a spill event. Active research to study both the modelling of the processes affecting the fate and distribution of marine pollution allows for a robust contributes spill response planning process.
Operators have an obligation to reduce and mitigate against the effects of an oil spill event, should it occur. These must be clearly and logically investigated through an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and reported in an Environmental Statement (ES) for submission to the regulator. Oil Pollution Emergency Plans (OPEP) must also address these issues.
As experts in the undertaking of EIAs and the production of ESs and OPEPs for the Oil and Gas Industry, BMT Cordah provide the best solution for ensuring the compliance of your projects against legislation.
BMT Cordah is able to offer a flexible team experienced in the considered application of oil spill modelling techniques. These, combined with our detailed understanding of the practicalities of such events in the marine environment, allow for the prediction of locations and associated environmental sensitivities that could be impacted during a spill event.
Oil spill modelling provides an understanding of:
- How and where oil is likely to disperse over time on the sea surface;
- The extent to which oil is likely to arrive on the shoreline;
- Where oil concentrations could exceed certain thresholds; and
- The high level potential environmental impacts of a spill.
- Application of OSCAR (SINTEF 3D Oil Spill Contingency and Response model);
- Application of OSIS (BMT 2D Oil Spill Information System);
- Representation on the Oil and Gas UK Modelling Group;
- Consulting with regulators and stakeholders;
- Determining transboundary effects;
- Determining cumulative effects;
- Designing mitigation measures and monitoring programmes;
- Producing clear and logical ES documentation;
- Production clear and logical OPEP documentation;
- Preparing reports investigating oil spills, both on the UKCS and internationally.
We have supported multiple operators in conducting oil spill modelling for OPEPs, EIAs and standalone studies for offshore installations both on the UKCS and internationally.
Examples of oil spill modelling selected project experience:
- Bentley ES (Xcite Energy Resources);
- Niobe ES (Suncor Energy);
- Victoria OPEP (Bridge Energy);
- MacCulloch OPEP (ConocoPhillips);
- Standalone studies for offshore installations in Nigeria (ERML);
- Comparative analyses (Oil & Gas UK).
Our skilled and experienced personnel use both OSCAR and OSIS models, which are accepted by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) for input to EIAs and OPEPs.
The OSCAR model can compute surface and subsurface transport, behaviour, weathering and fate of oil, as well as potential ecological impacts.
The OSCAR model has been the subject of verification and calibration by numerous field experiments both on surface spills and subsea releases in offshore and nearshore locations, e.g. Reed et al. (1995), Reed et al. (1996) and Johansen et al. (2001).
OSCAR was involved in, and is still in use for, planning, hind- and forecasting of accidental releases in locations such as the Northern and Baltic Seas, Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea (source: SINTEF).
OSCAR is continuously updated and actively developed with industry to improve the existing model and to apply the model software to new problem areas (source: SINTEF).
BMT’s OSIS model can simulate the fate and dispersion of surface oil slicks. OSIS is a particle-tracking model that represents an oil slick as a collection of free moving particles, which simulate the spreading slicks in a complex and dynamic environment.
The weathering model and associated algorithms within OSIS have been validated against 30 years of both controlled accidental marine oil spills and real spill events, supported by laboratory calibration.
OSIS is predominantly used for deterministic (trajectory) or stochastic (using time-series data) simulations. The image above shows a hypothetical surface oil spill and the predicted beaching locations modelled with OSIS.
Our experienced team can undertake training in the application of OSIS, specified to meet particular client needs.
Metocean Data and Weather Forecasting
BMT Cordah can assist in the determination and provision of the relevant metocean data in predicting the movement, fate and extent of an oil spill.