Establishing stringent environmental monitoring protocols is a key aspect of sustainable offshore exploration. For offshore oil and gas platforms, this means supplying a rig’s team with the appropriate instrumentation and knowledge to conduct both routine and unscheduled water sampling campaigns.
Central to these efforts is an early spill characterization and sampling system, or a Platform Sampling Kit, the contents of which equip offshore professionals—those most likely to first encounter detectable hydrocarbon leaks or spills—with the specialized tools needed to collect quality samples of suspected oil slicks and unidentified sheens in challenging marine environments.
The early detection and classification of any unanticipated release is the initial step in determining the required level of spill containment, modeling, and response, so urgent and systematic sampling procedures are essential to ascertain if any further environmental investigation or intervention is warranted.
Real-time Risk Analysis
Platform Sampling Kits are instrumental to offshore operations and rely on well-established subject matter expertise to lead the kit’s design, scientific documentation process, quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) measures, and standardized reporting protocols.
When faced with a potential emergency, immediate access to the approved apparatus and ability to determine the most appropriate and timely action can mitigate the potential risk. The alternative means of assessment—such as a concerted environmental sampling campaign replete with vessel, crew, and equipment—typically takes several days to mobilize. Empowering offshore personnel to make informed and accurate preliminary assessments of concerning slicks and sheens means real-time risk analysis.
Partnering with Chevron
In late 2022, CSA Ocean Sciences Inc. (CSA) was contracted by Chevron Mediterranean Limited (CML) to design and assemble a custom “Emergency Kit” for its production platforms offshore Israel in the East Mediterranean Sea.
Mobilization of suitable sampling and monitoring equipment and trained personnel may be hampered by long lead times. CSA was brought on to help bypass some of these challenges and leverage the company’s extensive working knowledge of the East Mediterranean offshore environment—including the governing regulatory framework.
“CSA’s capacity to supply the offshore oil and gas industry with the necessary tools and guidance to deliver scientifically robust marine environmental mitigation and preparedness strategies is backed by CSA’s 53-year history of partnering with offshore planners and developers to design and execute multidisciplinary marine survey services,” explains Elad Mills, CSA’s Managing Director of Mediterranean Operations. “This custom Emergency Kit was developed by a team of leading ocean scientists and field technicians from CSA’s Offshore Energy team with a mission to facilitate essential quick response scientific analysis that will ultimately inform the most appropriate mitigation methods.”
The Emergency Kit was designed as a stand-alone, self-sufficient product that could be easily operated by relatively inexperienced staff with only minimal support from the platform’s chemists before samples are sent for further laboratory analysis.
CML’s Emergency Kit was placed inside two heavy duty coolers and packaged in a wooden crate built for quick and easy transportation to and from the platform by crane/forklift at the quayside.
Contents of the Emergency Kit included:
- An array of pre-cleaned bottles and jars for seawater and sediment collection;
- Task-specific pre-cleaned Teflon nets;
- Preservation liquids;
- Standardized scientific documentation detailing QA/QC measures;
- Scientific working protocols and procedures enclosed in a case-specific sampling manual;
- Packaging consumables; and
- Shipping instructions.
The creation of this custom Emergency Kit further positions CSA at the forefront of marine environmental monitoring preparedness for hydrocarbon leaks or spills and exemplifies our long-standing commitment to supporting the offshore energy market in the East Mediterranean and around the world, with sustainable offshore exploration practices that safeguard the marine environment.
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