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Biodegradation of dispersed Macondo oil in seawater at low temperature and different oil droplet sizes

Abstract

During the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) accident in 2010 a dispersant (Corexit 9500) was applied at the wellhead to disperse the Macondo oil and reduce the formation of surface slicks. A subsurface plume of small oil droplets was generated near the leaking well at 900–1300 m depth. A novel laboratory system was established to investigate biodegradation of small droplet oil dispersions (10 μm or 30 μm droplet sizes) of the Macondo oil premixed with Corexit 9500, using coastal Norwegian seawater at a temperature similar to the DWH plume (4–5 °C). Biotransformation of volatile and semivolatile hydrocarbons and oil compound groups was generally faster in the 10 μm than in the 30 μm dispersions, showing the importance of oil droplet size for biodegradation. These data therefore indicated that dispersant treatment to

Category

Academic article

Language

English

Affiliation

  • SINTEF Ocean / Climate and Environment

Year

2015

Published in

Marine Pollution Bulletin

ISSN

0025-326X

Publisher

Elsevier

Volume

93

Issue

1-2

Page(s)

144 - 152

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