Monday, 28 February 2011

The Significance of Oil Spill Dispersants

R. R. LessardCorresponding Author Contact InformationE-mail The Corresponding Author and G. DeMarco
Exxon Research & Engineering Co., 180 Park Ave., Florham Park, NJ 07932, USA

Available online 3 August 2000. 


There is growing acceptance worldwide that use of dispersants to counter the effects of an oil spill offers many advantages and can often result in a net environmental benefit when considered in relation to other response options. A major reason for this growing support and increased reliance on dispersants is the advent of improved dispersant products that are low in toxicity to marine life and more effective at dispersing heavy and weathered oils – oils previously believed to be undispersible. This capability has been demonstrated through extensive laboratory testing, field trials, and dispersant application on actual spills. This paper summarizes recent advances in dispersant R&D and reviews the implications of technology advances.
Author Keywords: Dispersants; Oil spill response; Field tests; Near-shore

Article Outline

• Introduction
• What are dispersants and how do they work?
• Historical perspective on dispersant use
• Advantages of dispersant use
• Limits of dispersant effectiveness
• Toxicity of dispersants
• Development of an advanced dispersant
• Sea Empress experience
• 1997 North Sea trials
• Near-shore dispersant application
• Recent dispersant use experience
• Conclusions
• References

Corresponding Author Contact InformationCorresponding author. Tel.: +1-973-765-2130; fax: +1-973-765-1496