Arctic maritime emergency response capability should be improved, report says

Infrastructure for responding to Arctic maritime accidents could prove inadequate as sea ice declines, energy demand grows and vessel traffic increases, according to a report released on Jan. 29 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of New Hampshire.

The Coastal Response Research Center, a UNH and NOAA partnership on the university's Durham, NH, campus, produced the report after a panel from Arctic nation governments, industries and indigenous communities assessed potential threats from maritime accidents in the Arctic.

"The reduction of polar sea ice and the increasing worldwide demand for energy will likely result in a dramatic increase in the number of vessels that travel Arctic waters. As vessel traffic increases, disaster scenarios are going to become more of a reality," said Nancy E. Kinner, UNH co-director of the CRRC and a professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Recommendations included studying the behavior of oil in cold water and improving technologies for spill response in Arctic conditions. They were based on the panel's examination of five potential Arctic emergency response scenarios. Two of these directly involved oil: an explosion on a fixed drilling rig north of Alaska, and a large spill resulting from a collision between a tanker and fishing vessel.

Cold-water environments

CRRC "has been investing in research on spill response techniques and know-how in cold-water environments" since 2005, the report noted. It said that the center is a collaborating partner with the Joint Industry Project (JIP) on Oil in Ice coordinated by SINTEF, a leading Scandinavian research organization based in Trondheim, Norway.

"The JIP is validating chemical and physical behavior of oils and response techniques (mechanical, in-situ burning and dispersant use) and developing best practices for spill contingency plans for a variety of sea ice conditions. CRRC's contribution to the project examines the potential for exposure to biological resources associated with first-year sea ice," the report said.

Its other recommendations were to strengthen multinational plans and agreements for all types of responses, improve logistical support capabilities for disaster response entities, update Arctic weather data and navigational charts, and designate potential ports where damaged vessels could be taken.

Sea ice declines

Sea ice coverage in the Arctic reached record lows during the summers of 2006 and 2007, and recent modeling by the US National Snow and Ice Data Center suggest that the Arctic will be consistently ice-free during the summer as soon as 2030, the report said.

"The decline of Arctic sea ice has resulted in increased activities such as oil and gas exploration, mineral speculation and exploration, northern moving fisheries, and tourism in sub-Arctic and Arctic waters. Some of these previously un-navigable waters are becoming more available to vessel traffic," it noted.

"Now is the time to prepare for maritime accidents and potential spills in the Arctic. This report clearly indicates that international cooperation and adequate resources are key to saving lives and protecting this special region," said Amy Merten, NOAA co-director of the CRRC.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

Related Articles

Gas faces more competition from coal, renewables, IEA official says

07/06/2015 Natural gas faces growing competition from coal and renewable energy sources at a time when its potential demand growth is slowing down, an Interna...

API to issue recommended practice to address pipeline safety

07/01/2015 The American Petroleum Institute expects to issue a new recommended practice in another few weeks that addresses pipeline safety issues, but the tr...

OGJ Newsletter

06/29/2015

Security through change

06/29/2015

At the start of this month the US Army published its "Energy Security & Sustainability (ES2) Strategy" report. 

Marathon commissions unit at Kentucky refinery

06/29/2015 Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MPC) has commissioned a 35,000-b/d condensate splitting unit at its 242,000-b/d Catlettsburg, Ky., refinery to boost the ...

OGJ Newsletter

06/22/2015

Recognize industry know-how in US Arctic policies, API officials urge

06/19/2015 US Arctic oil and gas policies should recognize the industry’s extensive global Far North experience and technology, American Petroleum Institute o...

PBF Energy inks deal for Louisiana refinery, logistics assets

06/18/2015 PBF Holding Co. LLC, a subsidiary of PBF Energy Inc., Parsippany, NJ, has entered an agreement with ExxonMobil Corp. and Petroleos de Venezuela SA ...

OGJ Newsletter

06/15/2015
White Papers

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

On Demand

OGJ's Midyear Forecast 2015

Fri, Jul 10, 2015

This webcast is to be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and Senior Economic Editor Conglin Xu.  They will summarize the Midyear Forecast projections in key categories, note important changes from January’s forecasts, and examine reasons for the adjustments.

register:WEBCAST


Predictive Analytics in your digital oilfield - Optimize Production Yield and Reduce Operational Costs

Tue, Jul 7, 2015

Putting predictive analytics to work in your oilfield can help you anticipate failures, plan and schedule work in advance, eliminate emergency work and catastrophic failures, and at the same time you can optimize working capital and improve resource utilization.  When you apply analytic capabilities to critical production assets it is possible to reduce non-productive time and increase your yield.

Learn how IBM's analytics capabilities can be applied to critical production assets with the goal of reducing non-productive time, increasing yield and reducing operations costs.

register:WEBCAST


Cognitive Solutions for Upstream Oil and Gas

Fri, Jun 12, 2015

The oil & gas sector is under pressure on all sides. Reserves are limited and it’s becoming increasingly expensive to find and extract new resources. Margins are already being squeezed in an industry where one wrong decision can cost millions. Analyzing data used in energy exploration can save millions of dollars as we develop ways to predict where and how to extract the world’s massive energy reserves.

This session with IBM Subject Matter Experts will discuss how IBM Cognitive Solutions contribute to the oil and gas industry using predictive analytics and cognitive computing, as well as real time streaming for exploration and drilling.

register:WEBCAST


The Alternative Fuel Movement: Four Need-to-Know Excise Tax Complexities

Thu, Jun 4, 2015

Discussion on how to approach, and ultimately embrace, the alternative fuel market by pulling back the veil on excise tax complexities. Taxes may be an aggravating part of daily operations, but their accuracy is crucial in your path towards business success.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected