El Paso Óleo e Gás do Brasil Ltda. intends to develop Pinaúna Field, a crude production project, in northeast Brazil shallow waters. Crude to be produced has high pour point and wax appearance temperature due to its high paraffin content. Considering Pinaúna Field location and oil characteristics, understanding the oil behavior on seawater and its associated environmental risks is essential.

In order to properly assess these risks, focusing on Pinaúna oil characteristics and the crude properties over time after a spill, El Paso performed a few experiments to verify waxy oil behavior into seawater and response to weathering. These tests included quantitative physical properties evaluation and qualitative observations of oil spilled into seawater.

They indicated that Pinaúna’s crude oil would not behave as typical oil when in contact with seawater below pour point temperature. It is most likely that the oil would behave as a ―solid‖ rather than liquid, including very low solubility in seawater.

These results consist in really important information for the company, not only because it helped the company to more accurately understand the risks to the environment in case of oil spill, but also will help to develop the spill response plan strategies and equipment more adequate to this type of oil.

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