Identification of estrogen-like alkylphenols in produced water from offshore oil installations
Produced water released into the sea from oil installations contains a vast number of organic compounds. This work focuses on the analysis and identification of phenols in produced water, in particular long-chain para-substituted alkylphenols, which act as endocrine disruptors for marine biota. Some alkylphenol standards, unavailable commercially, have been synthesised and some compounds of interest identified. However, a complete identification is not possible since conventional GC techniques cannot achieve the desired degree of separation. An overview of the levels of the 52 known alkylphenols in produced water from nine oil installations in the North and Norwegian Seas has been made. The previously unidentified alkylphenols in produced water have been characterised by means of alkylphenol retention indices (APRI) and mass spectrometry, and their total amounts estimated for the same nine locations. Our results confirm the presence of naphthols and other as yet unidentified compounds in produced water, while thiophenols were not detected by the used technique.