Risk assessment maps of oil spill for major desalination plants in the United Arab Emirates

Walid Elshorbagy, Abu Bakr Elhakeem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The current study developed oil spill hazard contour maps for the prediction of oil spill travel times and critical wind directions in association with major strategic desalination plants in United Arab Emirates. Five desalination plants were selected along the UAE coastline as potential destination points of oil spill hazards. These plants are Al-Shuwayhat, Al-Marfa, Umm AlNar and Taweelah, Jebel Ali and Al-Layah. Development of the hazard contour maps required the implementation of a large number of numerical simulations for hypothetical oil spills based on extreme case conditions using a coupled setup of hydrodynamic model and oil spill model. Calibration and verification of both models were conducted in an earlier study where the hydrodynamic simulated results were tested against actual documented measurements of tides and currents. The simulated flow pattern of the surface currents produced by the model was also compared with common cited patterns. Oil spill simulation was then conducted employing the resolved flow field and other hydrodynamic results. The produced maps are of practical benefit for the operators of the desalination plants as they provide them with direct estimate of the travel time a particular oil slick may take to threaten the desalination plant along with the critical wind direction necessary for such threat to prevail. This information will allow the operators to plan and take necessary actions needed to combat the oil spill threat in due time. The introduced concept is worth developing for any coastal desalination plant for different environmental conditions and for different oil types as well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-216
Number of pages17
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 15 2008


  • Contour maps
  • Desalination plant
  • Numerical modeling
  • Oil spill
  • Risk assessment
  • Travel time
  • Wind direction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


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