This paper describes an empirical laboratory procedure to obtain information about the different tendencies of six North Sea crude oils to form stable and highly viscous water-in-oil emulsions. Very different behavioural patterns were observed between the oils tested and the implications of these differences on the appropriate choice of response strategies are discussed. In particular the effectiveness of dispersant application to the surface slick and the persistence of the slicks are considered in relationship to the different behaviour patterns observed.

No reliable correlations were evident between the behaviour of the crude oils and their pour points, asphaltene or wax contents. Hence the importance was highlighted in obtaining this sort of laboratory data to assist making decisions on the appropriate response strategies following an oil spill incident

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