Oil is one of the most important energy sources across the globe, which means transporting it around the globe can create risk. An oil spill is when oil pollution in the ocean or on land happens due to human or natural error or an accident. Although we think of oil spills only occurring in the ocean, vessels that hold oil also have the potential to overflow and cause a spill on land.
Spills occur and there is always the probability spills will happen. This industry is at a high risk for spills both in the ocean and on the ground, which can disrupt and harm local wildlife, cause loss of expensive, valuable product, and expensive rehabilitation efforts. The best and easiest way to avoid oil spills is prevention.
How to Prevent an Oil Spill
While it is nearly impossible to completely eliminate the risk of an oil spill, spill prevention control and regulations can help minimize this risk. If you are familiar with the deepwater horizon accident, that spill resulted from the failure of the cement base of the 18,000 foot deep well. This disaster in the Gulf of Mexico resulted in the death of 11 people and oil spewed into the ocean for 87 days. The oil on the water surface created a dangerous fire that caused the rig to be completely engulfed in flames.
Seeing how high risk oil transportation is, means safety regulations must be followed. Oil spill prevention can be prevented by:
- Absorbent pad and oil tray/drip pan to collect oil.
- Tighten bolts and check on the maintenance of equipment on a regular basis to prevent leaks.
- Replacing cracked and worn lines, fittings and equipment when needed.
- Monitor your level systems.
Tank monitoring can help eliminate spills.
As mentioned previously, the key to avoiding and eliminating spills is in-depth prevention plans and measures put in place before a spill even occurs.
A huge part of preventing spills is knowing exactly what is going on inside your oil tanks and vessels. Tank monitoring systems will automatically detect the amount of oil or other liquid contained in the tank, giving you updates in real time of this valuable data.
Pump-off control systems can be utilized to automatically turn on and off pumps to ensure the level in the tank never gets too high and will alert you if the volume in the tank gets too high or suddenly drops.
Not only do these systems help to prevent and eliminate spills, they also help to increase production efficiency. These systems allow you to know exactly how much oil is in your tank and control inflow and outflow of the tank remotely. With Reign’s tank monitoring systems, you do not have to waste valuable resources and time to go out to manually check remote tanks.
Oil Spill Solutions
Oil spill response remains the most important for preventing it from spreading. Being that oil spills are going to occur, knowing the best and fastest way to clean up is crucial. The government agencies that are typically involved in oil spills and clean up are United Nations Environment Program World Conservation Monitoring Center, International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund and World Bank Oil, Gas, Mining and Chemicals, among others. These agencies are going to regulate the oil spill management market to prevent, prepare for and respond to oil spillage.
These are a few common methods to clean oil spills.
- Oil Booms: This is a popular and common piece of equipment used to clean up oil that can enclose oil to a smaller area to prevent spreading. This is not a good method for larger spills.
- Skimmers: After the oil booms control the oil in one area, it can be extracted with the help of skimmers or oil scoops.
- Sorbents: Oil sorbents are materials that can absorb liquids and are considered a natural process of oil clean-up.
- Burning: Floating oil is set to fire. Burning (situ burning) is the most proficient method.
- Dispersants: This method is a last resort as it involves chemicals being spread over the oil to disintegrate the oil.
You may now have a better idea of how to clean-up and/or prevent oil spills. While it is a huge devastation on our planet, oil remains a major fuel contributor so we need to make sure we are prepared for any accidents that may occur. For more information about oil spills, check out this site.