Analysis of oil spill strategies in the Canadian Beaufort Sea
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The objective of this study is to apply historical data on ice concentration, temperature, sea level, salinity and wind speed to an evaluation of the effectiveness of oil spill responses in various seasons and regions. Keeping operations safe on ice is critical to Arctic exploration and production. Specialized construction techniques and engineering designs are required for the harsh environment in the Arctic. Factors that trigger marine oil spills include accidents involving oil transportation vessels carrying large quantities of fuel oil, releases from on-land storage tanks or pipelines that travel to water, acute or slow releases from subsea pipelines and hydrocarbon well blowouts during subsea exploration or production. In addition, dynamic ice cover, low temperatures, reduced visibility or darkness, high winds and extreme storms increase the probability of a marine oil spill. The Arctic remains among the harshest, coldest and most remote places elevating both the risk of spills and their potential impact. In order to identify effective oil spill strategies, a careful assessment of the benefits, limitations and tradeoffs related to available response techniques must be made. The findings presented here will help stakeholders select appropriate response strategies in the Arctic.