Cold water corals like Lophelia pertusa that live in areas where drilling operations take place may be exposed to toxic and non-toxic stress by drilling discharges. The risk for damage depends on the amount of matter a coral is exposed to and the condition the coral was in before drilling started.
DNV GL has developed a methodology called Coral Risk Assessment (CRA) which, combined with information on the thickness of the deposited drilling discharges, computes risk of damage for corals in the area of interest. SINTEF has developed DREAM, a model for simulation of transport and fate of drilling discharges, and SINMOD for modelling of ocean currents.
In a currently on-going project funded by the Norwegian Research Council and Statoil, we aim at developing an operational real-time solution for decision support during drilling operations in sensitive areas. High-resolution ocean current modelling, real-time discharge modelling and coral risk assessment are combined for operational near-real-time assessment of environmental risk during a drilling operation.
Our solution combines local conditions and predicted risk, to allow monitoring of coral reefs close to a drilling site in order to minimize damage to the environment.