Study: An Arctic Oil Well Blowout Could Spread More Than 1,000km

Posted by Eric Haun
Friday, July 25, 2014

Oil from a spill or oil well blowout in the Arctic waters of Canada's Beaufort Sea could easily become trapped in sea ice and potentially spread more than 1,000 kilometres to the west coast of Alaska, a World Wildlife Fund study showed on Friday.

The WWF contracted RPS Applied Science Associates to model 22 different oil spill scenarios and map the spread of the oil, potential impact on the water and shoreline, and interaction with sea ice, wildlife and the surrounding ecology.

Types of oil spills analyzed included shipping spills, shallow-water blowouts and deep-water blowouts. The BP Plc Macondo oil well rupture in 2010 that unleashed more than four million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico was a deep-water blowout.

The remote Beaufort Sea is a section of the Arctic Ocean that spans the Canada-U.S. border. It comprises about 476,000 square kilometres (184,000 square miles) off the northern coasts of Alaska, and Canada's Yukon and Northwest territories, and until recently was packed with sea ice even in summer.

But as the Arctic gets warmer and the ice retreats, shipping lanes have opened up and oil companies are hungrily eyeing the 90 billion barrels of oil equivalent reserves that the U.S. Geological Survey estimates lie beneath the Arctic Ocean, amounting to almost three years of global demand.

Conoco Phillips and Statoil both have Arctic exploration programs but hazards in the inhospitable region are high. Royal Dutch Shell has not resumed its Arctic drilling program since a drilling rig ran aground in the Gulf of Alaska in 2012.

"Development in the Arctic is fraught with risks, and drilling for oil in the Beaufort Sea is exceptionally risky, especially in deep waters," said David Miller, president and chief execuive of WWF-Canada.

"This work will help ensure that we all can see how even minor spills can have major impacts, and that these potential consequences are fully considered in planning decisions."

(Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Peter Galloway)

Maritime Reporter March 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Energy

United States Submits Formal Plan for Paris Climate Talks

The United States on Tuesday formally submitted its climate change strategy to the United Nations, outlining domestic measures it is taking to achieve up to a 28

India Halts Iran oil Imports Under U.S. Pressure

Oil imports from Iran at 220,000 bpd in year to March 31. U.S. pressured India not to raise annual Iran oil imports. India halted oil imports from Iran for the

BP Terminates GoM Rig Contracts

BP terminated contracts for two deepwater oil drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico as the British oil company slashes its exploration budget due to fallen oil prices.

News

United States Submits Formal Plan for Paris Climate Talks

The United States on Tuesday formally submitted its climate change strategy to the United Nations, outlining domestic measures it is taking to achieve up to a 28

Direct Le Havre to Charleston LCL Import Service

CaroTrans has announced the addition of an expedited Le Havre, France to Charleston LCL import service.    This is the only direct, weekly Le Havre to Charleston LCL service available in the market.

DryShips to Sell its Suezmax Tanker Fleet

DryShips Inc. (NASDAQ: DRYS), has announced  that it has entered into firm sales agreements with entities controlled by the Company's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer,

Arctic Operations

Rolls-Royce Propulsion Package for Polar Ship

Rolls-Royce has been awarded a contract by ship builder Fincantieri to supply a fully integrated propulsion system for Norway’s new Polar Research Vessel, which

USA Urged Not to Delay Arctic Drilling

The U.S. should immediately begin a push to exploit its enormous trove of oil in the Arctic waters off of Alaska, or risk a renewed reliance on imported oil in the future, reports AP.

Nations Convene for Arctic Maritime Discussion

Citing an increasing need to ensure safety, security and stewardship of Arctic waters, member countries of the Arctic Council gathered at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters

Offshore Energy

Japan, U.S. Look to Expand Naval Cooperation

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push to allow Tokyo to come to the aid of an ally under attack will pave the way for closer cooperation between U.S. and Japanese forces across Asia, a top U.

BP Terminates GoM Rig Contracts

BP terminated contracts for two deepwater oil drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico as the British oil company slashes its exploration budget due to fallen oil prices.

MacGregor Appoints Høyesen as VP

MacGregor reorganized into seven operative divisions in the beginning of 2015 to improve customer focus.   Offshore Mooring and Loading Division drives the development

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1280 sec (8 req/sec)