The first successful controlled In Situ Burn (ISB) conducted during an actual offshore spill response occurred in March 1989 in Prince William Sound, Alaska following the grounding and spill of the T/V Exxon Valdez. That ISB operation consisted of one burn and the removal of approximately 700 barrels of oil. In the years following the Valdez incident, there have been numerous studies and tests of the effectiveness and potential impacts of controlled In Situ burning of oil in different environments. This testing shed light on the potential for in situ burning.
This presentation summarizes the ISB operational successes during the DWH response, which demonstrated the large scale application of safe and effective controlled burning of oil. Approximately 400 controlled burns were conducted removing an estimated 220,000 to 310,000 barrels of oil from Gulf of Mexico. These controlled burns were accomplished safely and effectively. .
This presentation concludes that under appropriate circumstances - taking into account factors including oil properties, wind and sea conditions, proximity to populated areas, and overall net environmental benefit - controlled burning can now be considered a conventional, primary offshore response tactic. With the safe and effective DWH experience in hand, industry and government have an opportunity to transition from considering ISB as an alternative technology to leveraging it as an early-response priority in appropriate circumstances.