Oil In The Sea Research Project

How to Draw an Outline around an Oil Slick

Annotate Google Earth


Produce a report that friendly parties can use on capitol hill to influence BOEMRE to commission an new Oil in the Sea report to replace OITS III (rewrite the "bible").

Project Outline

Compare sources of data on oil in the sea:
  • Oil in the Sea III
  • BOEMRE Incident Reports
  • NRC Incident Reports
  • SkyTruth independent observations
Show that OITS III and BOEMRE are basing their reported totals of oil spilled almost entirely on industry self-reporting, which we can observe through the NRC reports.  We will show that nearly all of the reports included in BOEMRE analysis match reports submitted to the NRC by the polluters themselves, including the amount spilled.

Further, we will show that the NRC reporting system is prone to under-reporting and non-reporting by relying entirely on the polluters to self-report.

Project Tasks

  • For 1990 - 1999, match up OITS, BOEMRE, NRC
  • For 2000 - 2010, match up BOEMRE, NRC

Find Missing NRC Reports
  • For selected periods, find NRC reports that should have been included in BOEMRE/OITS and were not
  • Filter - only in GOM, only certain materials (need to define)
  • Select Study periods (e.g. 3 6-month periods, ideally where there is imagery available)
  • Filter NRC reports to include incidents that should have been included by BOEMRE/OITS
  • Analyze and select NRC reports that should have been included and were not - throw out problematic reports
Create SkyTruth oil Spill Report Database
  • Collect all SkyTruth observations that have time, place and quantity
  • Identify available imagery sets for study - focus on Missing NRC report time periods
  • Search Imagery for oil slicks
    • Try to find NRC reports and validate quantity
    • Identify slicks that were not reported
Data Needed:
    BOEMRE < 10 bbls
    Radar Imagery Set for select time periods