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TAP-120-Physical Behavior of Oil in the Ocean

Project Number
Project Initiation Date
Performing Activity
Emergencies Science Division, Environment Canada
Principal Investigator
Mr. Merv F. Fingas
Contracting Agency

This is a Joint Industry Project (JIP) between MMS and Environment Canada to study oil behavior and oil properties, particularly those of heavy oils. The study includes: buoyancy behavior, solubility, evaporation, dispersion, photo-oxidation, and emulsification. Several information gaps were identified on the behavior of oils where more experimental work is needed: 1) the kinetics of oil emulsification; 2) the rate of solubilization; and 3) the rate of dispersion. Experiments will be conducted to study these processes in context with the typical environmental variables of temperature, wind speed, sea state, and oil type. This study initially focused on heavy oils similar to those in the Pacific and Canadian Outer Continental Shelf Regions, it was expanded to include other domestically produced oils and oils which are shipped in large quantities through the OCS.

The physical and chemical properties of oils from a number of crude oils from deepwater Gulf of Mexico have been analyzed and have been entered in the Crude Oils and Oil Products. This new version of the oil properties catalog contains information on more than 450 different types of oils was put on the Internet. The Internet site is very successful with as many as 1,000 hits per week. Work continues on the BOSS (Behavior of Spilled OilS) project. The final version of oil-in-ice behavior is complete and has been distributed. Work is almost complete on the emulsification and solubility chapters. The Basics of Oil Spills book is complete and been printed. The book is available for purchase via the Internet. The Oil Catalog can be found at Environment Canada's Internet website at