BLOSOM (Blowout & Spill Occurrence Model) is a spatially-explicit and 3-dimensional model with versions written in Java and C++ for simulating oil spills and deepwater blowouts (à la Deepwater Horizon), including near-field jet dynamics, submerged oil plumes, fate, weathering, and degradation. Started in late 2011 as a simple extension to be built on-top of an existing GIS platform, BLOSOM has developed into a stand-alone modeling suite with a high level of functionality and flexibility.

Check out our publication: Developing a Comprehensive Deepwater Blowout and Spill Model

Simplified overview of BLOSOM sub-components and interactions

In accordance with the 3-dimension regime of a deepwater blowout, BLOSOM tracks the movement of hydrocarbons throughout the water-column, in addition to more traditional methods of modeling surfaced slicks. The spill is handled through three distinct regimes, those being the multi-phase, turbulent jet emanating from the well-head, oil plumes and droplets in the water-column, and the surfaced oil slick -- simulating the entirely of a blowout-sourced spill by merging several different modeling approaches into a multi-component, modeling package.

Of particular importance was following the development and fate of submerged oil plumes in the water-column which are difficult to monitor and predict, as evidenced by the Deepwater Horizon Spill. Efforts both in capturing the complexity of the near-field as well as best handling the transitional phases allow BLOSOM to simulate the formation and fate of submerged oil plumes, particularly due to droplet-sizes.

All this is backed by a highly adaptable, pseudo-component crude oil model, using a library of correlations to estimate a range of component properties needed from limited data, and providing more detailed pictures of weathering and changes to oil composition. Combined with a flexible handler for hydrodynamic and bathymetric data, BLOSOM is capable of simulating large and long-lasting spills from source to final fate and degradation.

BLOSOM was originally developed in support of DOE and NETL’s Offshore Energy Resources research portfolio . It is one component of NETL’s broader Offshore Integrated Assessment Modeling suite that has been developed since 2010 to support offshore spill prediction, prevention, preparation, and risk analyses.