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OSRR-563-Understanding the Effects of Time and Energy on the Effectiveness of Dispersants

Office/Division Program
Project Number
Research Initiation Date (Award Date)
Research Performing Activity
SINTEF Materials and Chemistry
Research Principal Investigator
Dr. Per Daling
Research Contracting Agency

This international joint research project is designed to gather data to support decision makers in the process of determining whether dispersants should be used in low energy environments. This information will be useful for dispersant decision making in ice cover (an ice field reduces wave motion) or other calm conditions. Questions to be addressed are: Will the dispersant stay with the oil until there is enough energy to disperse the slick?
How much energy is needed to disperse the slick after dispersants are applied?
If energy is provided to facilitate dispersion, will the droplets stay in the water column after mixing or will they resurface?

This project currently has nine partners: ExxonMobil, Total, Statoil, US MMS, OSRL, Alaska Clean Seas, Sakhalin Energy Investment Company (Shell operated), Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Texas General Land Office. Participants can contribute funds directly or in-kind work.

Latest progress update

Presently we are working on Task 1 of this project, laboratory scale dispersant effectiveness tests performed by SINTEF using IFP testing procedures. In these tests we are evaluating four commercial dispersants by applying them to four different oils (a napthenic oil, an asphaltenic oil, a waxy oil and a paraffinic oil), letting them soak for several hours up to several days, and then running the IFP test to measure dispersion effectiveness. Additional tasks for this project include Tasks 2/3 -- develop a numerical model to predict the energy needed to shear dispersed oil droplets from a slick and energy needed to keep a dispersed oil droplet in the water column; Task 4 -- validate the numerical model using tank tests. The completion of these additional tasks will depend on the willingness of the partners to provide additional funding because Task 1 will completely consume our current budget.

Dispersant testing was completed at SINTEF and CEDRE using the IFP tests. The project Steering Committee approved a change to Task 3 and extended the contact time of the ice tests to 1.5 months.

The Steering Committee has approved the final report. This project is complete.