Compositional properties characterizing commonly transported oils and controlling their fate in the marine environment

Jagoš R Radović, Carmen Domínguez, Karine Laffont, Sergi Díez, James W Readman, Joan Albaigés, Josep M Bayona
Journal of Environmental Monitoring: JEM 2012, 14 (12): 3220-9
Oil spills relating to shipping incidents remain of substantial concern with respect to marine pollution. Whilst most frequently a reactive approach is adopted in post-incident monitoring (for the specific product involved), this paper reports important physical and compositional characteristics of commonly transported oils and oil products to afford pro-active assessments. These properties include specific gravity, viscosity, elemental composition and, of particular relevance, the relative class compositions between aliphatics, aromatics, resins and asphaltenes. The latter were determined experimentally using thin layer chromatography with flame ionization detection. Diagnostic ratios of specific compounds are reported, statistically analysed, and their significance in identification of different oil types and the weathering processes is discussed. The influence of the properties on fates under different environmental conditions (selected to represent contrasting European regional seas) are examined using the NOAA Automated Data Inquiry for Oil Spills (ADIOS2) model. Relative contributions of the different environmental conditions and properties to the fate of the oil at sea are discussed.

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