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A joint project to improve oil spill prevention and response in the Arctic waters

NorTech Oulu is one of the partners in a Kolarctic ENPI CBC funded project, which aims to tackle the risks related to the increased shipping and extraction of oil and gas in the Barents Sea. The "Enhancement of Oil Spill Response system through Establishing Oil Database" project, which is coordinated by State Regional Centre of Standardization, Metrology and Testnig in Murmansk Region (MCSM), was officially launched in Murmansk in September 2012. The implementation period of the project is 29.6.2012 - 28.12.2014.

The plans for utilising the oil and gas reservoirs of the arctic areas and the increased shipping via the northeastern passage are expected to increase the risk of oil spills. Combatting oil spills in the arctic is challenging as the northern nature is more vulnerable for environmental hazards and the oil reacts in cold climate differently. Prepardeness is therefore essential in order to decrease the risks of potential accidents and to gather infromation on how oil spills in these circumstances can be removed.

Kick off meeting 12.9.2012

The participants of the kick off meeting included representatives from various interest groups, administration, authorities, etc. from the Murmansk region in addition to the project partners

International cooperation is needed to ensure that the preparedness is high, if the worst fears are materialised. Since most of the northern parts of the Baltic Sea freezes for the winter, Finland has plenty of information and know how about oil removal in winter and icy conditions. In addition to NorTech Oulu, also the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), which is responsible for oil spill prevention and response, takes part in the project. Also their Norwegian collegues from Kystverket, Norwegian coastal administration, bring their know how to the benefit of the project.

Exchange of information, experiences and best practices forms however only one part of the project, as was highlighted in the meeting in Murmansk. The most significant output of this project will be the analyses and studies of different kind of oils in different temperatures, which will form an oil database. The lead partner MCSM has modern laboratory facilities with cold rooms, where oil studies can be carried out in conditions similar to the actual cirmustances.

Based on the analyses of different oil types and temperatures, the appropriate response methods can be tested and recommended. This information is most valuable. After an actual oil spill has been reported and the spilled oil type has been found out, the right methods and technologies can be employed, which are suitable for that specific oil type and the right temperature. This is expected to shorten the response time and improve the combatting of the oil.


Oli spill partners

Representatives of the project partners met face to face for the first time in Murmansk in September 2012.

The kick off meeting received plenty of interest also from the local media. Eva Pongrácz was interviewed by a local TV channel about the project. You can find the interview from here.


Back to the main page of the project

Homepage of the project at MCSM website

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  Kolarctic ENPI CBC