Behavior of Corexit dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Qinhong Cai, Baiyu Zhang, Bing Chen, Pu Li, Xing Song, Zhiwen Zhu

Abstract


Offshore Oil spills are of tremendous concern due to its enormous harm to economic and ecological systems. Corexit dispersants are used as an important combating agent for oil spills as they can dilute oil downward to water column and promote its biodegradation. They were extensively used during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and dispersed 16% of the spilled oil.  The aims of this paper was to illustrate the transport and fate of the key ingredient of Corexit dispersants, dioctylsulfosuccinate, sodium salt (DOSS), in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Relevant data were collected from literature and governmental databases. Subsequently, the distribution of DOSS was correlated with distributions of the flow of diverse hydrocarbons. The results indicated that DOSS had highest distribution correlation coefficients with gases and BTEX. The smaller molecular gases and aromatic compounds have higher distribution correlation coefficients while larger molecular alkanes have higher distribution correlation coefficients. The obtained correlation would provide useful information on the fate and behaviour of Corexit dispersants.


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