The rising level of activity in the Arctic means that we need more knowledge and better contingency planning. Around 20 international scientists spent May 2008 finding out how an oil spill behaves in ice-covered waters. The full-scale trial that took place to the east of Hopen Island in May was described as extremely successful. It comprised a series of trials of skimmers and fireproof oil-booms, and tests of burning floating oil. There was also an experiment that involved remote monitoring via satellite.
The experiment was part of the Joint Industry Programme on oil spill contingency for Arctic and ice-covered waters, which started in September 2006. This is the world’s largest R&D programme to date on oil spill contingency planning, with a total budget of around NOK 60 million spread over three and a half years.