OSLO, Norway – SINTEF Materials and Chemistry is leading a new project in Norway to research the effects and hazards of underwater gas blowouts from pipelines and wells.
The program is supported by Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA), oil majors BP, Shell, Statoil and Total, Norwegian gas trunklines operatorGassco, DNV, and Safetec.
According to PSA, there is a need for reliable estimates of how much gas flows to the surface during an incident and how it is dispersed into the atmosphere. To date all scientific experiments in this area have been conducted with small volumes of gas, and no incidents involving large volumes of gas have been adequately documented.
SINTEF’s project is examining how the gas travels to the surface and how much is dissolved in the water. The aims are to develop computational models for gas transport in the water, and to devise and perform experiments to improve insight and enhance the validation basis of the computational models.
Results will be used to establish a reference source for how much gas reaches the surface and how it is dispersed at the surface for different emissions scenarios.
This is important, PSA stresses, both forfield development and for implementing precise measures for stopping a leak. There is also a need to determine safe limits for vessels and rescue equipment to approach the gas cloud.
The program is expected to be completed in spring 2015.