Results from hundreds of studies, laboratory and basin experiments and field trials conducted worldwide over the past 50 years, in particular in the United States, Canada and Scandinavia, show that the industry has a wide range of viable technologies, beyond mechanical recovery, for oil spill response in the presence of ice in open water. To continue to build on this existing research and improve the technologies and methodologies for Arctic oil spill response, nine international oil and gas companies (BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Eni, ExxonMobil, North Caspian Operating Company, Shell, Statoil, and Total) are working collaboratively in the Arctic Oil Spill Response Technology - Joint Industry Programme (JIP).
The JIP has brought together the world’s foremost experts on oil spill response research, development, and operations from across industry, academia, and independent research centres to undertake the technical work and scientific studies. The core areas of research are: dispersants, environmental effects, trajectory modelling, remote sensing, mechanical recovery, and in situ burning (ISB) in Arctic and ice-prone regions. Significant work is committed to developing a robust information database that will support the use of Net Environmental Benefit Analysis for response decision-making and environmental impact assessments related to the Arctic environment.
Phase one of the JIP is complete and seventeen research reports dedicated to literature and state-of-theart reviews are available on the JIP website (www.arcticresponsetechnology.org). This initial phase identified specifically targeted research projects to improve industry capabilities and coordination in the area of Arctic oil spill response. Phase two activities actively underway include dispersant effectiveness testing; modelling the fate of dispersed oil in ice; assessing the environmental effects of an Arctic oil spill; advancing oil spill trajectory modelling capabilities in ice; extending the capability to detect and map oil in darkness, low visibility, in and under ice; and expanding the ‘window of opportunity’ for ISB response operations. The JIP is committed to sharing information with the public on the progress and results of its projects with the objective of improving Arctic spill response capabilities.