The Legacy of Deepwater Horizon: New Science Affecting Marine Oil Development Policy

Saturday, February 18, 2017: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Room 203 (Hynes Convention Center)
As global oil industries become ever more dependent on ultra-deep wells (more than 1,500 meters deep), our understanding of the physical, chemical, and biological forces and conditions on these wells must also evolve. As the first ultra-deep oil spill of significant magnitude, the 2010 Deepwater Horizon episode resulted in a number of important and, before the accident, unappreciated lessons critical to drilling and spill response in deep water. Investments in scientific research since the Deepwater Horizon accident, totaling close to $1 billion, have generated unprecedented new and highly relevant information. For example, as high-pressure experimentation has shown, the chemical and physical properties of so-called live oil are significantly different than oil without methane and other gases present. This affects many fundamental oil properties, including deep-plume formation and the efficacy of dispersant use. Additionally, the discovery of large quantities (4–10 percent) of Deepwater Horizon oil on the seabed not only helps to understand oil spill distribution, but requires that we understand the mechanisms by which it got there and what its ultimate fate may be. In this session, prominent scientists studying the chemistry, physics, and ecological impacts of Deepwater Horizon will review important lessons from the spill. The session will include a facilitated discussion of the policy-relevant implications of this research and policy recommendations for the new U.S. federal administration.
Steven Murawski, University of South Florida
Nancy Kinner, University of New Hampshire
Rita R. Colwell, University of Maryland, College Park
The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative: Industry-Academia-Government Collaboration
See more of: Environment and Ecology
See more of: Scientific Sessions