Tom King, Fisheries & Oceans Canada


Q: Please tell me something interesting about yourself?
I am the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s principal investigator on the fate and behavior of oil spills in aquatic settings. Deliverables from my research programs have supported and provided critical information to risk assessments, oil spill countermeasures, and area response plans on the fate of oil spilled under various oceanographic conditions. In 2010, I participated in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill using techniques developed at the Centre for Offshore Oil, Gas and Energy Research of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to monitor and track the fate of the subsea dispersed oil plume.

Q: Why is safety and/or environmental stewardship important in our energy mix?
Deep sea oil and gas exploration and production must be conducted in a responsible manner to ensure marine safety. The DFO is responsible for developing and implementing policies and programs in support of Canada’s scientific, ecological, social and economic interests in oceans and fresh waters.

Q: If there was one thing you’d want people to understand about your research, what would it be?
The research findings provide relevant scientific data, advice and recommendations to: inform policy development and regulatory decision–making on spill response and remediation choices.

Q: What will be the most important take away from your presentation?
The presentation highlights key findings on the subsurface release of oil under simulated oceanographic conditions. Results of the project provide spill responders with critical information on the utility of subsurface dispersant application as an oil spill response option during subsea blowouts.

Q: What will be the most surprising aspect of your presentation?
The release of surface volatile emissions, due to safety issues, can impede response capabilities during an oil spill. A Net Environmental Benefit Analysis is to be considered for all available options and to identify techniques that will provide for the best opportunity to minimize environmental consequences.

Q: Why should someone attend your presentation?
The research will address the performance evaluation of dispersants for application into subsea blow–outs and tracking and monitoring of subsea oil plumes. The information is timely given the recent changes to regulations to allow for the use of spill treating agents in the offshore under specific conditions and that Shell will be conducting exploratory drilling in the Shelburne Basin offshore of Nova Scotia in the summer of 2016. Given the implications of these later events, it is anticipated that those involved in oil spill response, decisionmaking on countermeasures, and risk assessments would benefit from attending the presentation.