In this study, we evaluated the hydrocarbon removal efficiency and microbial diversity of different soil layers. The soil layers with high counts of recoverable hydrocarbon degrading bacteria had the highest hydrocarbon removal rate compared with soil layers with low counts of hydrocarbon degrading bacteria. Removal efficiency was 48% in the topsoil, compared with 31% and 11% at depths of 1.5 and 1m, respectively. In the 1 and 1.5m soil layers, there was no significant difference between total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) removal in nutrient amended treatments and controls. The respiration rate reflected the difference in the number of bacteria in each soil layer and the availability of nutrients. High O2 consumption corresponded positively with high TPH removal. Analysis of the microbial diversity in the different soil layers using functional diversity (community-level physiological profile, via Biolog) and genetic diversity using polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) of 16S rDNA revealed differences in, respectively, substrate utilisation patterns and DGGE profiles of 16S rDNA fragments. Microbial diversity as revealed by DNA fragments was lower in the highly contaminated soil layer (1.5m) than in the topsoil and at 1m.