Waxy and high API oil presents some singularities in its behavior during a spill. This type of oil may show favorable properties in a spill such as low possibility of sinking and low emulsification tendency. On the other hand, due to the high pour point, it assumes a gel consistency during a spill in areas which environment temperature is near or below pour point. Its high viscosity, high interfacial tension and low evaporation rate present a strong influence on spill behavior, resulting in processes such as: recovery difficulties, once the oil may not flow towards skimmers or down inclined surfaces in skimmers, low spreading and resistance to dispersion, making the oil persistent on sea. Due to this behavior, traditional response equipment usually considered in emergency response plans shows skimming and pumping limited efficiency when used in waxy oils and might not be ideally suitable. Specific machinery for collection and recovery of this type of oil may be required.
This paper aims to provide a better definition of the window of opportunities for countermeasures and effective emergency response resources applicable to waxy oil spill scenario.
The method presented on this paper is divided into the following steps:
Discussion of the oil characteristics and its behavior at sea;
Case studies regarding oil spills occurred with oil below pour point and response strategies employed;
Identification of the range of equipment applicable to waxy oil spills, key manufacturers visiting and literature search on reliable data banks, in order to obtain information on traditional and cutting edge technologies applicable to oil spill response;
Analysis of traditional and innovative equipment identified discussing pros and cons.
Due to the development of environmental awareness, evolution of legislation, and increase of offshore activities, new oil spill response strategies and devices are available and continuously being developed.
In order to compare and identify best possible alternatives, there were considered information available in equipment technical information and in case studies.
Finally, this study will address:
Identification of equipment and strategy applicable to waxy oil spill response;
Evaluation of techniques effectively applied to waxy oil spill response
Present innovative solutions.