Abstract

In recent years the increasing hydrocarbon demand and at the same time the end of easy oil has pushed Oil and Gas companies towards unconventional deposits and higher risk and remote areas characterized by social and environmental sensitivities.

Although the experience in developing the Arctic region dates back to the early 20th century, there has been recently an increased and renewed global interest in the Arctic. In particular regions like the Norwegian-Russian Barents Sea, Alaska and Greenland have become the preferred areas of exploration and production activities despite of all the threats posed by the extreme operating conditions, the site remoteness, the ice presence, the prolonged darkness and the political regulation.

In this sensitive and hostile environment Oil spill Preparedness and Emergency Response become particularly challenging. This paper shows the efforts made within the company to combine consolidated methodology and new initiatives with the aim of delivering a proactive instead of reactive approach to manage the consequences of catastrophic oil spill with a special focus on the issues posed by Arctic operations.

In the perspective to enhance the oil spill preparedness and the emergency response, the paper describes the synergy between an expeditive semi-quantitative approach to assess the risk of blow out and releases from pipelines with an environmental analysis tool included in the company 3Ter Advanced Emergency System.

Blow out risks and pipeline releases are studied through predictive company in house modeling tools. The results of such simulations feed the environmental analysis tool that is characterized by different layers i.e. habitats, marine regions and protected areas and additional information such as meteo marine data, bathymetry and thickness and concentration of oil.

Through the combination of all the above mentioned techniques, it is possible to identify the most appropriate preventive and recovery barriers and select the most suitable response tactics taking into account the specific challenges posed by Arctic environment.

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