ABSTRACT

Operational Science Advisory Team, Summary Report for Fate and Effects of Remnant Oil Remaining in the Beach Environment: Annex C, Weathering and Depletion of Oil   [open pdf - 115KB]

"Annually, natural petroleum seeps release more than 17 million gallons (404,750 barrels) of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The 'Deepwater Horizon' oil spill released more than 211 million gallons (4.93 million barrels) of light, sweet crude oil into the Gulf (the term 'light' refers to oil with relatively few impurities and a lower density than 'heavy' oil; the term 'sweet' refers to oil that is lower in sulfur content than 'sour' oil). An estimated 25 percent of this volume was burned or collected, leaving the remainder available for natural attenuation or collection along shorelines. When oil is released into the environment, it weathers due to various hydrologic and chemical factors. Weathering affects both the chemical composition of the oil and its physical properties. Knowledge of the oil properties before and after weathering is needed for predicting the transport and fate of oil in various locations of the ecosystem, and also needed for the selection of various remediation alternatives. This section discusses oil weathering as the oil was transported from the wellhead to beaches and the continued weathering of oil on sandy beaches."

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Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council. Posted here from Lessons Learned Information Sharing database (LLIS). Documents are for personal use only and copyright laws apply.
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