Summer students exploring oil spill response systems in the Arctic.
On 20th of June 2012 the summer project kicked off with a two-day seminar, featuring inspirational and fact-based presentations by DNV management and experts. This year ten students from seven universities, all in their 4th and final year of MSc programs, were recruited in a process that saw a record-number of applications.
"As usual we received many high quality applications for the summer project. I am pleased with this continued high level of interest and I feel confident that the ten students we have recruited will give their utmost to solve the challenging task over the coming seven weeks," says Kristina Dahlberg.
The students, who come from Norway, Finland and Sweden, will be working with risks assessment and creation of an oil spill response system – an issue that is becoming more and more relevant as the scarcity of energy increasingly is pushing world exploration and production of oil to new and harsher environments.
"The Arctic is home to a large share of the world’s undiscovered petroleum resources. However, with extreme weather and long distances to existing infrastructure, the region poses extraordinary risks to life, property and the environment. The development of an effective oil spill response system is thus of utmost importance in this respect, which is what the students will be working on for the next weeks," says Helene Østbøll.
The students’ main task is to develop a realistic concept for a year-round oil spill response system (OSRS) in the Arctic. In addition to presenting a recommended concept for adequate oil spill response, the students will at the end of the six weeks provide a cost benefit evaluation of the proposed concept as well as a multimedia presentation of the proposed design.
"We are eager to start digging into the task. What makes this summer project unique is its relevance. Oil exploration and production, as well as oil transportation, in the Arctic is a highly likely scenario. At the same time we all know the region is home to one of the planet’s most spectacular yet vulnerable eco-systems. It is crucial that exploration and production activities take into account risks posed to the environment. An oil spill response system is one of several plausible solutions that could alleviate the strain on the environment," says Martin Andestad.
Why oil spill response?
The world needs more energy. This leads to exploration and development of oil fields in harsh and sensitive environments, such as the Arctic. In addition, commercial shipping may increase along the northern sea routes.
Accidents will happen. Imagine a serious oil spill in the Arctic. A cold, inaccessible, vulnerable environment covered with oil and ice. The risk of accidental oil pollution in the Arctic calls for effective measures to combat oil spills at sea. This is a challenge under normal conditions, and even more so in the Arctic, with long distance to existing infrastructure, cold climate, darkness during winter, sensitive environment, sea ice, and under different regulatory regimes.
It is crucial that the industry establishes a response system that is able to operate adequately under such conditions in order to reduce environmental impacts.