The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has released four new oil spill response calculators as part of an ongoing effort to improve future clean-up efforts.
According to spokesman John Caplis, an oil spill response coordinator for the bureau, the use of the calculators is viewed by BSEE as a “best practice” and their use will be strongly encouraged when operators prepare oil spill response plans for offshore facilities. Caplis explained that the new calculators focus on methods to identify optimum system arrangements for three oil spill clean-up approaches: mechanical recovery equipment, dispersants and in situ burn.
The calculators allow spill responders to better assess the oil removal capabilities of different equipment, and assist them in selecting the most effective approaches for responding to the potential spill scenarios contained within a response plan.
“Use of the response planning calculators translates into better preparedness by industry. Ultimately their use should result in more effective responses to spills,” Caplis stated, “and an overall benefit to the environment by improved mitigation of the impacts of oil spills, should they occur.”
BSEE provided funding for, and collaborated with, Genwest Inc. to create the new calculators.
The four calculators are:
Estimated Recovery System Potential (ERSP) Calculator – Provides a systems-based approach that is a significant improvement over the existing effective daily recovery capacity (EDRC) planning standard. While EDRC focused only on the capacity of the skimming device and removal pump, ERSP addresses the entire system’s ability to encounter, collect, contain, remove, store and offload recovered oil and water. The improvements address concerns expressed by the Deepwater Horizon Commission that the EDRC standard does not accurately estimate the removal capacity of mechanical recovery equipment.
Recovery System Evaluation Tool (ReSET) – Allows plan holders and oil spill removal organizations to explore changes to their mechanical recovery systems and consider options to improve the system’s oil removal potential. ReSET allows users to vary individual components in the Estimated Recovery System Potential Calculator and determine how they can best invest in mechanical recovery equipment.
Estimated Dispersant System Potential (EDSP) Calculator – Provides a technology update to the Dispersant Mission Planner 2 used by the U.S. Coast Guard to estimate the ability of different aircraft to spray dispersants and treat oil on the water’s surface. The EDSP Calculator features an improved user interface, added spray application platforms, and a more visual and intuitive set of graphical outputs.
The Estimated Burn System Potential (EBSP) Calculator – This new oil spill countermeasure planning tool provides a way to estimate the potential for a towed fire boom system to encounter, contain and burn oil.
The response system planning calculators, and their associated user manuals, can be downloaded here.