Intercomparison of oil spill prediction models for accidental blowout scenarios with and without subsea chemical dispersant injection

Scott A. Socolofsky, E. Eric Adams, Michel C. Boufadel, Zachary M. Aman, Øistein Johansen, Wolfgang J. Konkel, David Lindo, Mads N. Madsen, Elizabeth W. North, Claire B Paris-Limouzy, Dorte Rasmussen, Mark Reed, Petter Rønningen, Lawrence H. Sim, Thomas Uhrenholdt, Karl G. Anderson, Cortis Cooper, Tim J. Nedwed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Scopus citations

Abstract

We compare oil spill model predictions for a prototype subsea blowout with and without subsea injection of chemical dispersants in deep and shallow water, for high and low gas-oil ratio, and in weak to strong crossflows. Model results are compared for initial oil droplet size distribution, the nearfield plume, and the farfield Lagrangian particle tracking stage of hydrocarbon transport. For the conditions tested (a blowout with oil flow rate of 20,000 bbl/d, about 1/3 of the Deepwater Horizon), the models predict the volume median droplet diameter at the source to range from 0.3 to 6. mm without dispersant and 0.01 to 0.8. mm with dispersant. This reduced droplet size owing to reduced interfacial tension results in a one to two order of magnitude increase in the downstream displacement of the initial oil surfacing zone and may lead to a significant fraction of the spilled oil not reaching the sea surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-126
Number of pages17
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume96
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 15 2015

Keywords

  • Chemical dispersant
  • Droplet size distribution
  • Lagrangian particle tracking
  • Model prediction
  • Multiphase plume
  • Subsea blowout

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Oceanography
  • Pollution

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    Socolofsky, S. A., Adams, E. E., Boufadel, M. C., Aman, Z. M., Johansen, Ø., Konkel, W. J., Lindo, D., Madsen, M. N., North, E. W., Paris-Limouzy, C. B., Rasmussen, D., Reed, M., Rønningen, P., Sim, L. H., Uhrenholdt, T., Anderson, K. G., Cooper, C., & Nedwed, T. J. (2015). Intercomparison of oil spill prediction models for accidental blowout scenarios with and without subsea chemical dispersant injection. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 96(1-2), 110-126. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.05.039