The Norwegian Clean Seas Association for Operating Companies (NOFO) has recently completed a comprehensive Research & Development (R&D) program. The main objective of this program was to provide a basis for decisions regarding selection of equipment in the next generation of NOFO's oil spill response. The R&D program was initiated in 2000 and the results from the preliminary phase of the program were presented at the 2003 IOSC in Vancouver.

In the summer of 2003, NOFO successfully carried out an Oil-on-water exercise. This exercise encompassed a full scale testing of new equipment developed in the second phase of the program. A series of experiments were performed where oil was released to the sea and subsequently recovered. In total, 170 cubic meters of oil emulsion was released, and approximately 80 % recovered. Based on the experiences from the Oil-on-water exercise, NOFO implemented Phase 3 of the R&D program. This phase comprised of redesign and modifications to two types of booms, and of a high capacity skimmer. Final testing of the Phase 3 results was completed in the first quarter of 2004, and concluded that the design criteria were met. Concurrently, NOFO has embarked on a three-year replacement plan, in which existing booms and skimmers are replaced by the new equipment types.

Phase 2 included a feasibility study on enhanced detection of oil spills under conditions of low light and reduced visibility. Based on results from this study, a project has been initiated to develop and implement a ship based radar system for detection of oil spills. This project is considered the first step towards the goal of achieving an oil spill response that is independent of light and visibility.

This paper outlines the conclusions of the R&D program and the 2003 Oil-on-water exercise, as well as the results from the final performance tests of the new equipment. Further, the new oil spill response is comprehensive, in terms of total capability and geographical coverage.

This content is only available as a PDF.