Jump menu

Main content |  back to top

Testing a mechanical skimmer for cleaning up oil spills in the Arctic (SINTEF photo).

Testing a mechanical skimmer for cleaning up oil spills in the Arctic (SINTEF photo).

Technical solutions are helping us to reduce the risk of oil leaking into the ocean and lessen the impact if this occurs. We have buried underwater pipelines several metres under the seabed so that floating ice does not damage them. Systems are designed to detect any drop in pressure in the pipes and activate multiple valve systems to stop the oil flow.

In Alaska we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in spill response vessels, equipment, staff and training. Our staff carry out regular drills. We are ready to respond to a spill within 60 minutes, 24 hours a day.

We are also developing a well containment system for Alaska. This is designed to capture oil that could potentially leak from a well.

Learning more

We are also improving our spill response capability through our involvement in global research and development programmes that bring together industry, scientists, academia and regulators.

We worked, for example, with the independent Norwegian research institute SINTEF on an oil spill response research programme from 2006-2009. It tested a number of clean-up techniques, including burning oil in broken ice, using chemicals to disperse oil in broken ice, and detecting oil under solid ice. The tests revealed more about the behaviour of oil in ice-covered waters and how quickly response teams must act for each technique to work.

You might also be interested in: