Offshore Burn ExperimentKen Lee, Ken Lee Research Inc
The University of Manitoba has submitted a proposal to Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) to obtain ministerial authorization for the conduct of the Multi-Partner Research Initiative (MPRI) Offshore Burn Experiment (MOBE) which involves the controlled release of oil (crude and/or refined products) to evaluate the effectiveness of current and emerging situ burning (ISB) technologies.
The emerging ISB burn technologies to be evaluated include a remotely operated surface vessel for herder delivery and slick ignition technique (largely developed and funded by OSRI) to extend the window of opportunity and decrease response time; a Flame RefluxerTM technique to improve burn efficiency and reduce smoke production; and a “Gated Burning Tongue” technique to increase ISB efficiency and to allow ISB with a conventional boom. Comparison of the effectiveness of these novel technologies to a “control” burn using a commercially available fire-resistant boom, is in alignment with OSRI’s mandate to support research, education, and interdisciplinary demonstration projects that improve understanding and response to oil spills in Arctic and Subarctic marine environments.
Ministerial authorization of this project requires significant client, regulator and stakeholder engagement for 1) the procurement of additional research partners and funds (to leverage support provided by MPRI), and 2) the support of various stakeholders and such as government fisheries resource managers and the Fish Food & Allied Workers Union (FFAW) who have raised concerns over the potential environmental impacts associated with the conduct of the experiment. To address this challenge, Dr. Kenneth Lee will lead client, regulator and stakeholder engagement, as Science Advisor/Coordinator for the Multi-Partner Research Initiative (MPRI) Offshore Burn Experiment (MOBE).
The objective of the proposed engagement plan is to: 1) liaise with MPRI program managers within DFO, other federal/provincial government agencies (e.g., Canada Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board – CNLOPB) and potential research partners within the private sector (e.g., Petroleum Research Newfoundland and Labrador – PNRL) and academia that can add additional leveraged/financial support towards the MOBE project; 2) interact with local communities and groups (e.g., FFAW, OneOcean, Indigenous groups and NGOs) to address their concerns related to the potential environmental impacts associated with the field study by providing details about the project including mitigation measures taken and answering their questions under an “interactive transparent approach”; 3) provide scientific advice for the refinement of the MOBE project proposal based on feedback from the engagement process; and 4) development of an engagement program for the duration of the project.