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Petroleum Analysis

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refinery petroleum

Why is Petroleum Analysis Important to You?

When petroleum-derived substances are found in the environment, there are many questions that need to be answered before an effective remediation plan can be implemented. Identifying whether the substance is a refined product or crude oil is the first step in determining an appropriate course of action, followed by further investigation to identify the source of contamination to prevent further environmental damage.

Whether your petroleum testing needs are driven by state regulations associated with a spill, a risk assessment or Superfund or RCRA site, Eurofins can help you determine the proper plan for remediation.

We can also perform a more in-depth forensic investigation to identify the source of the contamination in order to assess the liability for cleanup efforts for litigation purposes.

Why choose Eurofins?

  • Eurofins has three shifts of operation and more than 230,000 square feet of laboratory space that allow us to respond quickly to petroleum analyses.
  • We have staff members and equipment dedicated exclusively for petroleum testing.
  • We can accommodate testing requests for 47 states in one location, providing the same product deliverable with one client services representative or project manager.
  • We have 15 years of experience with petroleum analyses and the ability to further the investigation to identify fingerprints and interpret biomarkers.

General Testing Capabilities

Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons
Total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) are a large family of several hundred chemical compounds that originate from crude oil (mainly hydrogen and carbon).

Because TPH can be divided into groups (fractions) of petroleum hydrocarbons that act alike, it is not practical to measure each chemical separately. Rather, the total TPH should be measured in order to identify the mixture of chemicals contained in the sample.

Common TPH constituents found in UST cleanup, spill or contamination include jet fuels, diesel fuels, mineral oils, benzene, toluene, xylenes, PAHs such as naphthalene and fluorene, as well as other petroleum products and gasoline components.

Common Analysis Techniques
Gasoline Range Organics (GRO) by SW-846 8015

  • Purge-and-Trap GC/FID analysis
  • Gross measurement of organics in the C6-C10 range

Diesel Range Organics (DRO) by SW-846 8015

  • Sample is extracted with (CH2Cl2)
  • GC/FID analysis
  • Gross measurement of organics in the C10-C28 range
  • Extended ranges (ORO) to C35 can be performed

Specific Compound Identifications

  • Methods 8015, 8260, 8270, etc.
  • Examples: BTEX, MTBE, PAHs, Oxygenates, EDB
  • Alcohols

Interferences and Cleanups
Non-petroleum organics can elute in the GRO or DRO ranges, possibly resulting in false positives. Potential interferences may include:

  • Naturally occurring organic material
  • Terpenes
  • Animal and vegetable oils/fats
  • Phthalates
  • Chlorinated hydrocarbons
  • Phenols organic acids

Silica gel cleanup can be used to remove potential DRO interferences.

Forensic Testing Capabilities

Fingerprint TPH by GC/FID
Understanding what type of fuel you’re dealing with at your site can be critical to determining your best course of corrective action. We can provide you with the analysis and expert interpretation of your samples with unknown petroleum products. We analyze samples using GC/FID Method SW-846 8015B from C8-C40 to identify the extractable petroleum products in soil, water and natural fuels and compare your sample chromatogram against our petroleum standard reference library.

Your analysis report will detail the identified component(s) in your sample and qualitative, interpretative information with regard to the weathering of the petroleum product. We encourage you to submit a sample of the source or material so we can use it as a comparison to your samples.

PAHs, Alkylated PAHs and Biomarker Analysis (SW-846 8270 SIM) 
Some of the most important target analytes in damage assessment from petroleum products are PAHs and alkylated PAHs. Alkylated PAHs are characterized by the total number of alkyl carbon atoms present on the parent PAH compound. They are more abundant and persist for a longer time in the environment than the parent PAHs. Therefore, it is suggested that alkyl homolog concentrations should be combined with its parent concentration when performing risk assessments.

PAHs and alkylated PAHs can also be used in forensic analyses when presented as histograms that visually represent the relative target analyte concentrations for the purpose of qualitatively fingerprinting a petroleum sample. Crude oils contain primarily Alkylated PAHs and relatively small concentrations of the unsubstituted parent PAHs.

Biomarkers are complex organic compounds composed of carbon, hydrogen and other elements that are found in petroleum. They show little to no change in structure from their parent molecules found in living organisms, are unique to each source of petroleum and have been well documented.

Eurofins analyzes biomarkers, including terpanes, steranes and triaromatic steroids and provides the data in a format that can be used by petroleum experts to evaluate possible sources for the contamination. The biomarkers are often used in conjunction with other site data such as PAHs, alkylated PAHs and alkanes to determine the source of contamination.

Alkanes, Isoprenoids and Standard Hydrocarbons
Similar in scope to ASTM simulated distillation methods, our detailed aliphatic hydrocarbon profile, along with isoprenoid information and pristine/phytane (C17/C18) ratios are valuable tools that can assist in the characterization of crude oil either as a reference source or an environmental contaminant.

Eurofins provides analysis of water, salt water, soil, sediment, product and tissue samples for alkanes, TPH/SHC/DRO and isoprenoids using GC/FID SW-846 8015, including:

  • nC9 to nC40
  • Total TPH (C9-C40)
  • Total SHC
  • DRO (C10-C28)
  • Total Resolved SHC (C9-C40)
  • 2,6,10-Trimethyldodecane (1380)
  • 2,6,10-Trimethyltridecane (1470)
  • 2,6,10-Trimethylpentadecane (1650)
  • Pristane
  • Phytane