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Modelling Gas Dispersion and Dissolution During Undersea Blowouts

Researching gas behavior in underwater blowouts

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

While a very small risk, a catastrophic loss of containment – involving a rapid release of large quantities of potentially toxic or explosive gases – is a possibility with offshore oil and gas extraction and reinjection wells.  Emergency planning and risk assessments require reliable information on gas release behaviour to reduce this safety and environmental risk. Understanding the dynamics of how gas dissolves and disperses is critical to understanding undersea gas releases.

Stantec, in collaboration with experts at Dalhousie University, will study this behaviour with a grant from Encana Corporation under the Deep Panuke Education & Training and R&D Fund. We’ll develop a state-of-the-art computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model to more accurately characterize uncontrolled undersea gas releases throughout the water column. The model will simulate gas dispersion and gas dissolution in the water column, and provide a better understanding of the physical and chemical properties of the released gas as it enters the atmosphere. The research outcomes will refine the scope of underwater blowout risk management in the Nova Scotia offshore and beyond.

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