Even though production has decreased, Bakken oil continues to be transported by rail and by pipeline from North Dakota to refineries in the United States. In the event of a spill, this highly flammable, rapidly evaporating, light “sweet” crude oil is a challenge to recover mechanically.
In April of 2015, a Bakken Shale Crude Oil Spill Evaluation Pilot Study was conducted at the U.S. National Oil Spill Response Test Facility, Ohmsett, in Leonardo, New Jersey, under the supervision of the U.S. EPA’s Environmental Response Team, the U.S. Department of Interior and several regional EPA programs. An Elastec TDS 118 grooved drum skimmer was used as the mechanical recovery device for the test to determine if skimming operations are possible for fresh and weathered Bakken oil. Elastec’s skimmer recovery rates are cited in the study.