Sunday, 27 February 2011

Oil spill identification

doi:10.1016/S0021-9673(99)00120-X | How to Cite or Link Using DOI
Copyright © 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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Oil spill identification
Zhendi WangCorresponding Author Contact Informationa, Merv Fingasa and David S. Pageb
a Emergencies Science Division, ETC, Environment Canada, 3439 River Road, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H3, Canada
b Chemistry Department, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME 04011, USA

Available online 7 June 1999. 


To unambiguously identify spilled oils and petroleum products and to link them to the known sources are extremely important in settling questions of environmental impact and legal liability. This article briefly reviews the most recent development and advances of chemical fingerprinting and data interpretation techniques which are most frequently used in oil spill identification studies, including recognition of relative distribution patterns of petroleum hydrocarbons, analysis of ‘source-specific marker’ compounds, determination of diagnostic ratios of specific oil constituents, isotopic analysis, and several other emerging techniques. The issue of how biogenic and pyrogenic hydrocarbons are distinguished from petrogenic hydrocarbons is also addressed. Finally, the example of the Exxon Valdez spill is reviewed to illustrate how complex hydrocarbon mixtures were identified and allocated to multiple sources by using these advanced chemical fingerprinting techniques.
Author Keywords: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
Subject-index terms: Reviews; Environmental analysis; Oil spill identification; Petroleum; Carbon isotope ratio analysis

Article Outline

1. Introduction
2. Advances in chemical fingerprinting techniques for oil spill studies
2.1. Non-specific methods
2.2. Specific methods for detailed component analysis
2.2.1. Oil spill identification protocol
2.2.2. Selection of source-specific target analytes
2.2.3. Using tiered analytical approach
2.2.4. Quality assurance
3. Distinguishing biogenic hydrocarbons from petrogenic hydrocarbons
4. Distinguishing pyrogenic hydrocarbons from petrogenic hydrocarbons
5. Oil spill identification
5.1. Oil and oil product type screening and differentiation by GC traces and n-alkane distribution
5.2. Weathering effects on oil chemical composition changes
5.3. Oil spill identification by PAH fingerprint analysis
5.3.1. PAH distribution pattern recognition
5.3.2. Diagnostic ratios
5.3.3. PAH isomer analysis
5.4. Oil spill identification by biomarker fingerprint analysis
5.4.1. Biomarker distributions
5.4.2. Unique biomarker compounds
5.4.3. Diagnostic ratios of biomarkers
5.5. Oil spill identification by carbon isotope ratio analysis
5.6. Oil spill identification by statistical analysis
5.7. Oil spill identification by petroporphyrins analysis
5.8. Oil spill identification by characterization of unresolved complex mixtures
5.9. Oil spill identification by enantiomer analysis
6. Allocation of complex hydrocarbons to multiple sources
7. Conclusions