An update from Programme Manager, Joe Mullin.
The Arctic Oil Spill Response Technology Joint Industry Programme (JIP) is delighted to be exhibiting at the 3P Arctic Conference & Exhibition in Stavanger where we have launched our first six reports. These reports cover in situ burning (ISB), dispersants, and remote sensing. They include current state of the art technologies for remote sensing above and below the water; operational limits of dispersants and mineral fines in arctic waters; identification of the regulatory requirements and permitting processes in place; available technology and lessons learned from key ISB experiments; and a summary of the regulatory landscape in place to obtain approval to use ISB in arctic/sub-arctic nations.
The key findings include:
- Dispersants can work in the Arctic and will, under certain conditions, be more effective in the presence of ice than in open water;
- In addition to increasing effectiveness, the presence of ice can increase the time window within which dispersants can be used effectively;
- Confirmation that technology exists to conduct controlled ISB of oil spilled in a wide variety of ice conditions and that ISB is one of the response techniques with the highest potential for oil spill removal in arctic conditions;
- There is a considerable body of scientific and engineering knowledge on ISB to ensure safe and effective response in open water, broken pack ice and complete ice cover, gleaned from over 40 years of research, including large-scale field experiments;
- Most of the perceived risks associated with burning oil are easily mitigated by following approved procedures, using trained personnel, and maintaining appropriate separation distances; and
- The current state of technology in remote sensing, confirms that the industry has a range of airborne and surface imaging systems utilised from helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, vessels and drilling platforms that have been developed and tested for the “oil on open water scenario” that can be used for ice conditions.
This marks the first significant step towards the world’s biggest literature review into arctic oil spill response technologies. Through this initial research we have reaffirmed our confidence in the techniques that the industry and its partners have developed over decades of research and development to respond to oil spills in ice. By 2015, the JIP is looking to launch an additional 18 reports covering all 6 areas of research.