Project

Development of an area specific net environmental and economic benefit analysis (NEEBA) to support oil spill mitigation decisions; with St Eustatius as example

This project aims at developing an area-specific NEEBA (net environmental and economic benefit analysis) model for Statia as basis for an advanced evaluation tool for response options such as chemical dispersion, doing nothing or alternative oil response options.

St Eustatius (Statia) aims for economic development in combination with preservation and development of its ecosystems as the rich biodiversity of the Island offers great opportunities for ecosystem services. Among the growing economic activities, however, also are oil shipping, blending, processing and storing of oil. This as well as additional shipping activities, pose the risk of oil spills which would seriously hamper the biodiversity and related ecosystem services such as tourism, fisheries, aquaculture and regulation.

A fast and effective response to oil spills is important to reduce the damage. Since 2010 the Dutch government is responsible for the marine environmental quality in the Dutch Caribbean as well, and an oil spill response scheme currently is being prepared. The most common response is to remove visible oil, preferably mechanically. When horizontal modelling suggests that the oil slick is headed for a sensitive area, application of dispersants is considered. The assumption is that in deep waters the oil will then be diluted and subsequently degraded quickly. However, application of dispersants during the Deep Water Horizon blowout has shown that sometimes the oil gets even concentrated and becomes more persistent at the deep sea sediments.

This project aims at developing an area-specific NEEBA (net environmental and economic benefit analysis) model for Statia as basis for an advanced evaluation tool for response options such as chemical dispersion, doing nothing or alternative oil response options.

The DST will be based on 1) currently used horizontal fate models (in cooperation with the responsible institution) supplemented with 2) the new vertical fate, ecotoxicity and biodegradation models (result from parallel projects: C-IMAGE+TripleP@Sea ) for 3) the specific local conditions, ecotoxicological sensitivity and important ecosystem services (info from other TripleP@Sea CN DLO-projects ) with and without oil spill mitigation measures. In addition to using dispersants, the options for currently available additional mitigation measures (e.g. in situ burning, adsorbents, solidifiers; Tamis et al, 2011) will be investigated in this project.