FSU “Murmansk centre for standardization, metrology and certification”, Russia

Laboratory for determination of characteristics for oil was created in the framework of ecological project 07/05 and according to the Agreement between the government of the Murmansk region and the Norwegian company “Statoil Gidro ACA”. Grand opening of the laboratory took place on the basis of the State institution Murmansk Centre for Standardization, Metrology & Certification in June, 2008. In the solemn ceremony took part both Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Norway and Russia - mr. Jonas Gar Stere and mr. Sergey Lavrov, the Governer of the Murmansk region, heads of different institutions and organizations, as well as journalists from both countries.

The main task of the laboratory is to make tests for further determination of physical-chemical and other characteristics of oil in case of its contact with sea-water.

These tests are absolutely necessary for prediction of oil behaviour in case of accidental spillage in the water area, so that it would be possible to choose the quickest and the most effective way of spill recovery. In case of uncontrolled crude oil spillages one can observe numerous changes of its physical, chemical characteristics and also changes in the behaviour of oil spot. That's why it's very important to have enough knowledge about possible behaviour of oil in the water in case of accidental spills. The laboratory should provide different services and institutions, responsible for environmental security, with efficient and trustworthy information about different characteristics of oil transported on board of tankers.

The project involves coordinated work of the CSM laboratory, Hydro meteorological Service, FGUP "Murmansk Search-and Rescue Service" on Russian part and of relevant services responsible for oil spillage elimination on the part of Kingdom of Norway. All the information about characteristics of transported oil is hand over to the Hydro meteorological Service. There the specialists model behaviour of this or that type of oil on the sea surface under curtain weather conditions (temperature of water and air, strength of wind, choppiness of sea and so on). Such forecasts are very important for the situations when it's necessary to take a decision during operations on oil spillage consequences elimination and for working out of plan for quick response in case of emergency situation. In such cases quick and efficient decision on the method of oil spillage elimination should be taken and realized by FGUP "Murmansk Save-and-Rescue Service" (MBASU). If necessary, when oil spillage occurred near the Norwegian coast, this information should be given to the Norwegian authorities for taking measures in due order.

By present specialists of the laboratory have analyzed two types of Russian oil and defined theirs physical-chemical characteristics and behaviour in case of accidental spillages. In the framework of these tests they stripped (distilled) crude oil, determined oil density, viscosity, temperature of solidification and flash out of the crude oil and stripped residues. They created and studied water-oil emulsion using sea-water. Tests over oil characteristics changes were carried out under the temperatures of +5 С and +13 С. Research results made it possible to make forecast to predict behaviour of two types of Russian oil during five days after the accidental spillage under different weather conditions and possibility to use chemical dispersants for oil spillage elimination.

When the laboratory was put into operation, the first stage of the project was realized. Next stage is connected with the necessity to carry out oil monitoring and to create databank on the characteristics of all types of oil transported throughout Kola Bay and the Barents Sea for quick identification in cases of accidental spillages. The volume of transported oil and oil products in the Murmansk region within the area of the Kola Bay and the Barents Sea increases year by year and will increase later on according to the forecasts. Tankers are loaded with oil products on the working oil terminals of the Murmansk region. Sampling for further tests should be done from all the terminals.

There is a problem in the laboratory these days - with workload of oil samples that can be studied and become basis for future databank. In Russia there is no legislative framework according to which oil companies could be obliged to deliver oil samples from tankers to the laboratory. In connection with that it's necessary to solve problems with sampling for further study and payment of this work. It should be noted that in our neighbour country -Norway - there is no problem with sampling. Oil companies realize the importance of delivering samples for the analysis and this question has firm legislative framework for a long time. For Russia this task is of the national scale, because it concerns problems of environmental security and protection of biological resources within the Arctic region.

Safe transportation of crude oil and oil products in the Arctic region in the whole and in the Barents Sea particularly; protection of marine biological resources; environmental security - are the most important questions these days. The problem of accidental oil spillages' consequences elimination in the Arctic regions is connected with severe climatic conditions - frequent storms, low temperatures of water and air. That's why it's very important to have information about composition and characteristics of spilled oil beforehand for successful elimination.

The importance of the project lies in the fact that laboratory can provide with valuable information. Its usage can predict and prevent dangerous sequences for environment caused by accidental oil spillages. Having possessed such information about composition and characteristics of oil, with high degree of probability, it was possible to prevent ecological catastrophe that happened in the Black and Azov Seas on the 11th of November, 2007, when due to heavy gale in the Kerch Strait two thousand tons of oil leaked into the sea because of shipwreck. Oil spillage is a serious threat for marine flora and fauna. That's why this experience on organization of similar laboratories in other seaside regions of Russia should be considered as necessity.

This project in the sphere of environmental security - creation of the laboratory for oil study on the basis of FGUP "Murmansk CSM" - is considered to be the brightest example of the effective international collaboration in the common interests for ecology preservation in the Arctic region for present-day life and for further generations.



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