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.

C-IMAGE’s high-pressure experiments offer a rare perspective into the dynamics of oil plumes and microbial degradation in deep sea conditions.

Oil companies continue to explore to deeper depths in the Gulf of Mexico, including those deeper than 2,100m (7,000 ft) – where deepwater and ultra-deepwater drilling occur. These high pressures and cold temperatures cause oils, gases, and dispersants to behave differently than what is seen on the surface.

Researchers looks to understand these behaviors of oil, gas and dispersants at high pressures (210-times sea level pressure) and low temperatures (3° C) using a pressurized and chilled chambers. The results from the plume and degradation experiments are integrated into near- and far-field oil spill fate models.

Goals of the high-pressure experiment group in C-IMAGE III include:

  • Inject dispersant into live-oil experiments to simulate DwH response
  • Perform critical experiments for future spills with varying blowout conditions (e.g. deeper depth), oil types and biodegradation capacity

To date, task 2 researchers have studied the following:

  • 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
  • Tracking the fluid pathways of a deep-sea blowout from a multiphase petroleum jet to a rising plume, including pressure drop, rise velocity, the formation of gas hydrates, and the evolution of bubbles and droplets
  • Replicating high-pressure deep-sea conditions to determine the rates natural and engineered microbes can degrade hydrocarbons from a deep-water blowout

Task Partners

  • TUHH

    The Hamburg University of Technology

  • Calgary

    University of Calgary-PRG

  • UWA

    University of Western Australia


Meet our researchers

High Pressure News & Products

Karen Malone, TUHH, wins the James D. Watkins student award

Karen Malone, TUHH, wins the James D. Watkins…

Congratulations to Karen Malone, a PhD student at the Technical University of Hamburg...

06-27-2014

C-IMAGE in Germany

C-IMAGE in Germany

The Technical University of Hamburg at Harburg (TUHH) hosted the 1st Hamburg Symposiu...

06-26-2014

#5 The Pressure is On

#5 The Pressure is On

Mind Open Media's David Levin talks with C-IMAGE PI Steven Murawski and scientists fr...

06-26-2014

High Pressure Publications

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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

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!

Listen to More Podcasts!