Advances in Environmental Analytical Chemistry: Impacts on Modern Petroleum Production Monitoring and Oil Spill Science

February 21, 2018

This Thursday afternoon symposium, organized by Ryan P. Rodgers and Kevin Schug, will address recent analytical advances in the environmental monitoring of petroleum production activities and impact assessment of oil spills. The session will focus on advances in produced water, production chemicals, and oil spill characterization.

Session 1970

Room 207A

1:30–4:25 p.m.

This Thursday afternoon symposium, organized by Ryan P. Rodgers and Kevin Schug, will address recent analytical advances in the environmental monitoring of petroleum production activities and impact assessment of oil spills. The session will focus on advances in produced water, production chemicals, and oil spill characterization.

Imma Ferrer of the University of Colorado will present first with a talk titled “Analysis of Non-Ionic Surfactants in Hydraulic Fracturing Waters by LC-TOF-MS.” Ferrer will discuss research using time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOF-MS) to analyze and fingerprint the produced water from three locations in the Denver-Julesburg Basin in northeastern Colorado, which resulted in three groups of non-ionic surfactants that were identified and accurate mass databases that were developed.

The second talk is titled “Evaluation of Potential Environmental Impact from Unconventional Eastern US Shale Gas Wells - Is it Possible to Fingerprint a Well?” and will be presented by Frank Dorman of Penn State University. This presentation will address the sampling, sample preparation, and analysis of chemical materials in an effort to develop the chemical compositional understanding of post-drill or post-frac fluids so that source identification and source apportionment may be successful in the event of a release and resulting impact to surface and groundwater.

The next talk will be given by session co-organizer Kevin Schug of University of Texas at Arlington and is titled “From Groundwater Monitoring to Wastewater Treatment: Analytical Methodology to Support Environmental Stewardship in Unconventional Oil and Gas Development.” An overview of the method development to date for water analysis as it pertains to both environmental monitoring and wastewater treatment activities performed by CLEAR will be presented.

After a brief recess, Chris Reddy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) will present a talk titled “Archaean Biomarkers: Adding These Compounds to Environmental Forensics with GCxGC.” Reddy’s abstract explains that archaean, the third domain of life on Earth, have unique membrane lipids that form monolayer membranes with lipids that are ether-linked to glycerol with C20-C40 branched isoprenoid alkane moieties spanning the glycerol units at each end. Those acyclic isoprenoid lipids can serve as biomarkers for environmental oil spill forensics. Reddy’s talk will highlight the power of these biomarkers in source identification from the 2015 Refugio oil spill (Santa Barbara, California), which would only be attainable because of the high resolution and separation power of comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GCxGC).

The final talk of this session will be given by Matthew A. Tarr of the University of New Orleans and is titled “Sunlight Plus Oil: Making a Complex Mixture Even More Complex.” Tarr will discuss his work utilizing high resolution mass spectrometry to determine the molecular formulas present when oil samples were exposed to sunlight in the presence of water and air.