A Geotechnical and Geochemical Characterisation of Oil Fire Contaminated Soils in Kuwait

Al-Dahanii, Humoud, Watson, Paul DJ orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7414-4061 and Giles, David (2014) A Geotechnical and Geochemical Characterisation of Oil Fire Contaminated Soils in Kuwait. In: Engineering Geology for Society and Territory. Springer, pp. 249-253. ISBN 978-3-319-09059-7

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Digital ID: http://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-09060-3_40


As a consequence of the Saddam Hussein 1991 Iraqi led invasion of Kuwait more than 600 oil wells were set fire to as part of a scorched earth policy while retreating from the country. This action created a series of “oil lakes” and hydrocarbon contamination within the desert causing serious environmental damage. Some 23 years later after the fires were extinguished the ground affects of these actions can still be detected. This paper will present the results of a detailed geotechnical and geochemical investigation into the current ground conditions now present in the Burgan Oil Field some 35 km south of Kuwait City. Detailed geotechnical testing together with hydrocarbon analysis using a Gas Chromatograph—Mass Spectrometer (GCMS) have been carried out on samples from varying depths within the Greater Burgan Oil Field. A detailed geological, geotechnical and geochemical ground model has been developed to present the findings of these investigations. The area under study has major development plans for both housing and infrastructure. Subsequent Quantitative Human Health Risk Assessments have been undertaken to determine the potential levels of risk posed to any future urban developments within these affected areas. The paper will report on this assessment detailing the hazards posed and the tools used to assess them. Potential risks will be discussed and mitigation and management scenarios will be highlighted.

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