I don't know much about the science, but I've use oil on the sea in a gale in the north Atlantic when I was ocean-walloping in my little 20 footer,(Many years ago.) You need to be hove-to so that the boat more or less remains in the slick, and its amazing how far a little will go, and it does have a calming effect on breaking seas. Traditionally, one would hang an oil filled canvas
bag over the side and prick it a few times with a sail needle so it could leech out. In my case, I dribbled a little down the galley
sink where it exited the boat via the skin fitting.
Memory has dulled a little but I recall
it as being a very messy operation and of perhaps dubious benefit, in my case at least.