Several years ago, Exxon Company, International, found itself with a need for a rugged system for open ocean use in applying dispersant which could be quickly installed on supply boats and would use readily available parts at remote offshore drilling sites. Fire monitors appeared promising, since they had been used effectively to disperse some minor spills in the past, and visually they appeared to produce a relatively-uniform spray pattern. Calculations also showed that fire monitors could potentially cover three to four times the area covered by a conventional boom because of a wider swath and the potential for greater boat speed due to a lesser effect of pitching and rolling on monitors that on booms. There were questions, however, about the uniformity of the dosage, the difference in the droplet size produced, and their effect on dispersant performance.
Exxon conducted several test programs to more thoroughly evaluate fire monitors for dispersant application, and these programs are the subject of this paper. The first test program involved the testing of numerous nozzles with modifications and monitor elevation angles to determine what combination would give the most uniform dosage in the likely offshore wind conditions. Once a nozzle was selected, the droplet pattern from the monitor nozzle and from a conventional dilute spray boom were analyzed using high speed video. These tests were followed by application tests of COREXIT 9527 by fire monitor, dilute boom, and neat boom to spilled oil at the Imperial Oil Limited Wave Basin in Calgary. The major content of this paper deals with the results of those tests. Finally, at-sea tests were successfully conducted in the North Sea.