The expansion of coastal HF Radar ocean observing networks worldwide together with increasing capabilities of ocean model forecasting are setting new standards in relation with oil spill trajectory confirmation and prediction.  HF Radar provides high-resolution views of the surface currents in near real-time that are valuable in providing real-time and historical data. When combined with modeled winds and tidal analysis methods, however, HF Radar can also provide oil trajectory nowcasts and short-term forecasts.  As a consequence, marine information systems and services are increasingly including these value-added data products into response operations.

CODAR Ocean Sensors is the world leading HF Radar manufacturer having at present more than 400 operative references. CODAR SeaSonde HF radar technology is a non-contact sensor that remotely measures high quality real-time ocean currents maps and waves parameter. CODAR SeaSonde HF radar is the only proven technology that provides you with years of real-time data over large coverage areas, with ranges of up to 200 km. As a complement to SeaSonde HF Radar the PORTUS by QUALITAS marine information system provides added value tools, data fusion and other integrated products that improve the quality of the measured data and help manage and take the most out of this information.

Left: Conceptual idea of a HF radar system. Center: Surface current map in Norway. Right: Rapid deployable HF radar system in Norway for Oil Spill Emergency Operations

The QUALITAS Remos range of SeaSonde centered services include all activities that are needed to provide highest quality marine information over the years and are performed following ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 procedures. Our services start with consultancy works such as detail system implementation planning and permit management, we include the equipment delivery & installation and commissioning and finally, we many times end up providing efficient HF Radar operation services over the years. The activity is carried out by a specialized experienced international team of persons that work in partnership with CODAR Ocean Sensors Ltd and the end customers applying best world practices being an active member of the world leading HF Radar technical support network that exists around SeaSonde technology.

Measurement of ocean surface currents and waves information around offshore platforms is of importance both for the design phase of the platforms and for safe operation from these structures.

HF RADAR OPERATIONAL OFFSHORE APPLICATIONS

These turnkey solutions help oil companies to get a better knowledge about ocean dynamics in exploration areas. Real-time ocean surface currents and waves information improves offshore operation tasks such as Risk Mitigation and Oil Spill Preparedness and Response.

This information is of great help in different activities within the offshore market as described below.

Exploration phase: Characterization of ocean surface currents and waves in a defined area are very useful information to perform Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) and Oil spill risk analysis for Response Planning.

Production phase: Extreme wave and surface currents conditions can be reliably detected by means of HF radar systems and Portus Marine Information System, enough time ahead to allow useful operational planning to significantly reduce oil spill risks.

During oil spill event: The main application using HF radar data in the offshore sector is to predict accurate oil spill trajectories that will help to organize the emergency response and to reduce the consequences of the spill. The real-time information is fed into oil trajectory models to get accurate information about where the oil is going. This information can then be used to direct offshore skimming and dispersant application in the area of the spill. It also will allow emergency crews to predict which parts of the coast an oil spill might foul, so they can mass cleanup crews there.

A large community of partners worked together to mitigate/manage the response to the Deep Water Horizon Oil spill. HF radar (and other technology) data was used to daily predict where they oil was going. Courtesy of Rutgers University

CODAR SeaSonde HF radar technology has played and important role in different oil spill crisis management. For example, when the container vessel Cosco Busan collided with the base of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco Bay in November of 2007, spilling over 53,000 gallons of fuel oil, managers used surface current maps from HF radar data to monitor the spill trajectory. SeaSonde was also used in Gulf of Mexico Disaster Response. On 20 April 2010 the explosion on Deepwater Horizon oil rig set into motion the oil leak that flowed until 15 July and is now on record as the largest oil spill in U.S. history. SeaSonde HF radar data were loaded hourly into the US IOOS national HF radar network database and from there used by NOAA scientists alongside their models of circulation and oil transport in the Gulf to predicr where the oil was going.

Another important field of application is to perform a backcast analysis after an oil spill contingency to find out where the oil slick was originated and to establish responsibilities.