BP posts gulf environmental data online; plans more for 2014

Information about offshore water conditions in the Gulf of Mexico was posted online, BP PLC reported, saying that BP, federal and state agencies, and the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) collected the information following the deepwater Macondo well blowout in 2010.

The data, made available on BP’s web site Nov. 18, previously helped guide oil spill response efforts under the direction of the US Coast Guard.

Initial information concerns water chemistry and concentrations of chemical constituents of crude oil, such as volatile hydrocarbons, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, saturated hydrocarbons, and petroleum biomarkers.

The oil characteristics outline the composition of Macondo oil as it progressed through degradation offshore. Oil also was collected using a containment system that conveyed fresh oil from the well into a pipe connected to a containment vessel.

Sample maps provide a visual representation of the location where samples were collected. Work plans describe the scientific studies developed to examine possible oil exposure pathways. NRDA developed and amended more than 200 work plans in total to study natural resources and habitat.

BP plans to post additional information online next year as part of its ongoing efforts to share scientific information with the public and the research community, including progress reports regarding NRDA efforts.

“Providing access to this significant body of scientific information will help enhance gulf-related scientific research and improve the public’s understanding of the condition of the gulf,” said Laura Folse, BP’s executive vice-president for response and environmental restoration.

Information scheduled for release next year will include the results of various ongoing scientific sampling by government agencies. That sampling now is in various stages of analysis, validation, and quality control review.

Data to be released will cover oil, water, sediments, shoreline, environmental toxicology, birds, fish and shellfish, marine mammals, and sea turtles. The information will be posted without interpretation, BP said.

Some data collected through oil-spill response efforts and NRDA already was used in reports and papers published by government agencies, the academic community, industry groups, BP. and others. As of Nov. 18, BP said it has spent more than $26 billion on response, clean-up efforts, and claims.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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