PRIMARY, PHYSICAL IMPACTS OF OFFSHORE PETROLEUM DEVELOPMENTS: REPORT TO COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

This compilation of four studies on the initial physical effects of offshore oil development was commissioned by the Council on Environmental Quality as part of its studies on oil exploration and drilling on the Atlantic and Alaskan continental shelves. I. Simulation of Hypothetical Offshore Petroleum Developments. A computer program, the Offshore Development Model, determines for a range of potential oil and gas finds the investors' development strategy, oil and gas production through time, number of platforms, amount of drilling activity, and amount of oil and gas transport by pipeline or tanker. The computer model also estimates the landed cost of the oil and gas to the nation, investor profits, and lease, royalty, and tax payments. II. Analysis of Oil Spill Statistics. Based on records of past oil spills, the likelihood of numbers and sizes of individual spills is estimated by a Bayesian technique for a range of hypothetical offshore petroleum developments on the Atlantic and Gulf of Alaska continental shelves. Spills from towers, pipelines, tankers, and single buoy moorings are analyzed separately allowing identification of the high spillage associated with any particular mix of these elements in a development. III. Oil Spill Trajectory Studies for Atlantic Coast and Gulf of Alaska. The probable behavior of oil spill trajectories is analyzed for spills which could originate from the 13 potential Atlantic continental shelf production regions, the 9 possible production areas in the Gulf of Alaska, and 3 potential East Coast nearshore terminal sites. Analyses emphasize the probability of a spill coming ashore, the time to shore, and for terminal sites, wind conditions when the spill first reaches shore. IV. The Role of Mass Transport in Oil Slick Weathering. Evaporation and dissolution of soluble hydrocarbon compounds from a weathering oil slick are modeled for a range of spill thicknesses. Wave effects and sedimentation are ignored. The lighter compounds such as benzene are rapidly dispersed by evaporation, but biologically significant concentrations can be induced in the water below the slick. Areas for further study are identified.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Sea Grant Program, 77 Massachusetts Avenue
    Cambridge, MA  USA  02139
  • Authors:
    • Devanney III, J W
    • Lassiter III, J B
  • Publication Date: 1974-4

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00057122
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Report/Paper Numbers: MITSG 74-20
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 31 1974 12:00AM