European Commission logo
Energy, Climate change, Environment

Oil Platform Leaks


This challenge concerned the ability (i) to monitor an oil spill anywhere in the whole North Atlantic area and the statistical likelihood that sensitive coastal areas would be affected within 24, 48 and 72 hours after the accident, (ii) to assess whether the current available marine data sets are available and appropriate to the use case and finally (iii) to identify gaps in the EU data collection framework at that time*.


The Oil Platform Leaks challenge attempted to determine the likely trajectory of the slick and to release rapid information on the oil movement and environmental and coastal impacts in the form of two impact bulletins at 24 and 72 hours.  

Each bulletin indicated what information could be provided, evidencing the fitness for use of the available marine data sets at that time, as well as pointing out gaps in the EMODnet data collection framework.

The exercise relied upon two tools operated by CLS:

  • The OSCAR model (Oil Spill Contingency and Response, operated at CLS under license) made available by SINTEF and used to simulate the oil spill fate and weathering at water surface, in the  water column and along shorelines.
  • A QGIS system to display and cross the oil spill forecast with coastal data (information on environment and human activities).

The declarative data given for the OSCAR simulation were used as follows:

  • Date and time of oil spill,
  • Location and depth of oil spill,
  • Oil API number or oil type name,
  • Oil spill amount or oil spill rate. 

Team involved

CLS (Energy & Mining)


Data Availability

For oil spill simulation:

Overall, good availability and easy access of data (current, wind, bathymetry…)

No tide component in Mercator current field

Wind data forecast limited (forecast for 5 days only )

For impact assessment on the environment -No dataset relative to the importance of fishery effort for a given location has been found -No information on spatial distribution of of tourist beaches (quality of bathing water was used as a proxy)

No shapefile database was available to asssess the impact on maritime traffic

Important: note that 2 sources of data have been closed since the assessment exercise, namely Previmer and AVISO.

Access to products

The challenge partners ("the producers") were commissioned to perform a number of tests to evaluate marine data according to set user requirements. The table below enables:

  • to discover :
    - the Data Product Specifications (DPS) which describe data products in terms of user requirements according to ISO19131 principles and provide the basis for the quantitative assessment of the Products (Quality measures and scope of application)  and of the Upstream Data sets supplied to- and used by- the challenges to create them.
    - the Results (TDP) which describe the Data Product created together with the quantitative assessments (Quality measures and indicators) and the expert opinion.
  • to download the products (shapefile, excel, pdf) on an "as is" basis. All downloads suppose acceptance of the use limitations described in the “Expert opinion” and the “Legal constraints” accessible using the  link to the Results.
  • to view the spatial data products (Maps) using a webGIS.

    Data product were scored by experts from 1 to 5, resp. inadequate to excellent. The score is mentioned in the last column. “Good” means the Product was achieved to at least 50% of the requirements. “Inadequate” means “Impossible to produce or fails to meet all the objectives (not usable)”.

    Product 1 - Oil Platform Leak Bulletin 24h released after a DG MARE request received by email on the 10th May 2016




    >View Map

    Score: Limited

    Product 2 - Oil Platform Leak Bulletin 72h released after the DG MARE alert received by email on the 10th of May 2016




    >View Map

    Score: Inadequate