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Testing deep spills

June 26, 2000, 10:00 CEST

A project to determine how oil behaves when released at great water depths is under way with participation by Statoil and 22 other oil companies.

This Chevron-coordinated deep spill joint industry project includes a controlled release of oil and gas west of the Halten Bank in the Norwegian Sea from 25-28 June.

Results from the experiment will be used to enhance existing computer models in order to boost knowledge of possible environmental influences.

They can also help to strengthen emergency response arrangements for dealing with oil spills.

"Our involvement demonstrates that we're working actively to clarify issues relating to possible environmental impacts from our operations," comments Arne Myhrvold.

A senior engineer in the environmental and safety technology department, he is Statoil's manager for the project.

Laboratory trials show that oil and gas behave differently under the conditions of high pressure and low temperature found in deep water, compared with shallower seas.

The Norwegian Pollution Control Authority takes a positive view of the project, and has provided the necessary discharge permit.

Support has also come from various Norwegian environmental organisations.