Shell executives see industry benefitting from oil-spill cleanup contest

The oil industry will benefit greatly from emerging technologies unveiled during the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X Challenge in which $1.3 million was awarded to two winning contestants for demonstrating highly efficient methods to recover spilled crude oil from the ocean surface, Shell executives said.

The X Prize Foundation, a nonprofit organization, along with philanthropist Wendy Schmidt, presented a $1 million first-place award to Elastec/American Marine Oct. 11 during a ceremony in New York.

Elastec/American Marine of Carmi, Ill., and Cocoa, Fla., achieved more than three times the industry’s previous best oil recovery rate tested in controlled conditions.

The second-place winner, NOFI from Tromso, Norway, won $300,000. Despite schedule delays caused by Hurricane Irene, NOFI reached more than two times the industry’s previous best oil recovery rate.

The two winners emerged from 10 finalists selected out of more than 350 entry submissions from around the world in the competition launched in July 2010 following the April 2010 blowout of BP PLC’s Macondo well (OGJ Online, Sept. 14, 2011).

The blowout triggered an explosion-fire on Transocean Ltd.’s Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible off Louisiana that resulted in a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The finalist teams demonstrated their cleanup systems during rigorous testing at Ohmsett oil spill response and research in Leonardo, NJ. Ohmsett is an oil spill response and research test center owned by the US government.

Technologies tested

Each finalist had a week to demonstrate their individual technology using Ohmsett, the largest outdoor saltwater wave and tow facility in North America, said Peter K. Velez, global emergency response manager for Shell International Exploration & Production.

Velez was one of eight judges. Other judges included representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a retired US Coast Guard oil spill response specialist, and the emergency oil spill response coordinator at the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement.

Shell was the only industry participant and was a supporting partner to the competition. As supporting partner, Shell provided the funding to lease Ohmsett and provided the oil, Velez said.

On behalf of Shell, Velez also assisted with technical, operational, and scientific components of the competition. He noted the competition enabled the 10 finalists to test their emerging technologies on a scale that they would not have been able to do otherwise.

David Lawrence, executive vice-president of exploration for Shell Upstream Americas, told OGJ that all of the technologies tested from the 10 finalists could improve oil spill response efforts.

Velez said the 10 finalists learned from their test results and developed their technology much faster than they would have done without the competition.

The next steps will involve more testing efforts and refinements of the technology, said Lawrence, who believes the technologies will be further developed and eventually commercialized.

“I was really encouraged by what I saw in the contest, Lawrence said. “New technologies can help improve our environmental performance.”

He said the competition provided innovations important to industry, oil spill response organizations, and the USCG and BOEMRE.

“These technologies will be deployed as soon as possible,” Lawrence said. “You can use aspects of these in many different places,” such as deep water, shallow water, and Arctic regions.

Boosting oil recovery efficiency

The winning teams were required to demonstrate the ability to recover oil on a sea-water surface at an oil recovery rate (ORR) above 2,500 gpm and an oil recovery efficiency (ORE) of greater than 70% oil-to-water ratio.

Elastec/American Marine, a privately held company that manufactures oil spill equipment, demonstrated an average ORR of 4,670 gpm and an average ORE of 89.5%.

NOFI demonstrated an average ORR of 2,712 gpm and an average ORE of 83%. NOFI develops and produces boom technologies and has a range of products that cover oil spill control.

The tests were done at the 2.6 million gal tank run by the US Department of the Interior and located on the high-security Naval Weapons Station Earle.

During the awards ceremony, Elastec team leader Don Johnson said it was not conceivable for a skimmer to achieve more than 2,500 gpm ORR before the Macondo oil spill. His company developed a system that involves four rows of giant grooved discs to recover spilled oil from the ocean surface.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

Related Articles

EPA approves Magellan’s Corpus Christi splitter project

12/12/2014 The US Environmental Protection Agency has issued a final greenhouse gas prevention of significant deterioration construction permit to Magellan Pr...

Keyera to take majority interest in Alberta gas plant

12/12/2014 Keyera Corp., Calgary, will pay $65 million (Can.) to buy a 70.79% ownership interest in the Ricinus deep-cut gas plant in west-central Alberta.

PBF Energy, PBF Logistics make management changes

12/12/2014 Matthew Lucey, currently executive vice-president of PBF Energy Inc., will succeed Michael Gayda as the company’s president. Todd O’Malley, current...

TAEP: TPI still peaking, but ‘contraction unavoidable’ as oil prices fall

12/12/2014 The Texas Petro Index (TPI), a composite index based on a comprehensive group of upstream economic indicators released by the Texas Alliance of Ene...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil price extends slump

12/12/2014 Crude oil prices extended their slump on the New York market with a Dec. 11 settlement of less than $60/bbl for January, and prices continued downw...

US needs more data before ending crude export ban, House panel told

12/11/2014 Much more environmental impact information is needed before the US can reasonably remove crude oil export limits, a witness told a House Energy and...

BOEM raises offshore oil spill liability limit to $134 million

12/11/2014 The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management increased the liability limit for oil-spill related damages from offshore operations to $134 million from ...

Rosneft, Essar sign terms of oil supply agreement

12/11/2014 OAO Rosneft and Essar Energy PLC have signed key terms of an oil supply agreement in New Delhi. Rosneft said shipments to India may begin in 2015.

Barton introduces bill to remove US crude export limits

12/11/2014

US Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) introduced legislation that would remove US crude oil export limits that have been in place for nearly 40 years.

White Papers

AVEVA NET Accesses and Manages the Digital Asset

Global demand for new process plants, power plants and infrastructure is increasing steadily with the ...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Approach for the Digital Asset

To meet the requirements for leaner project execution and more efficient operations while transferring...
Sponsored by

Diversification - the technology aspects

In tough times, businesses seek to diversify into adjacent markets or to apply their skills and resour...
Sponsored by

Engineering & Design for Lean Construction

Modern marketing rhetoric claims that, in order to cut out expensive costs and reduce risks during the...
Sponsored by

Object Lessons - Why control of engineering design at the object level is essential for efficient project execution

Whatever the task, there is usually only one way to do it right and many more to do it wrong. In the c...
Sponsored by

Plant Design for Lean Construction - at your fingertips

One area which can provide improvements to the adoption of Lean principles is the application of mobil...
Sponsored by

How to Keep Your Mud System Vibrator Hose from Getting Hammered to Death

To prevent the vibrating hoses on your oilfield mud circulation systems from failing, you must examine...
Sponsored by

Duty of Care

Good corporate social responsibility means implementing effective workplace health and safety measures...
Sponsored by

Available Webcasts


On Demand

Optimizing your asset management practices to mitigate the effects of a down market

Thu, Dec 11, 2014

The oil and gas market is in constant flux, and as the price of BOE (Barrel of Oil Equivalent) goes down it is increasingly important to optimize your asset management strategy to stay afloat.  Attend this webinar to learn how developing a solid asset management plan can help your company mitigate costs in any market.

register:WEBCAST


Parylene Conformal Coatings for the Oil & Gas Industry

Thu, Nov 20, 2014

In this concise 30-minute webinar, participants have an opportunity to learn more about how Parylene coatings are applied, their features, and the value they add to devices and components.

register:WEBCAST


Utilizing Predictive Analytics to Optimize Productivity in Oil & Gas Operations

Tue, Nov 18, 2014

Join IBM on Tuesday, November 18 @ 1pm CST to explore how Predictive Analytics can help your organization maximize productivity, operational performance & associated processes to drive enterprise wide productivity and profitability.

register:WEBCAST


US HYDROCARBON EXPORTS Part 3 — LNG

Fri, Nov 14, 2014

US LNG Exports, the third in a trilogy of webcasts focusing on the broad topic of US Hydrocarbon Exports.

A discussion of the problems and potential for the export of US-produced liquefied natural gas.

These and other topics will be discussed, with the latest thoughts on U.S. LNG export policy.

register:WEBCAST


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