The Importance of Understanding Transport and Degradation of Oil and Gasses from Deep-Sea Blowouts

  • Karen J. MurrayEmail author
  • Paul D. Boehm
  • Roger C. Prince


Assessing the environmental impact of spilled oil and gas requires an understanding of both the petroleum’s movement and the physical and chemical changes it undergoes after the release. Deep subsea releases differ from surface releases primarily because of the extended interaction of the oil and gas with the water column prior to atmospheric exposure. Furthermore, the remote locations and uncertain volumes of deep subsea oil and gas releases result in logistical challenges to data collection both during and after a release. However, there have been multiple subsea releases with large-scale environmental investigations, and the extensive investigation undertaken during and after the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) spill resulted in an especially comprehensive empirical data set. The specific chemical and physical properties of the oil and gas mixtures in subsea releases differ between spills, and the DWH investigation and others have highlighted the importance of understanding biodegradation rates and transport to offshore sediments. The field and experimental data collected during and after a spill can improve oil fate prediction when incorporated into comprehensive oil spill models.


Oil spills Biodegradation Deepwater Horizon NRDA 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen J. Murray
    • 1
    Email author
  • Paul D. Boehm
    • 1
  • Roger C. Prince
    • 2
  1. 1.Exponent, Inc.MaynardUSA
  2. 2.Stonybrook ApiaryPittstownUSA

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