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The analysis of crude oils and crude oil fractions is based on the identification of the molecular composition of the ionized and detected compound in these complex mixtures by ultra-high resolution mass spectrometry.

Mainly hetero atoms containing compounds causing solid deposition, corrosion problem etc. can be ionized and detected by different ambient ionization methods such as APPI, APCI and ESI. These compounds can even be ionized directly by laser desorption/ionization in minutes without sample preparation. The resulting mass spectra can be transferred to relative abundance plots of compound classes (C vs. DBE plot) for interpretation of the data giving chemical structural information.

Compound class S
Compound class S2

Oils from different origin can be distinguished by bulk properties such as sulfur content, nitrogen content, gravity, API, nickel, vanadium etc. However, these are only bulk parameters and they are not based on detailed compound composition. Ultra-high resolution mass spectrometry gives insight into those compounds responsible to separate oils from different origin.

Statistical methods such as Principle component analysis can be used to find these marker compounds and/or marker compound classes to separate these samples. In this example oils from South America (SAM) were identified by higher content of the vanadyl porphyrin class compared to oils from Saudi Arabia (SAU) whereas those oils had a higher content of the chemical class S2.

Compound Oil
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