Current status of deepwater oil spill modelling in the Faroe-Shetland Channel, Northeast Atlantic, and future challenges

Alejandro Gallego*, Rory O'Hara Murray, Barbara Berx, William R. Turrell, C. J. Beegle-Krause, Mark Inall, Toby Sherwin, John Siddorn, Sarah Wakelin, Vasyl Vlasenko, Lars R. Hole, Knut Frode Dagestad, John Rees, Lucy Short, Petter Rønningen, Charlotte E. Main, Sebastien Legrand, Tony Gutierrez, Ursula Witte, Nicole Mulanaphy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


As oil reserves in established basins become depleted, exploration and production moves towards relatively unexploited areas, such as deep waters off the continental shelf. The Faroe-Shetland Channel (FSC, NE Atlantic) and adjacent areas have been subject to increased focus by the oil industry. In addition to extreme depths, metocean conditions in this region characterise an environment with high waves and strong winds, strong currents, complex circulation patterns, sharp density gradients, and large small- and mesoscale variability. These conditions pose operational challenges to oil spill response and question the suitability of current oil spill modelling frameworks (oil spill models and their forcing data) to adequately simulate the behaviour of a potential oil spill in the area. This article reviews the state of knowledge relevant to deepwater oil spill modelling for the FSC area and identifies knowledge gaps and research priorities. Our analysis should be relevant to other areas of complex oceanography.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)484-504
Number of pages21
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Early online date21 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

Marine Scotland Science, the Science Division of the Marine Scotland Directorate of the Scottish Government, hosted a Deepwater Oil Spill Modelling Workshop on 18-19 September 2013 (Turrell et al., 2014). The workshop was attended by over 50 international experts from academia, government research institutes, consultancies and industry. This review article incorporates an updated description of the contents of the workshop presentations and subsequent discussion sessions. Authorship order beyond the fifth co-author is chronological by the order of workshop presentations. The authors (workshop organisers and presenters) would like to thank all the helpers and, in particular, the workshop participants for their contribution to discussions and, consequently, the contents of the present article. The cost of hosting the workshop and the work of the MSS authors were funded by the Scottish Government. We would like to acknowledge the useful comments of a referee.


  • Deepwater
  • Faroe-Shetland Channel
  • Modelling
  • Northeast Atlantic
  • Oil spill


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