Measurement of oilfield chemical residues in produced water discharges and marine sediments

S. J W Grigson, A. Wilkinson, P. Johnson, C. F. Moffat, A. D. McIntosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


During oil production, significant quantities of water are produced with the crude oil which, following treatment on the platform, are discharged to the marine environment. This produced water contains residues of oilfield chemicals added by the platform operators to the topside processing equipment to aid oilwater separation and mitigate operational problems. The levels of oilfield chemicals entering the marine environment via this route were investigated using electrospray ionisation tandem mass spectrometry (ESI-MS/MS) and wet chemical analysis techniques. The generic nature of different chemical types was shown by ESI-MS/MS. Studies of the partitioning behaviour of corrosion inhibitors and demulsifiers between the oil and water phases of the produced fluids suggested corrosion inhibitors partitioned primarily into the aqueous phase and demulsifiers into the oil phase. This was reflected in levels observed in produced water although, in the case of a corrosion inhibitor, lower than expected concentrations were measured. Scale inhibitors were discharged with the produced water at their dosing concentrations. Marine sediments in the proximity of two North Sea oil platforms contained low levels of benzalkonium quaternary ammonium salts (0.74-10.84 ng/g), typical corrosion inhibitor chemicals. Copyright (C) 2000 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2210-2219
Number of pages10
JournalRapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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