Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.
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42 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings SMART and Deepwater Horizon During the Deepwater Horizon incident, responders: • conducted 411 in-situ burning operations, burning 246,405 barrels of oil (5 percent total spill volume); • applied approximately 1 million gallons of dispersants to the surface and an additional 770,000 gallons at the wellhead, chemically dispersing 394,248 barrels of oil (8 percent total spill volume). 4 Like all oil spills, the Deepwater Horizon response faced its share of challenges and the dispersant and in-situ burning operations were no exception. Preauthorization plans had not envisioned operations of this magnitude or protracted nature, which required the unifed command to develop and continually refne new response plans. Fortunately, National Strike Force (NSF) personnel provided expertise in air monitoring, contractor oversight, and site safety, which allowed Incident Command System teams to quickly transcend a multitude of challenges. Furthermore, the NSF cadre of qualified reservists provided a much- needed surge capacity to support SMART operations. the smoke may impact worker populations or the public. The unifed command uses this information to terminate in- situ burning operations that present a public health hazard. 3 A New Era for Applied Response Technologies? America's Energy Renaissance The U.S. is in the midst of a 21 st century e ne rg y re naiss ance. D om es tic oil production has increased dramatically from 5 million barrels per day in 2008 to 7.45 million barrels per day in 2013, with projected estimates of 9 million barrels per day in 2015. 1 Additionally, ofshore drilling continues to move into deeper waters and more remote areas, including the Arctic. Despite billions of dollars in transporta- tion infrastructure investment, America's pipeline network is nearing capacity. As a result, rail shipment has become a preferred transportation method for domestic crude oil. Moreover, oils such as Bakken crude and Canadian oil tar sands present unique response challenges and health and safety hazards. Collectively, these production and transportation changes have the potential to dramatically increase the risk of major environmental incidents. As this risk increases, operational plan- ners must evaluate dispersants and in-situ burning to combat the new threats of our energy renaissance. Atypical Dispersant Operations Additionally, the protracted nature of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response presented enormous challenges with regard to applied response technologies, specifcally dispersant usage. While the existing SMART guidelines provided a strong foundation to monitor dispersant efcacy, it was clear that a more robust framework was needed to account for "atypical" dispersant use. Environmental Monitoring for Atypical Dispersant Operations Re co gnizing these unpre ce dente d circumstances and the potential chal- lenges in future uncontrolled discharges, the U. S. National Response Team developed Environmental Monitoring for At ypical Dispersant Operations guidelines, to assist unifed command personnel during two unique dispersant application situations. 1 Subsea application, which gener- ally applies to the subsurface ocean environment, focusing particularly on operations below 300 meters. 2 Prolonged sur face application, which generally applies to disper- s ant application that e x tends beyond 96 hours. The Environmental Monitoring for Atyp- ical Dispersant Operations guidelines expand on existing SMART program equipment and methods and recom- mends key indicators that aid decision makers in determining the fate and concentrations of dispersed oil in the water column. Endnote: 1. U.S. Energy Information Administration. Coast Guard Ensign Adam Mosley prepares a hydrolab to assist scientists in determining the effectiveness of dispersants applied during the Deep- water Horizon response. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Offcer Luke Pinneo.