The Center for the Integrated Modeling and Analysis of the Gulf Ecosystem

A tale of two Gulf spills: A research consortium of 19 institutions from 5 countries studying the impacts of oil spills on the Gulf of Mexico.

As oil companies explore the Gulf of Mexico for more oil, deeper depths seem to be the new horizon in oil exploration. At depths deeper than 2100m (7000 ft) – where deepwater and ultra-deepwater drilling occur – pressure and temperature express behaviors not seen in any other environments.

Task 2 looks to understand these behaviors of oil and gas, and dispersants at high pressures (210-times sea level pressure) and low temperatures (3° C) using a high-pressure chamber where oils and oil-degrading microbes can give researchers an idea of these unknown processes. Contributing scientists operate through collaboration with Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) in Germany, the University of Calgary in Canada, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Miami and the University of Western Australia.

In Depth: Studies are being conducted at high pressure to improve the understanding of gas/oil/dispersant/seawater interactions in the deep GOM. High-pressure experimental research is critical for both defining the physical and chemical behavior of the gas/oil/dispersant/seawater mixture at conditions relevant to deep-sea spills such as the DWH and determining the initial conditions for plume modeling. This high-pressure experimental work foucses on the processes of gas-oil “peeling”, hydrate formation, bubble/droplet size distribution, chemical solubility and dissolution, and deep-sea microbial degradation.

The high-pressure experimental work allows us:

(1) to track the fluid pathways of a deep-sea blowout from a multiphase petroleum jet to a rising plume, including the formation of gas hydrates, bubbles and droplets and their evolution;

(2) to determine the chemical solubility and partition coefficients for xenophobic petroleum compounds, e.g., benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX), alkylphenols and other petrochemicals between gas charged oil and seawater at high pressure; and

(3) to replicate high-pressure deep-sea conditions to determine the rates that natural and engineered microbial consortia can degrade hydrocarbons from a deep-water blowout.

Results from the high pressure experimental tests are refining initial conditions of the plume important to near-field modeling of chemical partitioning and distribution, and far-field modeling of oil fate and trajectories.


2nd Symposium on Deep-Sea Oil Spills - 19-20 September, 2016 - Hamburg, Germany

Task 2 Publications

A rapid method to assess a broad inventory of organic species in marine sediments using ultra-high resolution mass spectrometry

A rapid method to assess a broad inventory of…

Abstract: Rationale: A broad range of organic species in marine sediments is routine...

05-23-2016

Methane bubble rise velocities under deep-sea conditions – influence of initial shape deformation

Methane bubble rise velocities under deep-sea…

Terminal bubble rise velocities play a major role in industrial and environmental app...

02-19-2016

Draft Genome Sequence of the Piezotolerant and Crude Oil-Degrading Bacterium Rhodococcus qingshengii Strain TUHH-12

Draft Genome Sequence of the Piezotolerant an…

We report here the draft genome sequence of Rhodococcus qingshengii strain TUHH-12. T...

07-08-2015

Simulating the effects of droplet size, biodegradation and flow rate on the subsea evolution of deep plumes from the Macondo blowout

Simulating the effects of droplet size, biode…

The relative effects of hydrodynamic, thermodynamic, and geochemical factors on the f...

07-08-2015

Effect of high pressure on hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria

Effect of high pressure on hydrocarbon-degrad…

Effect of high pressure on hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria The blowout of the Deepwat...

10-14-2014

Factors that effect deep plume evolution

Factors that effect deep plume evolution

Simulating the effects of droplet size, high pressure biodegradation, and variable fl...

06-27-2014

TUHH team takes 3rd place in international competition

TUHH team takes 3rd place in international co…

Congratulations to our TUHH Team for making 3rd Place in the Blue Competition! The Bl...

06-27-2014

#6 Oil: It's what's for dinner...

#6 Oil: It's what's for dinner...

C-IMAGE scientists want to know more about how oil-eating microorganisms behave in th...

06-27-2014

Summer School at TUHH

Summer School at TUHH

The Hamburg University of Technology invites GoMRI students for the 1st International...

06-26-2014

Related High Pressure Activities

Podcasts from The Loop

The Loop is a series of podcasts which take an in depth look at C-IMAGE research. Partnering with Mind Open Media reporters Ari Daniel Shapiro and David Levin, our researchers share the importance of their studies and how they help our understanding of oil spills. David and Ari have produced eight podcasts and have more in the queue. The podcasts are linked below. Plug in and learn about our research!

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