Results from Minerals Management Service Funded Oil Spill Response Research 1991-1993

by Edward J. Tennyson, Minerals Management Service, Herndon, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '93


Large oil spills from tankers have reaffirmed the need for continuing technology assessment and research to improve oil spill response capabilities. This paper discusses Minerals Management Service (MMS) concerns, as reinforced by the acceleration of its research program in 1990. It briefly describes research results for several major aspects of spill response, including remote sensing, open-ocean containment and recovery, in situ burning, use of chemical treating agents, beachline cleanup, and oil behavior. Results of specific research projects that have begun to yield information that will improve detection and at-sea equipment performance are emphasized. Current research projects, including the development of an airborne base fluorosensor, which determines whether apparent slicks contain oil, are also discussed. Additional projects involve the development of improved strategies for responding to an oil spill in the marine environment, for gaining an improved understanding of the fate and behavior of spilled oil as it affects response strategies, and for defining the capabilities of available dispersants and development of improved formulations. Recent progress on the development of safe and environmentally acceptable procedures to burn spilled oil in situ is also discussed. The Ohmsett facility has been reopened and is necessary for testing prospective improvements in chemical treating agents, remote sensing and for the development of standard procedures for testing and evaluating response equipment.

Subject Headings: Hazardous materials spills | Minerals | Remote sensing | Chemical properties | Aging (material) | Field tests | Chemical treatment | Environmental issues

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