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 Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter June 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Offshore

Migrants Survivors Tell of Struggle at Sea

The bodies of 21 women and one man were brought ashore to Sicily on Friday as fellow migrants described scenes of panic and violence when water poured into their dinghy.

Three Keppel Dredgers for Jan De Nul

Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd (Keppel O&M)'s wholly owned subsidiary Keppel Singmarine Pte Ltd (Keppel Singmarine) has secured contracts from Jan De Nul Group to

Seacat Services Sends Freedom to Race Bank

Seacat Freedom, the latest addition to Seacat Services’ 12-strong fleet, has been dispatched to DONG Energy’s Race Bank offshore wind project following the boat’s

Energy

Ithaca’s FPF-1 platform to be moved to Stella field

Ithaca Energy Inc. reports that the "FPF-1" floating production facility has completed the required inclination test as planned and departed the Remontowa shipyard in Gdansk, Poland.

Libya's PFG to Lift Terminal Blockades

Petroleum Facilities Guard has blocked terminals for months. Ras Lanuf, Es Sider terminals damaged by fighting. Libya's Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) will

Unipec: U.S. ANS Destined for Sinopec

Arbitrage opens after ANS discount widen on ample supplies. Unipec, the trading arm of top Asian refiner Sinopec, has bought two U.S. crude cargoes, including

News

Kerry to Press ASEAN meeting for talks on SCS Disputes

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will urge Southeast Asian nations in meetings in Laos next week to find diplomatic ways to launch talks with China on easing

US Navy Tests Latest Aegis Weapon System

The U.S. Navy conducted a series of cooperative air defense test exercises with the Spanish navy that culminated in live missile firing events using the latest Aegis Weapon System baseline July 20-21.

Pathogenic bacteria hitchhiking to North and Baltic Seas?

For the first time, AWI scientists have found evidence of living, potentially pathogenic vibrions on microplastic particles. With increasing water temperatures

Offshore Energy

Ithaca’s FPF-1 platform to be moved to Stella field

Ithaca Energy Inc. reports that the "FPF-1" floating production facility has completed the required inclination test as planned and departed the Remontowa shipyard in Gdansk, Poland.

Boskalis Awarded Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm Contract

Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis) has been awarded the Offshore Balance of Plant contract by Vattenfall for the construction of Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm,

Drydocks World Conforms to FPC under EU Regulation

Drydocks World, the international service provider to the shipping, offshore, oil, gas and energy sectors has successfully been certified to European Standards EN 1090 – 1 and EN 1090-2.

 
 
Maritime Security Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | 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: 0.0972 sec (10 req/sec)