The oil affected soil properties including physical, chemical, and geotechnical properties. Contamination also caused extensive plant and animal mortality, seeped into the soil layers where it reached the freshwater aquifers in Kuwait and continues to impair ecosystem functioning. Hence, it was recommended to remediate the contaminated soil along with clearing these areas of UXO (Unexploded Ordnance) to reduce its impact on the environment or use the contaminated soil for engineering purposes.

The SEED project

In 2012, the SEED (Sustainable Environmental Economic Development) project was launched for remediation of soil in the Burgan Oil Fields, considered to be the world’s second largest oilfield and containing most of Kuwait’s oil. The project, funded by the United Nations, covers remediation of various contaminated features of oilfield properties to acceptable levels and restoring ecological functions of the soil. It aims to remediate approximately 0.9 million cubic metres of soil and 0.16 million cubic metres of sludge and recover 0.8 million barrels of free phase oil by 2016.