PROBABLE BEHAVIOUR AND FATE OF A WINTER OIL SPILL IN THE BEAUFORT SEA. TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT REPORT

With increasing levels of offshore petroleum exploration in the Beaufort Sea, there is an urgent need to be able to define the behaviour and fate of a major winter oil spill. Much of the drilling activity centers on the area of dynamic ice called the transition zone, between the 20 and 100-m water contours. This report combines data from a 4-months winter field study of ice conditions, with other sources such as AIDJEX and satellite photography. The resulting statistical description of ice conditions in the Beaufort Sea is then used to generate a model of oil disposition under a moving ice sheet in the event of an oil blowout. Major areas for future study are identified as oil migration in multi-year ice, the effects of gas on oil behaviour and hourly ice drift rates. Realistic spring oil migration rates through the ice sheet are applied to a typical set of ice conditions and a rough mass balance estimate is made of oil remaining at the end of the first summer. Oil films are generally thin (less than 0.5 cm). Based on available ice drift information, less than 15% of the contaminated area could be partially cleaned by burning. Evaporation would account for between 35 and 55% of the oil. By September it is estimated that about 30 to 50% of the original oil volume would remain on the water, ice or shore. (Author)

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Sponsored by Environment Canada, Environmental Protection Service, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H3, Canada.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Environment Canada

    Environmental Protection Service
    Ottawa, Ontario  Canada  K1A 1C8
  • Publication Date: 1977

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: 111 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00183734
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Arctic Science and Technology Information System
  • Report/Paper Numbers: EPS-4-EC-77-5
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 12 1978 12:00AM