Gas Condensates Spill Response in Cold Seas and Ice-Affected Waters
Understanding the behavior, processes, potential impacts and control of gas condensates that could be released during an unplanned event in cold seas and ice-affected aquatic environments is an important safety and environmental measure.
For over 40 years the oil industry, government, and oil spill response communities have been conducting research to understand the behavior and cleanup of crude oil spilled into ice-affected environments; this has already lead to the identification of more appropriate oil spill contingency factors to be considered for operational guidance.
In order to refine our knowledge and improve our risk management capabilities we conducted a literature review and analysis in order to summarize the current understanding of the potential properties and impacts of very light oils and gas condensates into ice-affected environments.
When compared to crude oil, gas condensates have relatively low specific gravity, low surface tension, low viscosity, and low adhesion. These properties indicate that spilled condensates would volatize faster than crude oil; however, before volatilization, condensates could spread and emulsify more rapidly on the surface. Additionally, the manner in which condensates and their weathering products interact with the environment, and the eventual fate and transport of condensates in cold climate ecosystems, depend on the physical and chemical characteristics of the surrounding water (e.g., temperature, salinity, oxygen), characteristics of the ice (e.g. salinity, porosity, mechanical strength), and climate.
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