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Oil Pollution in the Arctic: Risks and Mitigating Measures With Reference to the Deepwater Horizon Accident

[+] Author Affiliations
C. A. Willemse, P. H. A. J. M. van Gelder

Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands

Paper No. OMAE2011-49157, pp. 881-886; 6 pages
  • ASME 2011 30th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering
  • Volume 1: Offshore Technology; Polar and Arctic Sciences and Technology
  • Rotterdam, The Netherlands, June 19–24, 2011
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4433-5
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


The accident with the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico has caused great concern, both in the offshore industry and in society in general. The response to the accident indicated that no clear emergency plan was in place and that many attempts at mitigation of the oil spill were improvised whilst the oil was already leaking. As a result it took several months to kill the well and stop the oil spill, causing the Deepwater Horizon to be one of the most severe environmental disasters in the history of offshore drilling. This paper analyses the probability that a similar accident could happen in the arctic region, taking into account the various steps and elements of the offshore drilling process. The measures to kill the subsequent oil flow and to contain the oil spill are addressed in the context of the complex arctic drilling challenges. Finally the paper estimates how the mitigation measures could reduce the probability of a spill.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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