A New Standard
Exploration, production and transport activities are expanding into more challenging and more environmentally sensitive ocean environments, including the Arctic. Even with prevention improvements in exploration and shipping technologies, accidents will happen, and oil spills will continue to threaten on a daily basis. These will include heavy oils such as diluted bitumen, which sink much more quickly, and therefore require immediate recovery even more urgently. And in the interests of sustainable development, societies are increasingly demanding from industries and governments that they demonstrate real capacities to protect ocean and coastal ecosystems, and the economies that depend on them. This requires a new standard: immediate definitive recovery of oil spills (IDROS).
Existing mechanical offshore recovery technologies have never aspired to the IDROS standard because they cannot function in most offshore conditions. In place of IDROS, compromised
remediation methods have been developed such as spill treating agents (dispersants), in-situ burning, and as a last resort, coastal clean-up. Dispersants are of very limited use, demonstrate questionable effectiveness, and are highly suspect regarding overall impacts on ocean ecosystems, as recent science is making clear, especially since the BP Macondo disaster (Gulf of Mexico, 2010). The only truly effective way to minimize both industry and societal costs, as well as tragic environmental damage, is by immediately and definitively recovering the spilled oil from the ocean surface. IDROS requires a new generation of vessel technology. EST will deliver.