Prevention of oil spills and effective action in the case of a spill are crucial to protecting and maintaining the environment. Up-to-date, reliable, and easily accessible research and information are extremely important and help to ensure a united front of preparation and to facilitate remedial action should a spill occur. The better the information available, the better the chance for prevention and, in the event of a spill, efficient and effective cleanup.

The Interspill 2004 conference in Trondheim, Norway, hosted a U.S.-Russian Workshop on Oil Spill Prevention and Response. The workshop, which focused on dispersants, was the culmination of agreements signed by U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham and Russian Minister of Energy Igor Yusufov to discuss energy issues of interest to both countries and to implement the oil spill prevention and response agreement developed between the United States and Russia. To assist the participants and in concert with the workshop, the Black Sea and Caspian Sea Environmental Information Center ( posted relevant material from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA), the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Coast Guard. Although this web site offers information on region- and country-specific initiatives, its usefulness is far-reaching—the Center's information on oil spill prevention and response, research and development, and communications and related technologies have worldwide applications. Indeed, more than a hundred organizations from all over the world have registered, and interested organizations are encouraged to do the same to promote their technologies, services, or research activities. The site is being accessed at roughly 1,000 hits per day from 115 countries all over world. During July 2004, there were more than 40,000 hits on the web site. The oil industry strongly supports the information center and has representatives participate in all of its workshops. The Center is intended to be used as a tool to provide a comprehensive source of information:

  • It publishes results and lists participants of several workshops.

  • It hosts online “real-time” meetings that allow participants to plan structured meetings at an optimal time across different time zones.

  • It provides information on oil spill prevention, cleanup, monitoring, and related commercial technologies and offers on-line discussions of these issues.

  • It provides information about the laws, regulations, and standards of various countries relating to the environmental condition of the sea.

  • It posts relevant published scientific papers.

  • It publishes lists of participants working on Black Sea and Caspian Sea environmental issues.

  • It is home to a growing database of historical pollution-testing data from research institutes in the region.

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