NETL’s Offshore Risk Modeling suite

New spill modeling tool leverages terabytes of Energy Data eXchange historical data to ‘evaluate and reduce’ risk of spills.

The US National Energy Technology Lab, NETL, has developed ORM, an offshore risk modeling suite to evaluate and reduce the risk of oil spill events. ORM was developed in response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill which showed a need for improved system-wide knowledge and computational tools to predict and prevent future spills.

ORM was built by researchers from NETL’s Geo-Analysis & Monitoring Team leveraging terabytes of data from Energy Data eXchange, the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy’s virtual data library and laboratory. Data includes information about the water column and ocean currents, emergency response availability, oil particulate behavior and more. The tools can simulate 4-D oil spill and blowout scenarios, identify critical subsurface characteristics such as pressure and porosity during drilling activities, evaluate emergency response preparedness and assess the integrity of offshore infrastructure.

ORM comprises several stand-alone modules. Blosom, the blowout spill occurrence model, an open-source, comprehensive model that predicts how and where oil will travel following offshore blowout and spill events. CIAM the climatological isolation and attraction model that characterizes oil and particulate attraction/repulsion. CSIL, cumulative spatial impact layers for socio-economic and environmental risk assessment. SWIM, the spatially weighted impact model, a decision support tool. STA, subsurface trend analysis that combines petroleum geology methods with data science to improve prediction of subsurface properties. VGM, the variable grid method that communicates uncertainty in data and modeled results.

The NETL’s Kelly Rose said, ‘ORM is a new approach to the offshore environment. In the past, smaller-scale datasets were the primary focus in informing decisions. Using large-scale spatial and temporal data to inform local needs has the potential to increase the safety of hydrocarbon exploration and ensure responsible stewardship of the environment.’

More from NETL (dated 2016).

This article originally appeared in Oil IT Journal 2019 Issue # 5.

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