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Advances in Treating Agents for Oil Spill Response with Applicability to the Arctic Amy Tidwell & Tim Nedwed, ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company Ian.

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Presentation on theme: "Advances in Treating Agents for Oil Spill Response with Applicability to the Arctic Amy Tidwell & Tim Nedwed, ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company Ian."— Presentation transcript:

1 Advances in Treating Agents for Oil Spill Response with Applicability to the Arctic Amy Tidwell & Tim Nedwed, ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company Ian Buist & Randy Belore, SL Ross Environmental Research, Ltd. Gerald Canevari, Canevari & Associates 2012 United States-Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum Anchorage, Alaska November 13-15, 2012

2 Outline The OSR Toolbox Dispersants −Background −Development of New Dispersant In situ Burning −Background −Development of Herding Agents Commercialization Plans Summary

3 Spill Response Options: The Toolbox Mechanical Recovery: Booms & Skimmers In-Situ Burning Monitor & Evaluate Dispersants The goal is to design a response strategy based on Net Environmental Benefit Analysis

4 Background on Dispersants: What are they? Dispersants are solutions of surfactants dissolved in a solvent Surfactants reduce oil-water interfacial tension – allows slicks to disperse into very small droplets with minimal wave energy Dispersed oil rapidly dilutes to concentrations <10 ppm within minutes, <1 ppm within hours, ppb range within a day

5 Background on Dispersants: What are they? Oil-degrading micro-organisms are present everywhere Each dispersed oil droplet is a concentrated food source that is rapidly colonized and degraded by marine bacteria Rapid dilution allows biodegradation to occur without nutrient or oxygen limitations Rapid dilution reduces toxicity issues – dispersed oil plume dilutes to <1 ppm in hours and <1 ppb within 1 – 2 days Graphic consistent with Venosa & Holder, EPA 2007

6 Development of New Dispersant Gel Consistency of warm honey Positively buoyant drops Cohesive & persistent Oleophilic behavior 85+% active ingredient Properties of Dispersants Used in Testing Dispersant Dispersant Viscosity (15  C) 20  C (g/cc) Viscosity (cP) Shear Rate (s -1 ) Corexit New dispersant Gel Pour Video 9500 Pour Video

7 Development of New Dispersant: Testing Dispersant-effectiveness results for light, medium, & heavy crude oils

8 Controlled burning of oil “in situ” Conventional process requires booms to keep oil thick Fire resistant booms are a challenge to transport Only operational use offshore during Deepwater Horizon Background on in situ Burning Newfoundland Offshore Burn Experiment, 1993

9 Herders enable in situ burning without booms Requires application of small volume of surfactant on water surface on perimeter of slick Herding process requires minutes to thicken slick enough to burn Herder application and burn initiated quickly from a single helicopter Background on in situ Burning: Herding Agents Lab-scale application of herders

10 Development of Herders: Recent Testing Field testing of herding agents, 2008 Herder testing since 2004 focused on supporting in situ burning in ice Recent field tests were done in very limited ice supporting use of herders in open water

11 Commercialization Efforts: New Dispersant and Herders Dispersant gel −Plans are for dispersant gel to be available for sale by early 2013 Herding agents −Currently listed with US EPA for potential use in US marine waters −Commercially available through Applied Fabrics, Buffalo, New York −Helicopter delivery system under final development

12 Summary and Conclusions Two new treating agent technologies – new dispersant and herding agents – have been developed which could enhance oil spill response capabilities New dispersant −Treated light-to-medium oils with 2/3 less dispersant than a currently available product −Dispersed viscous oils that were previously considered un- dispersible Herding Agents −Potential to enable in situ burning in both ice conditions and open water without the need for fire-resistant booms −May turn an infrequently used response option into a readily available tool because it can be applied rapidly from helicopters

13 Questions Slide 13

14 Background on Dispersants Dispersants Enhance Removal of Oil from the Environment Through Biodegradation


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