(477j) A Simulation Of Weathering Of Colombian Crude Oils In The Colombian Caribbean Sea
A SIMULATION OF
WEATHERING OF COLOMBIAN CRUDE OILS IN THE COLOMBIAN CARIBBEAN SEA
Juan Ramírez1, Aura Merlano1,
Juan Guerrero-Gallego2, Daniel Peláez2, Juan Hernández2,
Andrés Osorio2, Alejandro Molina1,*
Nacional de Colombia ? Sede Medellín, Facultad de Minas, Bioprocesos y Flujos
reactivos, Medellín, Colombia
Nacional de Colombia ? Sede Medellín, Facultad de Minas, Grupo de investigación
en Oceanografía e Ingeniería Costera - OCEANICOS, Medellín, Colombia
*Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
A module, MEUN (Módulo de
Envejecimiento Universidad Nacional), that describes the processes that
occur due to the interaction, also known as weathering, of the crude in an oil
spill with the atmosphere and the ocean, was developed. This module, programmed
in FORTRAN, couples individual sub-models available in the literature to
describe the evaporation, emulsification, dispersion and spreading processes
that characterize the first week after an oil spill in the ocean. MEUN predicts
as well the variation in density and viscosity over time as a result of the
In MEUN the evaporation submodel
considered the pseudocomponent approach proposed by Jones, (1997). Knowledge of
the True Boiling Point (TBP) curve and API gravity of the crude oil of
interest, allowed the estimation, with Aspen Plus V7.2, of the thermodynamic
properties (vapor pressure, mole fraction and mole volume) for each
pseudocomponent. The weathering module includes the first-order kinetic
expression proposed by Mackay et al., (1980) to model the rate of
the emulsification process. The kind of emulsions formed (stable, mesostable,
unstable or entrained water), the maximum water content of the emulsion and the
evaporative thresholds to have a change in the type of the emulsion formed were
interpolated from the experimental work developed by Fingas and Fieldhouse,
MEUN couples the dispersion expression, developed by Delvigne and Sweeney,
that takes into account the significant wave height and wave period to predict
the amount of crude oil dispersed in the water column by the wave action. To
predict the spreading rate of the oil slick, MEUN uses the equation developed
by Lehr et al., (1984) based on observations
in controlled oil spills. This expression considers the imbalance of forces
acting on the oil slick and the effect of wind velocity to predict the
spreading rate. The models developed by Lehr et al., (2002) and by Mackay et al., (1980), included in MEUN,
predict the increase in density and viscosity, respectively, that results from
the evaporation and emulsification processes.
All sub-model's constants were
adapted to the specific requirements of Colombian crudes, particularly to
Cusiana (°API 44.1) and Vasconia (°API 24.5). While the first one represents
light crudes, the second one is an example of heavy oil. These two crudes have
high production and require marine transport. The simulations results of the
atmospheric model WRF (Weather Research and Forecasting Model), the wave model
SWAN (Simulating WAve Nearshore) and the ocean model ROMS (Regional Ocean
Modeling System) gave a typical ocean and atmospheric data of Golfo de
Morrosquillo (latitude 09°29' N and longitude 75°46' W). Two scenarios, for
high (4 m/s - 12 m/s) and low (0 m/s - 4 m/s) wind velocity, and the effect of
time-averaging wind velocity, significant wave height and sea surface
temperature were studied.
As an example of MEUN's
predictions, Figure 1 shows the variation of the evaporated volume fraction
with time after the spill for Cusiana and Vasconia oils. As expected, the
lighter oil yields a higher evaporation fraction. Figure 1 also suggests that,
while an average wind (discontinuous lines in Figure 1) yields reasonable
predictions for a high wind condition, it significantly overestimate
evaporation when the wind velocity (continuous lines in Figure 1) is low.
Figure 1. Predicted variation
of the evaporated fraction for Cusiana and Vasconia crude oils after a spill in
the Caribbean Sea under high and low wind velocity scenarios and variable and
constant wind velocity.
Figure 2 summarizes MEUN's
predictions as a plot of the volume fraction evaporated, dispersed and
remaining on the sea surface. Because of differences in the physicochemical
properties of the Colombian crude oils, Cusiana is more affected by evaporation
and dispersion than Vasconia. According to MEUN, under high-wind conditions, a
combination of evaporation and dispersion causes in Cusiana a decrease in the
fraction of crude oil remaining on the ocean surface that is more than twice
the decrease for Vasconia crude oil. While the results in Figure 1 and 2, as
well as the fact that MEUN predicts an increase in viscosity of two to three
orders of magnitude as the slick evaporates and the water makes an emulsion
with the oil, agree with previous observations of weathering of oils in the
ocean, a more complete validation of MEUN with experiments is currently under
way using a wind tunnel and a rotating cylinder for evaporation and emulsion,
respectively, at conditions typical of the Colombian Caribbean Sea.
Figure 2. Distribution of the spilled crude oil between evaporated,
dispersed and remaining on the ocean fractions for a) Cusiana and b) Vasconia
oils. Predictions according to MEUN.
Delvigne, G. A. L., & Sweeney, C. E. (1988).
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Jones, R. K. (1997). A simplified pseudocomponent oil
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Lehr, W. J., Fraga, R. J., Belen, M. S., &
Cekirge, H. M. (1984). A new technique to estimate initial spill size using a
modified fay-type spreading formula. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 15(9),
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& Overstreet, R. (2002). Revisions of the ADIOS oil spill model. Environmental
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