Weathering and Dispersant Testing


What is weathering?  

There are several weathering processes which affect how an oil weathers in the event of an open ocean spill. Each of these processes islargely dependent on sea state and prevailing weather conditions at the time of a spill but all have the ability to affect the chemical and physical properties of the oil. Weathering testing is prediction testing of oil properties under controlled weathered conditions. It is required in the New Zealand discharge management planning process because this information enables the oil explorer to plan what actions to take in the event of an open ocean spill.

What is dispersant testing?

Oil spill dispersants can be used after an oil spill has occurred to break up the spilt oil into tiny micelles which are then able to suspend into the water column where they are biodegraded by microorganisms. Use of oil spill dispersants is also included in the discharge management planning process. Testing ensures the oil explorers know which oil spill dispersants may be effective and up to how many hours after the spill they may remain effective for.

Prediction testing allows the oil explorer to be prepared and act quickly in the event of an emergency, reducing the effects the oil spill will have on the surrounding environment.

What are IPL capabilities?

IPL has customised a MNS (Mackay/Nadeau/Steelman) test rig to simulate the weathering processes under controlled conditions (air temperature, air speed, water temperature, and wave action) in order to make predictions as to how an oil would change and behave in the event of a spill.   


IPL uses a Labofina/Warren Spring Laboratory Rotating Flask Test Rig to test the efficiency of dispersants on both fresh and weathered oil. Dispersants are tested to the WSL LR448 procedure. IPL holds a range of both New Zealand and Australian approved dispersants and can also source dispersants from outside New Zealand on request.


Where can I find the New Zealand weathering and dispersant testing requirements?

A list of all rules involved in the Discharge Management Process can be found on the Maritime New Zealand Website

Why choose IPL’s expertise:

- IPL is the first laboratory in NZ with the capability to perform the required weathering and dispersants testing for oil discharge management plans as regulated by Maritime NZ.
- Fast turn-around time.
- Competitive prices.
- Tailored testing for all hydrocarbon and chemical products. 

Contact us for a quote or for further details about this service.


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