Spill Response and Containment


Manufacturers are producing enhanced blowout preventers

Manufacturers are rolling out new blowout preventer designs that can withstand bone-crushing forces at the bottom of the sea and promise to contain crude blasting out of high-pressure reservoirs, as oil companies march into deeper, more treacherous offshore terrain. Read More

National Research Council issues report on “Responding to Oil Spills in the U.S. Arctic Marine Environment “

“A new report from the National Research Council says that a full suite of proven oil response tools is needed to address potential oil spills in U.S. Arctic waters, but not all of them are readily available. While much is known about both oil behavior and response technologies in ice-covered environments, there are areas where additional research would enable more informed decisions about the most effective response strategies for different Arctic spill situations.”   The report is available HERE.

Joint Industry Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Task Force issues Progress Report On Industry Recommendations To Improve Oil Spill Preparedness And Response
American Petroleum Institute

The OSPRS spent several months developing and prioritizing project plans to address each preliminary recommendation, and subsequently received approval and Industry funding commitment for a multiyear work program. The OSPRS divided the recommendations into seven categories, or work streams, as outlined in the original report, specifically:

  • Planning
  • Dispersants
  • Shoreline Protection and Cleanup
  • Oil Sensing and Tracking
  • In-Situ Burning
  • Mechanical Recovery
  • Alternative Technologies

Read More


EU drafts plans for offshore oil spills

The European Union said it was taking a lessons-learned approach from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spilt in drafting its own offshore safety rules. The European Union proposed legislation that would require oil and natural gas companies to submit emergency response plans and potential hazard reports before being given a license to drill offshore. Read More


 Gulf Oil Spill: Oil-Dispersing Chemicals Had Little Effect On Oil Surfacing, According to New Study 
Science Daily

“As the oil gushed uncontrolled into the Gulf, injection of chemical dispersant into the deep ocean may have had little effect because the oil was coming out with such pressure that it was already dispersed in small droplets. It is impossible to know whether the synthetic dispersant was well mixed with the oil as it was injected. Our models treat both scenarios, and regardless of whether you have the dispersant in the water mixture or not, the amount of oil reaching the sea surface remained relatively unchanged.” Read More


Gulf bacteria consumed a majority of the Deepwater oil spill
R&D Magazine

Researchers from the University of Rochester and Texas A&M University have found that, over a period of five months following the disastrous 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, naturally-occurring bacteria that exist in the Gulf of Mexico consumed and removed at least 200,000 tons of oil and natural gas that spewed into the deep Gulf from the ruptured well head.Read More


BSEE Issues Notice to Lessees on Regional Response Plans

This notice, issued to Lessees and operators, “provides clarification, guidance, and information concerning the preparation of and submittal of a regional Oil Spill Response Plan… Some of the clarifications and encouraged practices in the NTL are based on lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response.” Read More


Marine Well Containment Corporation tests well

Marine Well Containment Company (MWCC), Shell Oil Company and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) today announced the successful demonstration of the industry’s ability to respond to a deepwater well control incident in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. At the direction of the Department of the Interior and BSEE, MWCC initiated mobilization of its containment system, including the physical deployment of the capping stack, the centerpiece of the system. The single ram capping stack stands roughly 30 feet tall, 14 feet wide and weighs about 100 tons. Read More at MWCC and BSEE


Environmental group sues EPA over dispersants used during Gulf oil spill
Times Picayune

Citing continued doubts about the effect of nearly 2 million gallons of chemical dispersants used during the 2010 BP oil spill, a coalition of environmental and public health groups filed suit Monday to force the Environmental Protect Agency to develop new standards for future use. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. Read More


Government Accountability Office raises questions about dispersants
U.S. Government Accountability Office May 30, 2012

“…all the experts GAO spoke with said that little is known about the application and effects of dispersants applied subsurface, noting that specific environmental conditions, such as higher pressures, may influence dispersants’ effectiveness. Knowledge about the use and effectiveness of dispersants in the Arctic is also limited, with less research conducted on dispersant use there than in temperate or tropical climates Read More


Responding to Oil Spills in Arctic Environments
The National Academies, June, 2012

The Ocean Studies Board of the U.S. National Research Council (NRC) is establishing a committee on “Responding to Oil Spills in Arctic Environments”.   Read More


Oil spill response group unveils expanded system
Times-Picayune, March 1, 2012

The Marine Spill Response Corp., a nonprofit set up to help major oil companies respond to offshore spills, announced that it has completed a major expansion in the Gulf of Mexico. …There are now seven dedicated response vessels positioned within 60 hours of any deepwater Gulf oil lease, and Marine Spill Response Corp. also purchased more than 21,000 feet of boom, the largest such inventory of a private response firm, the firm said…. Read More