Crude oil contamination on the Sabkha facies of Kuwait


  • WALEED YOUSEF ROY Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research
  • SAMIRA OMAR ASEM Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research
  • MEALI AL-BURAIS Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research


Salids, environment, aridland, soil, contamination


Sabkha soils in Kuwait are developed as the result of the intersection between the highly saline groundwater table and the low ground surface. During the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait the Iraqi troops dug a large number of trenches including Sabkha areas and filled them with crude oil. Crude oil is a mixture of mainly oxygenated and non-oxygenated hydrocarbons (Yemashova et al., 2007). Six boreholes (B4 to B9) along the oil trench in the saline coastal soils, in the northeastern and southeastern areas of Kuwait were excavated to assess the extent of oil pollution in comparison to the adjacent reference sites. Oil pollution in the soil matrix of the oil trenches is significantly high in percent TPH and TEM that penetrated through deep soils into the hard gatch layer. The highest concentration of TEM and TPH was 11.74% and 9.91% respectively measured at B7 in the southeastern at a depth of 60 to 160 cm and the lowest concentration was 0.67% and 0.41% respectively at B5 in the northeastern at a depth of 35 to 110 cm.  The study also concluded that the amount and depth of oil contamination in the northeastern and southern coastal oil trenches should be considered equally important for future remediation.

Author Biography

SAMIRA OMAR ASEM, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research

Principal Research Scientist,  Environment and Life Sciences Research Center



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Earth & Environment