THE CONCENTRATIONS OF OIL IN SEA WATER RESULTING FROM NATURAL AND CHEMICALLY INDUCED DISPERSION OF OIL SLICKS

Results are presented on factors relating to the dissipation of oil spills at sea, including evaporation, emulsion formation, spreading, and natural dispersion into the water column. For Ekofisk oil, 20% evaporates in about 7.5 hr and, while emulsion formation is as rapid as for Kuwait crude, the resulting viscosity is low and insufficient to allow interference with the natural spreading and dispersion rates. Spreading has 2 components. One is controlled by surface tension-viscous drag forces and the other is wind-induced. Together they contribute to the 2-dimensional dissipation of the oil so that subsequent oil concentrations in the sea are, of necessity, low. These concentrations were measured for naturally dispersing and chemically dispersed slicks. The chemically dispersed slicks were of 2 kinds. One was previously weathered for 3 hr, the other was of controlled thickness and was dispersed immediately. Resulting concentrations of oil in the sea are low and of short duration compared with those required to give observable effects in laboratory toxicity studies. No significant deleterious effects were found to result from the dispersion of oil slicks at sea using low toxicity dispersant chemicals; in any case, substantial quantities of oil can be expected to enter the sea before oil recovery operations can be mounted.

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: p. 381-385

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00177081
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Pollution Abstracts
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Publication 4284
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 28 1978 12:00AM