• Imeh Okop

Student thesis: Phd


Soil contamination from petroleum spills is a frequent environmental problem in the world. It is obvious that petroleum exploration has contributed immensely to the economic growth of Nigeria, but over the last few decades, the Niger Delta of Nigeria has suffered grave human health risk and ecosystem degradation resulting from oil spillages, petroleum products leakages and other involuntary effluent discharges from oil exploration activities. This research seeks to develop and optimize GC-FID methods for the analysis of Petroleum hydrocarbons. Crude oil spillage contamination of soil from the Niger Delta was investigated 3 months after a crude oil-pipeline spillage. 47 Soil samples (300-500g) were collected at several points in the South-South Niger Delta. Control samples were taken from four unaffected sites within the vicinity of spillage with similar soil characteristics. Samples were collected at depths of 0-15 cm, 15-30 cm and 30-60 cm. The soil samples were prepared for analysis using solvent extraction methods, passed through column of sodium sulphate and FlorisilĀ® to aid in column performance, remove moisture and gross impurities. Samples were analysed using gas chromatography with a flame ionisation detector. Penetration and migration of C10-C26 and C26-C34 hydrocarbons through the soil layers were assessed by cluster analysis to determine the spatial distribution, penetration and chemical similarity of these compounds over the contaminated area. This information is a useful guide for bioremediation purpose. It was found that total petroleum hydrocarbon concentrations varied from 9-289 mgkg-1 topsoil, 8-318 mgkg-1 subsoil and 7-163 mgkg-1 at the greatest depth measured.The results show elevated levels of total hydrocarbon contents when compared with the reference sites. Drastic steps should be taken to carefully monitor and remediate the environment. Bioremediation with plants and micro-organisms is endorsed.
Date of Award31 Dec 2010
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorKrishna Persaud (Supervisor)


  • Petroleum contaminants, soil, Soxhlet extraction, GC-FID, Chemometric analysis

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