New calculators to improve oil spill response planning

The US 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.

The Bureau said on Wednesday that it provided funding for, and collaborated with, Genwest Inc. to create the new calculators.

BSEE’s oil spill response coordinator for the bureau, John Caplis, said that the use of the calculators is viewed by BSEE as a ‘best practice’ and that 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, and an overall benefit to the environment by improved mitigation of the impacts of oil spills, should they occur,” Caplis said.

The four new calculators are named ERSP, ReSET, EDSP, and EBSP.

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.

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. It 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 is a countermeasure planning tool which provides a way to estimate the potential for a towed fire boom system to encounter, contain, and burn oil.