The Steering and Working group meeting of the project ”Enhancement of Oil Spill Response System by Establishing Oil Database” (KO 437) implemented within the framework of the Kolarctic ENPI CBC Programme 2007-2013 was held in Tromsø, Norway, on 7 May.
The meeting was attended by partners from Russia, Finland, and Norway: FBI State Regional Centre for Standardization, Metrology and Testing in the Murmansk Region of Rosstandard,  Northern branch FGBI Marine Rescue Service, FGBI Murmansk Administration for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring, OOO Storvik Consult, University of Oulu/ Center for Environmental Technology, SYKE - Finnish Environment Institute, Norwegian Coastal Administration Troms and Finnmark, and Hans Dahlin, Project Coordinator of the Joint Managing Authority of the Kolarctic ENPI CBC Programme.
    The main objective of the meeting was to review the progress of the second year of the Project and to set tasks for the next period . At the opening Øyvind Rinaldo, the representative of the Norwegian Coastal Administration Troms and Finnmark, warmly welcomed all the participants to Norway and wished a fruitful and productive work. Ilya Kulikov, Chairman of the Meeting and Acting Director of  MCSM, emphasized the social significance of the cooperation between Russia, Norway and Finland in the field of protection of the northern seas from oil pollution for current and future generations.
    Raisa Ripacheva,  Project Manager, reported on implementation of the activities plan during the reporting period, the results of oil studies that have been carried out since the beginning of the Project and the tasks of the final stage of the Project: "Since the beginning of the Project the laboratory has studied 9 samples of the Russian crude oil. There have been created under laboratory conditions 27 artificially weathered oil samples corresponding to oil being in the sea for 1 hour, 1 day and from 2 to 5 days and 162 samples of oil-in-water emulsions. There have been conducted 170 tests on physical and chemical parameters (density, flash point, freezing point, hydrocarbon composition, the content of paraffins and asphaltens); 486 tests on water absorption, emulsion stability and de-emulsifier effectiveness; 250 studies on the dynamic viscosity of oil in the sea; 456 tests on the interaction of oil with chemical dispersants. All studies were conducted under 2 temperatures (+50С and +130С) with the use of sea water. Based on the results there have been created computer models of oil spill behavior and has been partially formed the database".
    Raisa Ripacheva focused particularly on creation of the second "cold room" in the laboratory, which was not planned in the Project and was carried out with the help of the JMA using the Project budget savings. The need for its creation arose because the existing "cold room" does not provide for a low temperature range (below +50С). The second "cold room" was officially commissioned in December 2013. Given that offshore oil production and oil transportation routes are being shifted to the areas with lower temperatures of sea water the creation of the second "cold room" will make possible conducting studies at sea temperature from +50С to 00С.
    The project will enter its final stage in July this year. Three arrangements are scheduled for this period. Oil studies, work on models of oil specifications change in sea water and entering of results in the database will be carried out July - October. Research results for each sample will be presented in a form of a report. Recommendations on how to use the database and enhance oil spill response technologies are scheduled to be developed in October-November. The final Steering Group meeting will be held in Murmansk in December.
At the meeting there was also presented a  detailed report on implemented information activities, which included participation in international conferences and forums, production of a booklet, publications, etc.The representetives of the Marine Rescue Service, the Murmansk Administration for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring and the Norwegian Coastal Administration  made a presentation, assessed the work done and provided information on technical capacity and preparedness to conduct the Russian-Norwegian oil spill response exercises in the Barents Sea, which are scheduled for 5 June, taking into account physical and chemical properties of the Russian oil and oil slick behavior forecast.
    Elena Siekkinen, the representative of the Murmansk Administration for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring said in her speech: “After receiving from Murmansk CSM data on a sample that was studied in the laboratory, experts of Murmansk Hydromet run the model of oil weathering (OWM). For modeling it is given a short description of scenario, weather conditions and oil data. The model allow to use parameters of surface water temperature and wind speeds changes which can be required in a particular case, as in a real situation with oil spill these characteristics can vary with the course of time. Further, the model of drift and behavior of the oil slick under an oil spill OSCAR is used. For modeling, coordinates of oil spill location are entered into OSCAR, as well as information on depth, extent of oil spill, water temperature and water salinity. The calendar time and duration of modeling will be defined, data on environment are entered. OSCAR model calculations results as slides, reflecting the situation with oil slick, changes in oil components, values of wind and a number of other parameters are passed on to Marine Rescue Service.”
    The theme was continued by Vasily Korenev, the representative of the Northern Branch FGBI Marine Rescue Service: “This year, the Agreement between Russia and Norway on assistance in case of an oil spill in the Barents Sea will be 20 years. There is a joint plan for pollution response, there are annual exercises on interaction and there are other arrangements on coordination of cooperation. Within the framework of the federal target program Development of Transport System of Russia in 2010-2015 new specialized vessels are built which come to carry the rescue preparedness, both at sea and onshore. On June 5, during the next joint exercises an interaction scheme will be trained in cooperation with Norwegian colleagues. The scheme will be based on knowledge of properties and behavior of Russian oil under oil spills.”
    Alf Kristiansen, the representative of the Norwegian Coastal Administration of Troms and Finnmark, told about the goals of the upcoming exercises: “The priorities of NCA are rescue of lives (the main priority), environmental protection, economy. Norway has bilateral and multilateral agreements on oil spill response, the most important – the Russian-Norwegian agreement and the Copenhagen one. There is an own scheme of information transmission in Norway. The data on an oil spill come to Vardø first, then to Rescue Coordination Centre in Murmansk.  The exercises will also include a question on the properties of the spilled oil. This information is very important for taking solutions on which skimmers can be used and when, which cleaning methods can be used (mechanical cleaning or dispersants use). When a vessel with oil is in a distress the questions on shore line cleaning are also important, as well as wastes treatment after oil collection, safety for the liquidators, determination of the crash culprit. Currently the number of shipments is increasing, as well as the risks”.
    The representatives of the Finnish partners Eva Pongracz and Jorma Rytkonen suggested to check the possibility of collection of statistical information on general characteristics of the Russian oil and noted that this information will be important for skimmers manufacturers as well.
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