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Manual Petroleum in the Marine Environment

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It is significant that sediment samples had a lower adsorption capacity when using a sophorolipid as a biosurfactant, rather than a rhamnolipid. Understanding the adsorption of DPHs onto sediment under sophorolipid application will broaden the understanding of heavy oil transport mechanisms and will provide a theoretical basis for remediation of areas with serious oil pollution. The article was received on 05 Jul , accepted on 18 Sep and first published on 26 Sep Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material and it is not used for commercial purposes.

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Register for a free account to start saving and receiving special member only perks. The risk of an oil spill in the Arctic presents hazards for Arctic nations and their neighbors. Rapid climate change is leading to retreat and thinning of Arctic sea ice, potentially increasing the accessibility of U.

Petroleum biodegradation in marine environments.

Arctic marine waters for commercial activities. With this projected rise in activity come additional concerns about the risk of oil spills. Recent interest in developing the rich oil and gas resources in federal waters offshore of Alaska has led to planning, environmental assessments, and preliminary drilling for oil and gas exploration. The committee was tasked to review research activities and recommend strategies to advance research and address information gaps, to identify opportunities and constraints for advancing oil spill research, to describe promising new concepts and technologies,.

Arctic oil spill response is challenging because of extreme weather and environmental conditions; the lack of existing or sustained communications, logistical, and information infrastructure; significant geographic distances; and vulnerability of Arctic species, ecosystems, and cultures. A fundamental understanding of the dynamic Arctic region Figures S. Information on physical processes—including ocean. Figure S. The red box shows the location of the inset map in Figure S. Bathymetry, geopolitical boundaries, capitals, and select Alaskan cities are also shown.

Geopolitical boundaries, principal coastal communities, cities, and bathymetry are also shown. Map area corresponds to the red box in Figure S. Parameters such as air and water temperature, wind velocity, and hours of daylight are important considerations in choosing an effective and safe response strategy. Knowledge of ice thickness, concentration, and extent is essential for anticipating the likely behavior of oil in, under, and on ice and determining applicable response strategies, while high-quality bathymetry, nautical charting, and shoreline mapping data are needed for marine traffic management and oil spill response.

From a biological perspective, understanding population dynamics and interconnections within the Arctic food web will enable the determination of key species that are most important for monitoring in the instance of an oil spill. Baseline data are critical to assess changes over time.

In the Arctic, historical data do not provide reliable baselines to assess current environmental or ecosystem states, nor can they fully anticipate potential impacts due to factors such as seasonal and interannual variations or climate change. Instead, monitoring approaches will need to take advantage of benchmarks, or reference points over time, rather than static baselines. Critical types of benchmark data for oil spill response in the Arctic include:. Additional research and development needs include meteorological-ocean-ice forecast model systems at high temporal and spatial resolutions and better assimilation of traditional knowledge of sea state and ice behavior into forecasting models.

Petroleum in the Marine Environment

Releasing proprietary monitoring data from exploration activities would increase knowledge of Arctic benchmark conditions. When appropriate, Arctic communities could also release data that they hold regarding important sites for fishing, hunting, and cultural activities.

In many instances, frequent and regular long-term monitoring will be needed to determine trends. Because data are or will be collected by a number of local, state, and federal agencies, as well as industry and academia, a complete information system that integrates Arctic data in support of oil spill preparedness, response, and restoration and rehabilitation is needed. Achieving this goal requires the development of international standards for Arctic data collection, sharing, and integration.

A long-term, community-based, multiuse Arctic observing system could provide critical data at a variety of scales. Recommendation: A real-time Arctic oceanographic-ice-meteorological forecasting system is needed to account for variations in sea ice coverage and thickness and should include patterns of ice movement, ice type, sea state, ocean stratification and circulation, storm surge, and improved resolution in areas of potential risk.

Such a system requires robust, sustainable, and effective acquisition of relevant observational data. Recommendation: High-resolution satellite and airborne imagery needs to be coupled with up-to-date high-resolution digital elevation models and updated regularly to capture the dynamic, rapidly changing U. Arctic coastline. Nearshore bathymetry and topography should be collected at a scale appropriate for accurate modeling of coastline vulnerability and storm surge sensitivity. Geological Survey plans should be adequately resourced, so that mapping efforts can be initiated, continued, and completed in timescales.

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To be effective, Arctic mapping priorities should continue to be developed in consultation with stakeholders and industry and should be implemented systematically rather than through surveys of opportunity. A comprehensive, collaborative, long-term Arctic oil spill research and development program that integrates all knowledgeable sectors and focuses on oil behavior, response technologies, and controlled field releases is needed.

Laboratory experiments, field research, and practical experience gained from responding to past oil spills have built a strong body of knowledge on oil properties and oil spill response techniques. However, much of the work has been done for temperate regions, and there are areas where additional research is needed to make informed decisions about the most effective response strategies for different Arctic situations. In the presence of lower water temperatures or sea ice, the processes that control oil weathering—such as spreading, evaporation, photo-oxidation, emulsification, and natural dispersion—are slowed down or eliminated for extended periods of time.

Because of encapsulation of oil by new ice growth, oil can also be separated from the environment for months at a time. Understanding how oil behaves or changes in the Arctic environment can help define the most effective oil spill response actions. In addition to ongoing research on oil properties and weathering in high latitudes, there is a need to validate current and emerging oil spill response technologies on operational scales under realistic environmental conditions.

Carefully planned and controlled field releases of oil in the U. Arctic would improve the understanding of oil behavior in the Bering Strait and Beaufort and Chukchi Seas and allow for the evaluation of new response strategies specific to the region. Scientific field releases that have been conducted elsewhere in the Arctic demonstrate that such studies can be carried out without measureable harm to the environment. Recommendation: A comprehensive, collaborative, long-term Arctic oil spill research and development program needs to be established.

The program should focus on understanding oil spill behavior in the Arctic marine environment, including the relationship between oil and sea ice formation, transport, and fate.

It should include assessment of oil spill response technologies and logistics, improvements to forecasting models and associated data needs, and controlled field releases under realistic conditions for research purposes. Industry, academic, government, non-governmental, grassroots, and international efforts should be integrated into the program, with a focus on peer review and transparency. An interagency permit approval process that will enable researchers to plan and execute deliberate releases in U. Key response countermeasures and tools for oil removal in Arctic conditions include biodegradation including oil treated with dispersants , in situ burning, chemical herders, mechanical containment and recovery, detection and tracking, and oil spill trajectory modeling.

No single technique will apply in all situations. The oil spill response toolbox requires flexibility to evaluate and apply multiple response options, if necessary. Well-defined and well-tested decision processes are critical to expedite review and approval of countermeasure options in emergency situations. Biodegradation of petroleum hydrocarbons by naturally occurring microbial communities is a major process contributing to the eventual removal of oil that enters the marine environment.

Recent studies suggest that indigenous bacteria in Arctic waters degrade oil faster than previously thought and that biodegradation is not strongly inhibited by cold water temperatures. Current research is focused on better understanding of this environmentally important process. Chemical dispersants facilitate the dilution of oil in the water column and promote biodegradation. There has been considerable debate over the effectiveness of chemical dispersants at low seawater temperatures, but recent studies have shown that dispersants can be effective on nonemulsified oil at freezing temperatures if viscosity does not increase significantly.

Subsea injection of dispersant is a promising option for mitigation of oil spills from a wellhead blowout and could disperse oil at higher rates and with higher efficiency than aerial application. Subsea injection can also operate independently of darkness, extreme temperatures, strong winds, rough seas, or the presence of ice. However, more work needs to be done on the effectiveness, systems design, and short- and long-term impacts of subsea dispersant delivery. Recommendation: Dispersant pre-authorization in Alaska should be based on sound science, including research on fates and effects of chemically dispersed oil in the Arctic environment, experiments using oils that are representative of those in the Arctic, toxicity tests of chemically dispersed oil at realistic concentrations and exposures, and the use of representative microbial and lower-trophic benthic and pelagic Arctic species at appropriate temperatures and salinities.

In situ burning is a viable spill response countermeasure in the Arctic. Ice can often provide a natural barrier to maintain the necessary oil thicknesses for ignition, without the need for booms. However, in very open drift ice conditions, oil spills can rapidly spread too thinly to ignite. To improve the limits of. Mechanical containment and recovery removes oil from the marine environment, rather than adding chemicals or generating burn residue. However, when dealing with large offshore spills, the oil can quickly spread to a thin sheen, which makes it difficult to achieve a significant rate of recovery.

Large quantities of containment boom and hundreds of vessels and skimmers are needed to concentrate thin, rapidly spreading oil slicks. The lack of approved disposal sites on land for contaminated water and waste, lack of port facilities to accept deep-draft vessels, and limited airlift capability to remote communities complicates the large-scale use of mechanical containment and recovery to respond to Arctic spills. Mechanical recovery can provide a viable option for small, contained spills in pack ice, or for larger spills under fast ice.


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Arctic-relevant mechanical recovery improvements include cold temperature operability and independent propulsion; however, response to a large offshore spill in the U. Arctic is unlikely to rely only upon mechanical containment and recovery because of its inefficiency.

To mount an effective response, it is critical to know where spilled oil is at any given time. Over the past decade, several large government and industry programs have evaluated the variety of rapidly developing remote sensing technologies used for detection, including sonar, synthetic aperture radar, infrared, and ground-penetrating radar. In addition, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles and autonomous underwater vehicles for oil detection and tracking has grown.

However, there will always be a need for aerial observers to map oiled areas and transmit critical information to response crews. Detection methods work hand-in-hand with advanced oil spill trajectory modeling to understand where oil is moving. Promising advances in modeling have accounted for the incorporation of oil into brine channels as well as the bulk freezing of oil into ice, although better modeling of under-ice roughness is still needed. Investment in detection and response strategies for oil on, within, and trapped under ice will be necessary for contingency planning.

In addition, robust operational meteorological-ocean-ice and oil spill trajectory forecasting models for the U. Arctic would further improve oil spill response efforts. Arctic oil spill research and development needs for improved decision support include:. Recommendation: Priorities for oil spill research should leverage existing joint agreements and be addressed through a comprehensive, coordinated effort that links industry, government, academia, international and local experts, and non-governmental organizations. The Interagency Coordinating Committee on Oil Pollution Research, which is tasked to coordinate oil spill research and development among agencies and other partners, should lead the effort.

Marine activities in U.

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What is an Oil Spill at Sea?

Arctic waters are increasing without a commensurate increase in the logistics and infrastructure needed to conduct these activities safely. As oil and gas, shipping, and tourism activities increase, the U. Coast Guard will need an enhanced presence and performance capacity in the Arctic.

Recommendation: As oil and gas, shipping, and tourism activities increase, the USCG will need an enhanced presence and performance capacity in the Arctic, including area-specific training, icebreaking capability, improved availability of vessels for responding to oil spills or other emergency situations, and aircraft and helicopter support facilities for the open water season and eventually year round.

Environment Pollution Oil Spill

Furthermore, Arctic assignments for trained and experienced personnel and tribal liaisons should be of longer duration, to take full advantage of their skills. Sustained funding will be needed to increase the USCG presence in the Arctic and to strengthen and expand its ongoing Arctic oil spill research programs. Vessel traffic is not actively managed in the Bering Strait or in the U. Arctic, nor is there a comprehensive system for real-time traffic monitoring.

The lack of a U. Private receivers are used to track vessels in the Bering Strait and along a large part of Alaskan coastal areas, but there are significant gaps in coverage. Recommendation: The USCG should expedite its evaluation of traffic through the Bering Strait to determine if vessel traffic monitoring systems, including an internationally recognized traffic separation scheme, are warranted. If so, this should be coordinated with Russia.

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The USCG should also consider obtaining broader satellite monitoring of Automatic Identification System signals in the Arctic through government means or from private providers. The lack of infrastructure in the Arctic would be a significant liability in the event of a large oil spill. Communities are dependent on air and seasonal marine transport for the movement of people, goods, and services, and there are few equipment caches with boom, dispersants, and in situ burn materials available for the North Slope and Northwest Arctic Boroughs.

It is unlikely that responders could quickly react to an oil spill unless there were improved port and air access, stronger supply chains, and increased capacity to handle equipment, supplies, and personnel.