Abstract

Oil spills have been identified as a common consequence of the exploration and production of petroleum resources. This is likely to increase with the continuous rise in demand for petroleum and petroleum products. The Clair oilfield holds the largest undeveloped hydrocarbon accumulation in the United Kingdom Continental Shelf (UKCS), indicating its importance to the future of UK production strategy. Significant developments made in oil spill modelling in the last twenty years suggest the need for an updated study on the behaviour of a Clair oil spill. This study aims to design an updated stochastic model for oil spill prediction in the Clair Oilfield in order to provide an understanding of the trajectory, fate and uncertainties of spilled oil at varying environmental conditions. The GNOME software was employed to model the oil spill trajectory in the Faroe-Shetland Channel (FSC) and ADIOS2 for modelling the Clair oil spill weathering processes. "Minimum regret" analysis suggests that spills allowed to persist will cross the Norway/UK boundary line and move further towards the Norwegian coastline. Furthermore, there is the possibility of oil beaching along the coast of the Shetland Island if the oil spill occurs. The weathering models revealed that evaporation will account for about 15% of the oil lost in both summer and winter while dispersion will account for 15% and 30% of the oil lost in summer and winter respectively. Within the 5-day scenario considered the Clair oil forms a meso-stable emulsion resulting in a 100 times increase in the viscosity of the oil and a slight increase in density. Furthermore, airborne benzene concentration evaporated within 15 hours and 6 hours in summer and winter respectively. The results obtained in this study suggest that equipment should be stockpiled as well as mechanical responders for near shore intervention to prevent and tackle possible beaching along the Shetland island coast and the Norwegian coast.

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