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Volume :26 Issue : 2 1999      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

The distribution and sources of hydrocarbons in the regional sea area of the Arabian Gulf

Auther : LAILA A. AL-OMRAN AND CHAVA V. N. RAO

 Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Kuwait, P.O. Box 5969, Safat 13060, Kuwait

ABSTRACT

An assessment was made of the nature and distribution of hydrocarbons in, and the impact of the 1990/91 Gulf War Oil Spill on, the Regional Sea Area (RSA) of the Arabian Gulf. Core sediments sampled from the inner part of the RSA were analyzed for aliphatic and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and selected triterpanes. The area is characterized by background levels of natural hydrocarbons derived from mixed autochthonous and terrestrial origin, with low levels of anthropogenic input of degraded petroleum hydrocarbons. Biodegradation plays a major role in the depletion of short-chain hydrocarbons derived mostly from marine plankton and bacteria. Also, a reduction of petroleum hydrocarbons was suggested by the dominance of an unresolved complex mixture in the aliphatic hydrocarbon composition. The area under investigation was not impacted by the 1990/91 Gulf War Oil Spill. However, different petrochemical sources like tanker deballasting and/or offshore operations may have been the major contributors to the observed materials. A minor contribution of Arabian light crude oil to the sediments of the southern area was observed in the deeper sediments.

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