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When oil is spilled into the marine environment, it will disperse naturally to varying degrees, depending on the composition of the oil and the energy and temperature of the sea. The application of dispersants is a tried and tested tool for oil spill response, and has proven to be an efficient and effective technique under the right conditions.


By reducing the surface tension between oil and water, dispersants enhance natural dispersion, reducing oil slicks on the surface to tiny droplets in the water column. This has the benefit of greatly increasing the surface area of the oil, making it more available for bio-degradation and therefore accelerating its removal from the environment. By reducing the amount of oil on the sea surface, effective dispersant application can greatlyminimize the impact to shoreline resources and sea-birds.

ASI provides an aerial platform for dispersant application, which has the benefits of a rapid treatment response and high treatment rates, and therefore the most efficient application method for medium to large scale oil spills.  ASI only uses products which have been tested and approved by the EPA, and which are less toxic to aquatic species than oil itself, biodegrade rapidly and do not bioaccumulate. We keep a stockpile of xx gallons of Corexit 9500 at our base.  

Dispersant application….

  • is the fastest available at-sea response technique
  • is proven to be highly effective on naturally dispersing oils
  • is effective even in rough sea conditions and at large distances from the shore
  • can reduce impact to sensitive shoreline and wildlife resources
  • results in minimal waste for disposal
  • is an important tool in the spill responder’s toolbox

Further Information on Dispersants

Link to IPIECA guide
Link to NOAA website
Link to CEDRE document

Dispersant Products
Link to EPA Product Schedule
Link to 9500 MSDS
Corexit Ingredients
Corexit facts


BP Deepwater Horizon

 “The dispersant used in response to the oil spill in the gulf, Corexit 9500A, when mixed with oil, is generally no more or less toxic than mixtures with the other available alternatives. The [test] results also indicate that dispersant-oil mixtures are generally no more toxic to the aquatic test species than oil alone.”

 “Our tracking indicates that the dispersants are breaking up the oil and speeding its biodegradation, with limited environment impact.”
Press conference, EPA Administrator Jackson, 24 May 2010. 

“When an oil spill occurs fifty miles offshore, spill response professionals turn to aerial application of dispersants as the only immediate and effective response… The Aerial Dispersant Operation covered over 18,000 square miles in the Gulf of Mexico each and every day for over two months… Airborne Support, Inc (ASI) is an organization dedicated to aerial dispersant application located in Houma Louisiana, with three spray aircraft and two spotter/surveillance aircraft. On April 22 ASI began the first spray operation having been activated immediately by BP. ASI has operated since 1991 providing aerial dispersant application services in the Gulf of Mexico. As such it was uniquely positioned to be the first on scene and the last to detach. Its pilots, and crews have worked together to provide both spraying, surveillance and spotting in the Gulf, for both exercises and actual spills.”
Gass, M., Albert, V.E., Huber, C., Landrum, R. F., Rosenberg, E. (2011), Aerial Dispersant Operations in the Deepwater Horizon Spill Response - A Framework for Safely Mounting a Large Scale Complex Dispersant Operation. IOSC Proceedings 2011, Portland OR.

“Working with Brad Barker and his team was a pleasure.  We established solid 2-way communications that enhanced safety and operations. I had great confidence in ASI’s ability to apply dispersants precisely according to our daily plan.”
Mike Gass, Air Operations Coordinator, Aerial Dispersant Group, ICP Houma

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