Offshore Oceanographic and Environmental Monitoring Services for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve Response to Decision Makers' Questions: Risk Assessment


The U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) is being developed through storage of petroleum in geological salt formations located in Texas and Louisiana. Storage cavities in this salt are created by solution mining which produces very large amounts of brine waste that is discharged into the Gulf of Mexico (Bryan Mound SPR, March 1985 and West Hackberry SPR, September 1985). Offshore oceanographic and environmental monitoring services for the Petroleum Reserve have produced new information about the marine environment of the shelf region where the brine is discharged. Analysis and data from monitoring have increased understanding of environmental change produced by brine discharge and this has led to an increased ability to effectively monitor onshelf operations. Since some monitoring and analysis procedures for the SPR program are likely to be effective for other public work on continental shelf areas, the types of information produced by these procedures is desirable input for regulatory actions. Regulatory agencies responsible for preservation of environmental quality must acquire information about waste discharge toxicity and the environmental system effective in dispersion for effective regulation. This information may be obtained by seeking answers to specific questions such as those which are delineated in this report.


19 pages


Strategic Petroleum Reserve - environmental effects, brine discharge, salt domes, Strategic Petroleum Reserve, offshore oil and gas development, brine