Anccelerator Physicist appears to have had an “aha moment” as a result of the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico four years ago. Arden Warner who works for Fermilab shaved iron bits from a shovel and sprinkled them on some engine oil.
Warner then used a simple fridge magnet to pull the clump of oil where he wanted. The Warner method requires a small amount of magnetic metal dust to work. The iron particles mix better with oil than water, or with anything else the oil could coat like animals, birds or vegetation.
Once the oil is collected, the filings can be reused. Also iron is more environmentally friendly than chemicals currently used to disperse oil.