Frequently Asked Questions


What is the IOGP?

The International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) is the international representative body for the upstream oil and gas industry, currently with 74 members. IOGP represents the upstream oil & gas industry before international organisations including the International Maritime Organisation, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Regional Seas Conventions and other groups under the UN umbrella. Any upstream company, private, public or state-owned, may apply for IOGP membership. At a regional level, IOGP is the industry representative to the European Commission and Parliament and the OSPAR Commission for the North East Atlantic. Equally important is IOGP’s role in promulgating best practices, particularly in the areas of health, safety, the environment and social responsibility.

What is the Joint Industry Programme (JIP) on oil spill response?

The JIP consists of nine international oil and gas companies that have come together to improve the technologies and methodologies for oil spill response. The JIP was formed as the outcome of a joint recommendation in 2009 by the IPIECA Oil Spill Working Group, The Industry Technical Advisory Committee and the API Emergency Preparedness and Response Program Group. The creation of the JIP was announced on 26 January 2012 at the Arctic Frontiers Conference in Norway. The official launch of the JIP’s research programme will be at the Arctic Technology Conference on 5 December 2012.

Who are the JIP’s members?

The JIP has nine members: BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Eni, ExxonMobil, Shell, Statoil, North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC) and Total.

What is the JIP’s objective?

The purpose of the programme is to further enhance industry knowledge and capabilities in the area of Arctic oil spill response. The JIP’s policy is very clear: minimize our impact on the environment, lead and deploy industry best practices and work together using our joint expertise, resources and funding to improve technologies and methodologies for Arctic oil spill response. Specifically, the JIP aims to extend industry knowledge and capabilities in the following 6 areas: dispersant technology, trajectory modelling of oil in ice, remote sensing of oil in ice, mechanical recovery of oil in ice, environmental impacts of oil spills and oil spill responses and in situ burn technologies.

What is the executive leadership of the JIP?

The Chair of the JIP is James Hall from ExxonMobil. The Vice Chair Europe is Hanne Greiff Johnsen from Statoil and the Vice Chair North America is Barbara Parker from Shell. The Programme Manager is Joseph Mullin.

What is the JIP’s timeframe?

The JIP intends to conduct a series of ground-breaking research projects that build on current industry knowledge, over a period of 5 years. The JIP is launching its activities in December 2012. All of the results of the JIP research will be published and be available for public consumption. The JIP is aiming to make its research project findings available either in peer reviewed journals, on this website or in general materials.

What is the JIP’s total research budget?

The JIP has a budget of US$20m for the duration of its four year programme

At what stage is the JIP at the moment?

The JIP was launched in January 2012 and has completed phase one of the programme, that which included technical assessments and state of the art reviews.  In the 4th fourth quarter of 2014, the JIP entered into phase two of the programme, that which involved laboratory, small, and medium scale tank tests and as well as full scale field testing.

What specifically is the JIP researching?

The JIP currently consists of 10 individual projects across six key areas of research: dispersants, environmental effects, trajectory modelling, remote sensing, mechanical recovery and in situ buring.
Project 1: Fate of dispersed oil under ice. The goal is to develop a numerical model capable of predicting the behaviour of a dispersed oil plume under ice, with particular emphasis on the potential for an oil plume resurfacing.
Project 2: Dispersion of oil in ice. Examining the effectiveness of dispersant use in Arctic environments. This will involve conducting large-scale tank research to test the efficacy of dispersants in Arctic marine waters and to determine the optimal operational dispersion criteria.
Project 3: Environmental impacts from Arctic oil spills and oil spill response technologies. Providing a robust information base that will support the use of net environmental benefit analysis (NEBA) for Arctic oil spill environmental impact assessments and response decision-making.
Project 4: Oil spill trajectory modelling in ice. Developing a numerical model capable of predicting oil trajectory in seas with different ice concentrations.
Project 5: Oil spill detection and mapping in low visibility and ice. Expanding the oil & gas industry’s remote sensing and monitoring capabilities in ice infested waters during periods of darkness and low visibility, and detecting and tracking different types of oil in a range of ice and water conditions. These include situations in which oil is in floes or under or on ice.
Project 6: Mechanical recovery of oil in ice. Examining in detail the results obtained from previous research projects to confirm the feasibility of booms and skimmers as a viable response technique for minor spills in ice-infested waters and identifying and developing innovative concepts for mechanical recovery; taking them to ‘proof of concept stage’.
Projects 7, 8 and 9: In situ burning of oil in Arctic environments. These three projects will take forward three elements of research into the effectiveness of controlled oil burning techniques in Arctic environments. Project 7 will examine the degree to which in situ burning can be used effectively as a response technique in Arctic conditions and raise awareness of the benefits and drawbacks of ISB as a response technique. Projects 8 and 9 focus on aerial ignition systems for ISB and conducting meso-scale and large-scale basin research and field verification experiments with herders to enhance and improve the effectiveness of ISB in specific Arctic ice environments.
Project 10: Field Research. Will provide support to the previously listed research by developing and coordinating field release scenarios to verify technologies and methodologies developed through the JIP, should it be found that research on one or more of the themes cannot be effectively taken forward without testing in realistic conditions.

What is the current state of Arctic oil spill research?

The JIP is building on decades of research, looking at all aspects of oil spill preparedness, oil spill behaviour and options for oil spill response in the Arctic marine environment. This has included hundreds of studies, laboratory and basin experiments and field trials, especially in the US, Canada and Scandinavia over two decades. Two of the most recent comprehensive reports that the JIP is building on are the Joint Industry Program on Oil Spill Contingency for Arctic and Ice-covered Waters (2010), compiled by the largest independent research organisation in Scandinavia, SINTEF; and Spill Response in the Arctic Offshore (2012) by SL Ross Environmental Research, DF Dickins Associates and Polaris Applied Sciences.

What are the major challenges to oil spill research in the Arctic?

The major operational challenges to Arctic oil spill response are: remoteness, low temperatures, seasonal darkness and the presence of ice. However, cold water and seas ice can actually enhance response effectiveness by limiting the spread of oil and widening the window in which in situ burning can take place.

Is oil spill response more complex in the Arctic than elsewhere?

The Arctic presents unique operational challenges. The presence of ice, remoteness, a lack of infrastructure, challenging weather conditions and low visibility represent far more complex challenges than elsewhere in the world. The JIP recognises that the industry’s licence to operate in these areas depends on being able to operate safely and with respect for communities and the environment.

Why are the JIP companies collaborating?

As an industry, we recognise that oil spill response is not a competitive aspect of our business and we believe that working together gives us access to a wider range of technical expertise and experience, allowing us to be more effective. The JIP is realistic about the unique challenges needing to be addressed when considering Arctic operations. These include prolonged periods of darkness, extreme cold, distant infrastructure, presence of sea ice offshore and a higher cost of doing business. The area of Arctic oil spill research attracts some of the leading experts in the field. It is important that all information is shared and published.