Oil spills: Industry must not take its eye off the ball

The oil and gas industry is set to discuss the importance of maintaining focus on oil spill response across all sectors at the three day Interspill conference and exhibition in Amsterdam from 24 – 26 March.
Rob Cox, technical director at IPIECA and Interspill chairman, believes it is crucial that spill prevention and response remains a high priority even as the many initiatives set up after the 2009/10 offshore incidents are starting to deliver results.

He said: “Significant progress has been made in the aftermath of the Montara and Macondo incidents by the offshore industry but we must not take our eye off the ball; it is vital this work continues. The upstream community is more engaged than ever and legislation is hardening, so we are expecting a lot of debate around articulating the financial impacts of risk to help progress response capability for the offshore sector.”

Interspill 2015 brings together industry, academia and government to hear about the latest developments in spill prevention and response. In addition to the conference, the exhibition will showcase the technologies helping to improve response times and protect the environment. In the biggest exhibition to date, more than 100 exhibitors will demonstrate their latest innovations.

A conference programme includes sessions on future risk, stakeholder engagement, multi-agency response, emerging technologies, wildlife preparedness and regulation. The opening plenary on current issues and challenges is being chaired by Rob Cox, and includes chairman of host trade association SRGH, Wierd Koops, Brian Sullivan, IPIECA Executive Director, Richard Johnson, Technical Director at ITOPF and Robert Limb, Chief Executive and Director at OSRL.
Other organisations set to present include: ExxonMobil, Shell Exploration & Production, SINTEF, IPIECA, IOGP, IMO, Cedre and SEA Consulting Group.

A first for Interspill is the closing plenary session where members of the International Offshore Petroleum Environmental Regulators Forum (IOPER) will present their principles for offshore oil spill preparedness in an industry-chaired session.

Cox added: “The 1990 Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation Convention tasks industry to work cooperatively with the IMO and its national delegations and the statistics clearly show the success of our joint work with shipping. Now an opportunity exists for us to work together with international regulators to help improve global oil pollution prevention and preparedness in the offshore sector. We anticipate this will be of great interest to operators and the wider industry keen to hear about how the IOPER principles could drive regional and local regulation in practice.”

Under the theme of ‘working together’ the conference aims to not only reflect on past events, but consider the likely future issues for oil and chemical spill prevention, response and restoration.
In addition to the conference programme, spill industry seminars and scientific workshops are being held on the exhibition floor and are free to attend.

The spill industry seminars feature presentations from leading manufacturers and other organisations, highlighting the latest developments.

The science workshops, led by Cedre will include sessions on dispersant breakthroughs, bioremediation, HNS pollution and spill impact assessment. In particular, the workshop on dispersant breakthroughs will take place on Tuesday at 1.30pm and focuses on chemical dispersion of oil in arctic areas, deep sea and tropical regions. Presenters include Tom Coolbaugh, distinguished scientific associate at ExxonMobil, Per Daling, senior research scientist at SINTEF and Francois Merlin, former head of R&D at Cedre.

The well-established programme of educational short courses on a variety of spill related topics will run at the venue on Monday 23 March, the day before the conference opening.
Interspill 2015 takes place at Amsterdam RAI Convention Centre. The last event in 2012 in London attracted over 1,300 delegates, visitors and exhibitors from over 70 countries.


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