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

Caia, Alessandro, Di Lullo, Alberto Giulio, De Ghetto, Giambattista, Guadagnini, Alberto
Stochastic environmental research and risk assessment 2018 v.32 no.9 pp. 2647-2666
decision support systems, environmental protection, historical records, oil spills, oils, probability analysis, quantitative risk assessment, risk
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.