Spatial Optimization to Enhance Oil Spill Damage Control

Authors: Jake Nelson*, Arizona State University, Tony Grubesic, Arizona State University, Ran Wei, University of California, Riverside
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Hazards and Vulnerability, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters
Keywords: Oil Spill, Optimization, GIS, Response, Preparedness
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Napoleon B1, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Expansion of oil exploration and production, particularly in the offshore environment, remains a critical threat to sensitive coastal environments. Although steps have been taken to reduce the risk posed by accidental discharge from offshore oil exploration and production, the threat to sensitive coastal environments remains large. Just recently, a ruptured pipeline released upwards of 10,000 barrels of crude oil into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Luckily, the currents and tides migrated the oil away from the coastline, but the fact that these situations continue to occur brings questions of how to best protect the coastal areas. When a spill occurs, especially in the near-shore environment, one strategy for damage mitigation is the deployment of resources to area’s that are most sensitive to the damaging effects of oil and to do so before oil makes landfall. We address this strategy with a spatial optimization procedure where the optimal placement of equipment storage and staging is determined by a response crew’s ability to protect sensitive coastal areas rapidly and efficiently. We compare our results against known storage and staging locations in the Gulf of Mexico.

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