An oilspill risk analysis was conducted for the South Atlantic (proposed sale 78) Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) lease area. The analysis considered the probability of spill occurrences based on historical trends; likely movement of oil slicks based on a climatological model ; and locations of environmental resources which could be vulnerable to spilled oil. The times between spill occurrence and contact with resources were estimated to aid analysts in estimating slick characteristics.
Critical assumptions made for this particular analysis were: (1) that oil exists in the lease area, (2) that either 0.228 billion (mean case) or 1.14 billion (high case) barrels of oil will be found and produced from tracts sold in sale 78, and (3) that all the oil will be found either in the northern or the southern portion of the lease area. On the basis of these resource estimates, it was estimated that 1 to 5 oilspills of 1,000 barrels or greater will occur over the 25 to 30-year production life of the proposed sale 78 tracts. The results also depend upon the routes and methods chosen to transport oil from OCS platforms to shore.
Given the above assumptions, the estimated probability that one or more oilspills of 1,000 barrels or larger will occur and contact land after being at sea less than 30 days is less than 15 percent for all cases considered; for spills 10,000 barrels or larger, the probability is less than 10 percent. These probabilities also reflect the following assumptions: oilspills remain intact for up to 30 days, do not weather, and are not cleaned up. It is noteworthy that over 80 percent of the risk of oilspill occurrence from proposed sale 78 is due to transportation rather than production of oil. In addition, the risks of oilspill occurrence from proposed sale 78 (mean resource estimate) are less than one-tenth of the risks of existing tanker transportation of crude oil imports and refined products in the South Atlantic area.
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An oilspill risk analysis for the South Atlantic (proposed sale 78) outer continental shelf lease area