Weekly Seminar

Weekly Seminar

Annual Symposium

CEAFM Dual Degree Program


Weekly Seminar: Fall 2017

Speaker: Paul Schuler (Oil Spill Response)
"Exploring the Intersection of Oil Spill Science and Response: Competing (and Synthesizing) Perspectives on Oil Spill Response Science"
Hosted By: Joseph Katz (ME)

Date: Friday, September 1, 2017
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Location: Hodson Hall 210


A fundamental precept of oil spill prevention, preparedness, response, and restoration (P2R2), is that science will drive the response. Such was the case in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, where science, through the concept of Net Environmental Benefit Analysis (NEBA), played a leading role in determining response options and priorities. Following the Deepwater Horizon blowout, an unprecedented amount of oil spill related science has been conducted, mostly under the auspices of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI), or sponsorship of NOAA, BSEE, and the oil industry/response community.

This talk examines the role of oil spill science, and the respective roles of scientists and responders in oil spill preparedness and responses. It will review the fundamentals of oil spill response geared for academics/scientists, and address the respective perspectives and imperatives of the academic and response communities.

It will also address some of the difficulties and challenges of designing and applying research relevant to oil spill response, and effort undertaken to bridge the gap between science and response.


Mr. Schuler was President and CEO of Clean Caribbean & Americas (CCA) from 1991 until 2013, when CCA merged with Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL). Currently he is OSRL's Director of External Affairs for the Americas. Mr. Schuler developed the business and operational strategy that grew CCA into the oil industry's primary oil spill response center for the Caribbean & Latin America, with 48 oil company members before the merger with OSRL. In 2010, he led CCA's response in the Macondo/Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, where a small team of highly trained personnel provided a significant aerial dispersant capability. He is actively engaged in a variety of international advocacy and education programs promoting Preparedness & Response capacity building in the Americas region and worldwide. He works closely with governments, NGO's, the academic community, and the international oil industry, and is a recognized authority on emergency response related issues. Mr. Schuler co-authored "Guidelines for the Use of Dispersants and In-Situ Burning" for the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Caribbean Oil Pollution Preparedness Response & Cooperation Plan (OPRC), as well as papers on the "TROPICS" 32-year field study in Panama on the relative effects of oil and dispersed oil on tropical marine ecosystems. He also developed the concept and funding for an ongoing 3-year Coral Toxicity Thresholds Study at Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center. He was the chair of the Association of Petroleum Industry Co-op Managers (2002-2004), serves on many industry committees, and is particularly known as a subject matter expert on the use of dispersants on oil spills. Prior to CCA/OSRL, Mr. Schuler served fourteen years in the U.S. Navy, where he held assignments in aviation, intelligence, operations, international liaison, and education. He was commissioned through Aviation Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida, served aboard aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean Sea, with the United Nations Command in Seoul, Korea, as a U.S. Navy Scientific & Technical Liaison Officer in Europe, as Commander of the Maritime Liaison Office in Bahrain, and on the Staff of the Commander, Middle East Force in the Persian Gulf. He concluded his naval career as a Lieutenant Commander in 1991, where his last assignment was as an instructor of Strategy & Policy at the U.S. Naval War College. Mr. Schuler is a native of Babylon, New York. He financed his college education as a commercial clam digger on Great South Bay, Long Island. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business and Government from Franklin & Marshall College, and Masters of Arts degrees from the University of Southern California in International Relations and the U.S. Naval War College in National Security Affairs. He is a Private Pilot, an avid sailor, and the proud father of two daughters, Jeanna (26) and Natalie (19).

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