Assessment and Modeling of the Fate of Oil Spills in... of the Sultanate of Oman

Assessment and Modeling of the Fate of Oil Spills in the Coastal Regions
of the Sultanate of Oman
Project Code:
Funding Source:
Start Date:
Team Members:
71,454 OMR
His Majesty’s Trust Fund
02 May 2002
5 years
Dr. Ahmad Sana (P.I.)
Dr. Andy Kwarteng
Prof. Hitoshi Tanaka
Dr. Ahmad Jamrah
Dr. Salma Mohamed Al-Kindi
Dr. Michel Clareboudt
Research Assistants
Mr. Manolito Barte
Mr. Mahdi Humood Al-Mahrouqi
Mr. Saleh Salim Al-Mashari
Mr. Mohamed Ali Al-Ghaithi
Mr. Abdulhameed Mohammed Al-Riyami
Mr. Rahman Zaini
Graduate Students
Mr. Abdulla Humood Al-Yaqoubi
Executive Summary
To quantify the oil-related pollution of coastal water along the Omani coast of the Gulf of Oman
and to explore remedial measures.
One of the modern water quality measurement devices, the Conductivity-Temperature-Depth
(CTD) probe, was used to measure electrical conductivity, temperature, pressure, dissolved
oxygen (DO), chlorophyl and turbidity. Water samples were also taken to determine the
concentrations of lead and vanadium, which are good indicators of oil-related pollution. The
measurements were carried out on board the research vessel of Sultan Qaboos University, “AlJamia”. Waves and currents were also measured at selected locations using an Acoustic Doppler
Current Profiler (ADCP). Such types of detailed measurements have not been done previously
along the Gulf of Oman.
It was found that the range of seawater temperatures was between 25°C and 30°C. The
conductivity ranges from 54mS/cm to 62mS/cm. The average value of salinity was about
36.75ppt. The temperature, conductivity and salinity show stratification at some measurement
stations in summer which is usual in these climatic conditions. The temperature, conductivity and
salinity at most measurement stations in winter had a constant value over depth, whereas these
values in the upper layer differ from place to place. An average value of dissolved oxygen (DO) of
5ppm was observed at most of the measurement stations; a value corresponding to the lower
limit of healthy marine life. If DO levels remain below 1-2ppm for a few hours, significant fish kills
may result. It was observed that the average depth current ranges from 0.1m/s to 0.5m/s (0.2 to 2
knots approximately) during the measurement period and the range of significant wave heights
was 0.2 to 1.4 m with peak wave periods of 4 to 5 sec. Chemical analysis of the samples showed
that seawater is suffering from petroleum-related pollution, especially close to Port Sultan
Qaboos, Muscat and the Oman LNG plant. The maximum concentration of lead was found to be
0.050 ppm and the maximum concentration of vanadium was 0.006 ppm. These concentrations
are extremely high compared to other locations in the world (Global Lead Concentrations, Central
Atlantic water: 0.00005 ppm average, Source:
This research project completed important measurements and modeling of hydrodynamic and
water quality parameters in the Gulf of Oman. Such detailed measurements had not been carried
out before. It was found that the dissolved oxygen levels along the northern coast of the Sultanate
of Oman are generally low, posing a possible threat to marine life. The concentrations of
petroleum-related trace metals are alarmingly high compared to other locations in the world.
Regular monitoring of water quality and strong enforcement of environmental regulations are
needed to protect seawater quality in this area.
Modeling of the Pollutant Plume at Wadi Suq: A Geo-statistical Approach
Project Code:
Funding Source:
Start Date:
Team Members:
84,250 OMR
His Majesty’s Trust Fund
02 May 2002
4 years
Dr. Osman Satti (P.I.)
Dr. Khalid Hilal Al Rawahi
Prof. Anvar Kasimov
Dr. Osman Abdalla
Ms. Halima Rashid Al Zari
Executive Summary
To characterize and model the movement of the pollutant plume in the area of Wadi Suq, to
provide risk-qualified estimates of this plume and its movement, and to assist decision-makers
with respect to groundwater quality, pollutant control, and remediation.
A geo-statistical modeling technique was applied as an analytical and estimation method to
investigate the spatial distribution of different hydrochemical parameters. Groundwater numerical
simulation was used to study the advective solute transport within the aquifer system. Potability of
groundwater was based on the Omani standards whereas international standards were used to
assess its suitability for irrigation, specifically for growing date palm and alfalfa.
Significant variation in the concentration of heavy elements in the groundwater is attributed to the
local geology and the effect of the copper processing which has enhanced ion mobility, whereas
increasing salinity has been entirely a consequence of mining. Groundwater was found not to be
potable nor suitable for growing date palm and alfalfa due to the high levels of heavy elements.
Sources of water (e.g greywater, treated waste water) from the coast can be injected into the
upper stream side as a new remediation approach. This water could be transported by the
existing pipeline, which was used previously to transport seawater from the coast.
The mining-related pollutant plume has extended over the area of Wadi Suq, with salinity
emerging as the major problem. In addition to salinity, high levels of some heavy elements were
confirmed. Analysis found that the effect of the heavy metals was comparatively low for some
metals, such as copper. However, lead was found to be a major pollutant, although it is believed
to have originated as a background due to the natural geology of the ophiolite rocks. The widely
distributed geological structures in the area, such as faults and fractures acted as conduits
enhancing the spread of the plume. Due to groundwater pollution, a large area in the downstream
part of Wadi Suq was found to be under risk of a decreasing yield of agricultural products such as
dates. Groundwater in the area poses a serious threat if it is used for drinking or irrigation. The
proposed remediation action could provide a source of aquifer recharge in addition to the cleanup
of the environmental problem. Furthermore, the study indicated the ability of geostatistics as a
tool to model pollutants in groundwater.
Atmospheric Corrosion Maps and Corrosion Products of Mild Steel,
Copper, Aluminum and Zinc in Muscat
Project Code:
Funding Source:
Start Date:
Team Members:
140,659 OMR
His Majesty’s Trust Fund
02 May 2002
4 years
Dr. Salim Homood Al-Harthi (P.I.)
Dr. Mohammed Said Al-Busaidy (P.I.)
Dr. Ahmed Dhofar Al-Rawas
Dr. Samira Sulaiman Al-Karusi
Dr. Mohammed Elamin El-Zain
Prof. Ali Awudh Yousif
Dr. Abbasher Gismelseed
Dr. Imad Omari
Dr. Khalid Bouziane
Dr. Azzouz Selli
Mr. Tariq Mohiudin
Dr. Senoy Thomas
Research Assistants
Mr. Salahadin Fadhal Al-Saadi
Mr. Said Nasser Al-Tai
Ms. Zakiya Al-Busaidi,
Mr. Saud Humaid Al-Shueli
Ms. Turkiya Mohamed Al-Shahumi,
Ms. Mouna Abdulkhalk Al-Bulushi
Ms. Khalsa Mohamed Al-Kasbi
Mr. Ahmed Al-Jabri
Mr. Salah Al-Moqbali
Mr. Mubarak Juma Al-Saadi
Executive Summary
The primary objective to create maps of atmospheric corrosion rates of different materials from
Quriyat to Barka in the Muscat governate was, for the first time, successfully achieved. The
secondary objective, which was to establish a specialized laboratory equipped with state-of-theart facilities, was also realized.
Four thousand samples distributed at 50 sites over different periods during the project were
studied in terms of corrosion rates, soluble salts and corrosion products. It was concluded from
statistical analysis of the data that corrosion rates correlate with rates of wetted dewing,
deposited salts, regional topography, humidity, and wind direction and speed. As one would
expect, some areas near the coast and some industrial and residential areas have high corrosion
rates compared to dry areas. However, the mountains in the Muscat play a role in determining the
wind direction and speed, and thus the amount of airborne salinity transported to the metal
surfaces and the degree of corrosion. This leads to the emergence of some areas near the coast
with moderate or relatively low corrosion rates.
The results revealed a sequence in which mild steel demonstrated the highest corrosion rates
followed by zinc, copper and finally aluminum. Despite the vast difference in the corrosion rates of
mild steel and copper, there are still some similarities in the corrosion factors between these two
metals. It was found that the region from Quriyat to Barka can be divided into three areas
characterised by high, medium and low levels of corrosion rates. The four metals were studied for
comparative purposes in four additional sites (at Sohar, Nizwa, Umzamaim and Salalah). It was
found that aluminum is greatly affected by dry desert conditions compared to those around
residential areas. In addition, the corrosion rate of mild steel in Salalah was found to be among
the highest in the world for non-industrial coastal areas. Given the high rates of corrosion of mild
steel in certain areas, the ISO classification of the world corrosion rates of mild steel is modified
to include areas that exceed the rate of corrosion 8.4 µm/year.
The corrosion rates of mild steel, copper, aluminum and zinc obtained by the weight loss method
were mapped using the Geographical Information System (GIS). The corrosion maps are
currently available to the scientific and academic community and will be available to the relevant
institutions in the near future to help them optimize material selection and corrosion protection
Seawater Greenhouse Development for Arid Climates: An Innovative
Approach for Water Desalination and Crop Production
Project Code:
Funding Source:
Start Date:
Team Members:
87,500 OMR
His Majesty’s Trust Fund
02 May 2002
3 years
Dr. Shyam Sablani (P.I.)
Dr. Johan Perret
Dr. Hilal Ali Al-Hinai
Dr. Ali Said Al-Naimi
Prof. Mattheus Goosen
Dr. Osman El-Mardi
Dr. Salim Ali Al-Rawahy
Dr. Salem Ali Al-Jabri
Mr. Harith Saleh Al-Nabhani
Dr. Charlie Paton
Graduate Students
Mr. Rashid Khalfan Al-Subhi
Executive Summary
To identify the optimal design parameters for the seawater greenhouse in terms of local weather
and soil conditions; to design and construct a demonstration commercial scale seawater
greenhouse at the Al-Hail site of Sultan Qaboos University; to develop a new plastic condenser
and grow crops in the greenhouse using fresh water produced from seawater; and to compare
performance of the seawater greenhouse and standard commercially-available greenhouses.
The greenhouse was equipped with a data logging system to monitor the water and air
temperatures, air relative humidity, solar radiation, condensation rate and fan speed in addition to
a state-of-the-art weather station located outside the greenhouse. A class A evaporating pan was
installed outside while a second pan was placed inside the seawater greenhouse to compare how
the potential evaporation differed. The evaporation pan can be used to estimate crop
evapotranspiration (ETc). The reference evapotranspiration (ETo) is obtained by measuring the
daily drop in water level in the pan and multiplying that with the pan coefficient (Kp), ETo is then
multiplied by the crop coefficient (Kc) to obtain ETc. The crop water requirement (ETc) was also
estimated using two well-established techniques, namely, the modified FAO Penman equation
and the atmometer technique. ETc is considered as the key parameter to determine the crop
water requirement. Crop production and management was compared to two commercial
greenhouses used in the region (one in Rusayl and the second in Barka). It was decided to grow
cucumber as it is widely grown in Oman using similar practices.
During the most water consumptive stage of the cucumber plant, the greenhouse in Barka used
almost 1/3 of its fresh water for cooling, and the one in Rusayl used 2/3, against zero of the
seawater greenhouse since it relies on seawater for cooling. The volume of fresh water generated
by the seawater greenhouse is determined by the air temperature, relative humidity, solar
radiation and airflow rate. These conditions were simulated using a thermodynamic model along
with Omani meteorological data. The detailed design and performance of the seawater
greenhouse was optimized. Water production ranged from 300 to 600 L/d. It was expected to be
even higher during the summer months. The crop water requirement in the seawater greenhouse
was found to be the least throughout the duration of the cropping season. This is due to the
automated adjustment of fan speed and hence wind velocity, as well as reduced incoming solar
radiation inside the seawater greenhouse compared to the other two greenhouses.
The project demonstrated the feasibility of designing a seawater greenhouse that can be used
commercially to grow crops. The current design of the greenhouse still needs further research
and development to fully exploit locally-available component alternatives. The seawater
greenhouse provides a solution to farmers in arid coastal regions around the world who are
suffering from salt affected soils and a shortage of fresh water for agriculture and do not want to
rely on scarce groundwater or rainwater. The seawater greenhouse provides a solution to a key
strategic problem: agricultural production in arid coastal regions.
Fish Product Development for Export and the Local Market: A Strategic
Program of Freshness, Quality Control, Microbiology and Processing of
Project Code:
Funding Source:
Start Date:
Team Members:
98,600 OMR
His Majesty’s Trust Fund
02 May 2002
3 years
Dr. Stephan Kasapis (P.I.)
Dr. Shyam Sablani
Dr. Hamed Said Al-Oufi
Dr. Nejib Guizani
Dr. Stephen Goddard
Dr. Ann Mothershaw
Dr. Frisco Consolacion
Dr. Ahmed Ali Al-Alawi
Mr. Ismail Mohamed Al-Bulushi
Ms. Insaaf M. Al-Marhubi
Dr. Akhtar Jamal Khan
Dr. Houcine Boughanmi
Graduate Students
Mr. Sultan Rashid Al-Maamari
Mr. Juma Salim Al-Musalami
Mr. Humaid Ali Al-Wailli
Executive Summary
Oman has very rich and diverse fish resources, and the income generated from the fisheries
sector is second only to that of oil. At least 50% of the fish species recorded off Oman are
considered of commercial value and the remaining have the potential as fish and animal feed.
This project aimed to develop industrial processing in fisheries by introducing a range of valueadded fish products such as fish fingers, cakes, burgers, sausages and breaded fillets for
consumption both locally and internationally.
Ingredients such as corn starch, commercial milk concentrates, soy isolates, gelatin extracts,
pectin, carrageenan, dried fruits, frozen vegetables, garlic, spices, monosodium glutamate
(MSG), sucrose, polyphosphate, salt, calcium chloride, potassium chloride and ice water were
added to fish meat to produce various mixtures. These mixtures were used to develop burgers,
nuggets and sausages. The coating formulation included egg protein and bread crumbs.
Textural, sensory, microbial and chemical analyses were conducted on the resulting material.
Market potential and consumer preference were determined by conjoint analysis. The product
attributes analyzed included form (finger, burger, nugget), package size, method of cooking and
The study provided alternative compositions of either protein hydrocolloids such as bovine
gelatin, milk powder or soy protein, polysaccharide hydrocolloids such as citrus pectin, Kcarrageenan, alginate, agarose, deacylated gellan, or galactomannan. This was a novel concept
to engineer organoleptic acceptability that appeared for the first time in proprietary and published
literature. Corn flour and relatively small amounts of non-starch hydrocolloids improved the
eating quality of minced fish products including burgers (with and without coating) and sausages.
Despite the initial microbial load, freezing at –20C and the inclusion of food additives
successfully decreased the aerobic bacterial count and coliform number during three-month
storage. Frozen storage at –20 C is inadequate to prevent peroxides value (PV) increase. So, to
minimize rancidity development and to maintain the high quality of the product, inclusion of
natural antioxidants is recommended. The overall physicochemical quality and microbial
acceptability of the burger was maintained for three months. The market study results indicate
that the average consumer in the Sultanate of Oman prefers the fish finger or nugget, formulated
for frying and packaged in a small packaging.
Purposeful development of fish products should take into consideration many factors, including
the demand of the local market and those abroad, the availability of good quality fish, the cost of
raw material, quality control and the effectiveness of processing. The project demonstrated that
significant value can be added to the raw fish material by “designing fish formulations” with an
appealing ‘mouth-feel’ for consumers. To this end, the project finalized the formulations of fish
burgers with and without coating as well as sausages using innovative hydrocolloid technology.
Sand Encroachment and Associated Hazards on the Roads and
Settlements in the Sultanate of Oman
Project Code:
Funding Source:
Start Date:
Team Members:
21,800 OMR
His Majesty’s Trust Fund
02 May 2002
4 years
Dr. Ahmed Abdelsalam Ali
Ms. Fatima Mohammed Al-Abri
Mr. Khalifa Suleiman Al-Zeidi
Research Assistants
Mr. Ahmed Salim Al-Busaidi
Mr. Mohammad Saif Al-Kalbani
Mr. Saif Amer Al-Maamari
Mr. Sultan Ahmed Al-Naamany
Mr. Abdulhameed Said Al-Subhi
Mr. Ali Mohammed Al-Amri
Ms. Suad Saud Al-Manji
Mr. Musalam Mahad Al-Amri
Mr. Khamis Abdullah Al-Miqbali
Mr. Awad Salim Al-Nasri
Mr. Abdullah Furaish Al-Raeisy
Executive Summary
To measure all kinds of sand dune encroachment in terms of rates of movement and amounts of
accumulated sand, identifying the problems resulting from sand encroachment, analyzing sand
dune morphological characteristics, as well as the characteristics of sediments and their sources,
classifying areas exposed to hazards of sand encroachment according to the degree of
seriousness and the need for intervention, and recommending methods to resist sand
encroachment in each individual region.
The study used more than one technique: (1) Field study was the major technique where: (a) 180
sand samples were collected from more than 200 sites and analyzed chemically, mechanically
and microscopically; (b) sand traps were used to study the quantities and direction of sand
encroachment; (c) measurement of movement in various ways, the most important being survey
devices and wind speed measurement. (2) Analyzing maps and aerial photos and space images.
(3) Laboratory analysis to study sand sediment size, elements and microscopic features by
utilizing a scanning electron microscope (SEM).
Various sand areas and forms were identified and then were divided into eight regions. Types
and patterns of sand dunes were also identified as longitudinal, crescentic, transverse, star and
network dunes. These types vary according to their movement rates and direction. Identification
of these is important as it results from different types and rates of movement. The results of the
sediment analysis of sand samples show that the sands range from fine to coarse sands. Sands
of 3 Ø represent 72% of sand samples, the largest percentage; 4 Ø represent about 13%; and
sand size of 1 and 5 Ø are negligible. Chemical analysis of sands showed presence of a
significant percentage of iron, chromium, zirconium and astronshiom. The results also identified
hazards and problems arising from sand encroachment: accumulation of sand on roads, reduced
visibility, burying farmland and the erosion of some desert infrastructure. Regions were divided
into three sectors in terms of the hazards requiring intervention. The rates of dune movement
differed from one region to another. The rate of movement reached 6.4 m/y in Um Alzmaim, 21
m/y in Al Duqm- Sinaw road, 8 m/y in Abu Ood near Ras Al Jinz. The rate of increase in the
height of dunes in Um Al Zamaim reached half a meter per month.
Sands cover approximately 20% of the area of the Sultanate. Sand encroachment causes various
problems to several roads and inhabited regions. Sand movements differ in speed, amount and
characteristics. The average sand movement ranges from 6 to 21 meters per year. The zones
exposed to sand movement can be classified according to whether they are high, medium or low
risk areas and whether there is a need for intervention. The most important recommendations are:
the continued collection of data through the periodical use of recording stations in the areas of sand
movement; the establishment of a desert research centre to trial various methods of sand
stabilization and urgent intervention in high risk areas.