CIVIL ENGINEERING 365 ALL ABOUT CIVIL ENGINEERING



AbstractThe Mariner field is a newly completed oil field in the UK continental shelf with an estimated reserve of 396 million cubic meters (2.5 billion barrels) of oil. Despite the energy security benefits its development provides to the UK, it constitutes a challenge to environmental conservation due to the existential threat of an oil spill. To plan an effective oil spill response operation, it is essential to have a sophisticated knowledge of the behavior of an oil spill in the Mariner field. More importantly, only a few studies exist that sufficiently describe the oil behavior in the Mariner field under varying environmental conditions, due to its recent development. This study aims to predict the behavior (fate and trajectory) of a heavy oil spill from the floating storage unit platform in the Mariner field. For this purpose, General NOAA Operational Modeling Environment (GNOME) and Automated Data Inquiry for Oil Spills (ADIOS) were selected as the simulation tools to predict the trajectory and fate behaviors of oil for 5 days in October under the forcing of two different ocean models, namely Real-Time Ocean Forecasting system (RTOFS) and Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM). Results indicated that approximately 87% of the spilled oil remained at sea after 5 days. This apparent persistent behavior of the oil on water raises a concern for marine organisms like seabirds, whose vulnerability has been found to peak in October. This implies the need for swift response action if such organisms must be protected. Furthermore, shoreline beaching was not recorded within the 5 days of observation; however, the oil slick was found to encroach the Norwegian territorial waters. This indicates the need to plan for implementation of UK–Norway joint contingency plan to combat a future oil spill of this manner. This work could serve as a reference or guide to oil spill responders to inform the process of systematic environmental conservation planning in the Mariner field, UK continental shelf.



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