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3 Methods That Reduce the Chance of Oil Spills

Oil and Water
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Oil disasters, such as the 2010 BP oil spill, have taught the oil and gas industry an important lesson: Changes need to be made to decrease the chance of oil spills.
 
So how do the government and the oil and gas industry make some of the most dangerous conditions in the world safer? They are researching preventative measures such as improvements in equipment, increased numbers of safety equipment, and new policies.
 
Here are 3 methods that reduce the chance of oil spills:
 
1. Remotely Operated Vehicle on Every Oil Rig
 
Remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) are robotic submarines that can travel deep into the ocean to monitor offshore drilling equipment. A typical ROV costs about USD $1 million, is the size of a small car, and can lift a tonne of weight.
 
During safety alerts ROVs can travel to the points of malfunction and fix equipment. For example, during the BP oil spill in 2010, 14 robots worked on the emergency effort simultaneously. Federal regulations now require that each oil rig have its own ROV with crew members trained to operate it.
 

Video of an ROV in action
 
2. New GE Blowout Preventers
 
GE is building a new generation of deep-water blowout preventers (BOPs) designed to handle the highest reservoir pressures the industry has ever faced. The BOP’s function is to prevent gas and oil from rushing too quickly up into the pipe inside the rig causing an explosion such as the BP oil spill.
 
The new GE BOPs are being built to withstand pressures of up to 20,000 pounds per square inch (psi) and temperatures up to 350ºF. Current BOPs on the market can only withstand 15,000 psi of pressure. The blowout preventers aim to be put into action in the Gulf of Mexico by the end of 2018.
 
3. New Pipeline Safety Rules
 
In May 2014, Canada implemented new pipeline safety rules that state: pipeline companies must set aside $1-billion to cover costs of a major rupture regardless of fault.
 
Pipeline operators will also need a minimum amount of cash available for cleanup costs. The National Energy Board will have the power to order reimbursement of spill costs and to take over spill response should the pipeline company be unable or unwilling to do so. These new rules will encourage oil and gas companies to continue to work on their safety, reducing the chance of oil spill disasters.
 

TNphoto Tatsuya Nakagawa
Tatsuya Nakagawa is the VP of Marketing and co-founder of Castagra Products, a storage tank and wastewater coatings manufacturing company that is highly acclaimed for its sustainable coatings, cold weather tank and secondary containment coating applications, and its durable frac tank coatings. Castagra is used by the world’s top oil and gas field services companies.