petroleum generation and maturation

Aug 14th, 2016
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Petroleum ChemistryThe topic of organic chemistry is very complex, even though our concerns are only with the simplest organiccompound group, the hydrocarbons. This is the group that makes up most of petroleum. Strictly speaking,hydrocarbons are compounds that contain only two elements, hydrogen and carbon. Consequently, petroleum isquite simple in its elemental composition. It contains relatively few impurities, mainly atoms of nitrogen, sulfur, andoxygen. Table 1 (below), shows the average composition of petroleum in all three of its natural states of matter, asnatural gas, liquid crude oil and solid or semi-solid asphalt.Table 1: Average chemical compositions of natural gas, crude oil, and asphalt (from Levorsen 1979)ElementCrude OilAsphaltNatural Gas(% Weight)(% Weight)(% Weight)Carbon82.2 - 87.180 - 8565 - 80Hydrogen11.7 - 14.78.5 - 111 - 25Sulfur0.1 - 5.52-8trace - 0.2Nitrogen0.1 - 1.50-21 - 15Oxygen0.1 - 4.5------------Sulfur and nitrogen are both undesirable elements within petroleum. Sulfur is most abundant in the heavier crude oilsand in asphalt. It can also occur in natural gas mixtures such as the poisonous corrosive gas H 2S. Such natural gas iscalled sour gas (as opposed to sweet gas, where H2S is low or absent) . Nitrogen content is generally higher in bothasphalts and natural gas, when compared to crudes. In asphalt, it occurs mostly in high molecular weighthydrocarbon compounds called NSO comp

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