Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment

, Volume 32, Issue 9, pp 2647–2666 | Cite as

Probabilistic analysis of risk and mitigation of deepwater well blowouts and oil spills

  • Alessandro Caia
  • Alberto Giulio Di Lullo
  • Giambattista De Ghetto
  • Alberto GuadagniniEmail author
Original Paper


The development of robust risk assessment procedures for offshore oil and gas operations is a major element for the assessment of the potential feedback between planned activities and the environment. We illustrate a methodological and computational framework conducive to (1) a quantitative risk analysis of deepwater well barrier failures and subsequent hydrocarbon release to the environment and (2) the analysis of the value of the deployment of conventional and/or innovative mitigation measures. Our methodological framework is grounded on historical records and combines the use of Dynamic Event Trees and Decision Trees from which we estimate probability of occurrence and impact of post-blowout events. Each sequence of response actions, which are undertaken immediately after the event or in the subsequent days, is considered within the context of appropriately structured event paths. This approach is conducive to an estimate of the expected value of key decisions and underlying technologies, with an emphasis on their potential to reduce the oil spill volume, which can critically impact the environment. Our study yields an original comparative analysis of diverse intervention strategies, and forms a basis to guiding future efforts towards the development and deployment of technologies and operating procedures yielding maximum benefit in terms of safety of operations and environmental protection.


Probabilistic Risk Analysis Oil well blowout Deepwater drilling Event Tree Analysis Decision Tree Analysis 





Blow out


Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement


Blow Out Preventer


Barrel of Oil Per Day


British Petroleum




Blowstop (Primary Intervention)


Blowstop (Secondary Intervention)


Capping Stack


Containment of Underwater Blowout Events


Det Norske Veritas


Dynamic Positioning System


Debris Removal


Drill String


Damage to surface mud lines


Decision Tree


Decision Tree Analysis


Expected Monetary Value


Environmental Risk Assessment


Electrical Submersible Pump


Event Tree


Event Tree Analysis


Rig floating


Failure Modes and Effects Analysis


Fault Tree Analysis


Hampering Active Wellbore Kit


Inflow Performance Relationship


Loss of electric power


Lower Marine Riser Package


LMRP Top Hat #4


Net Present Value


Outer Annulus


Outside Casing


International Association of Oil and Gas Producers


Oljeindustriens Landsforening


Oil Spill Contingency And Response


Oil Spill Scenario


Oil Spill Volume


Probability Density Function


Productivity Index


Probabilistic Risk Analysis


Probabilistic Safety Analysis


Quantitative Risk Analysis


Research & Development


Rapid CUBE


Marine riser sinking


Riser Insertion Tube Tool


Remotely Operated Vehicle


Relief Well


Start of evacuation of rig personnel


Rig sunk


Stiftelsen for INdustriell og TEknisk Forskning


Stock Tank conditions


Top Hat


Rig towed


Valued Ecosystem Component


Vessel of Opportunity


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile e AmbientalePolitecnico di MilanoMilanItaly
  2. 2.Eni SpAMilanItaly
  3. 3.Dipartimento di EnergiaPolitecnico di MilanoMilanItaly
  4. 4.Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric SciencesUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  5. 5.Kwantis SrlMilanItaly

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