Fate of radium on the discharge of oil and gas produced water to the marine environment

Faraaz Ahmad, Katherine Morris, Gareth Law, Kevin Taylor, Samuel Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding the speciation and fate of radium during operational discharge from the offshore oil and gas industry into the marine environment is important in assessing its long term environmental impact. In the current work, 226Ra concentrations in marine sediments contaminated by produced water discharge from a site in the UK were analysed using gamma spectroscopy. Radium was present in field samples (0.1 - 0.3 Bq g-1) within International Atomic Energy Agency activity thresholds and was found to be primarily associated with micron sized radiobarite particles (≤ 2 µm). Experimental studies of synthetic/field produced water and seawater mixing under laboratory conditions showed that a significant proportion of radium (up to 97%) co-precipitated with barite confirming the radiobarite fate pathway. The results showed that produced water discharge into the marine environment results in the formation of radiobarite particles which incorporate a significant portion of radium and can be deposited in marine sediments.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2021


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