The Petroleum Analytical Process: From sample collection to measurement

The three types of petroleum analytical methods

  • Methods that measure a TPH concentration
  • Methods that measure a petroleum group type concentration (saturates, aromatics and polar/resins)
  • Methods that measure individual petroleum constituent concentrations (benzene, ethyl-benzene, toluene, and xylenes (BTEX), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

Most of the common analytical steps are related to the separation of analytes of interest from sample matrix prior to their measurement. In general, these steps are:

  • Collection and preservation – requirements specific to environmental matrix and analytes of interest
  • Extraction – separates the analytes of interest from the sample matrix
  • Concentration – enhances the ability to detect analytes of interest
  • Cleanup – may be necessary to remove interfering compounds
  • Measurement – quantifies the analytes


Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon Criteria Working Groups Series. Volume 1. Analysis of Petroleum Hydrocarbons in Environmental Media. March 1998. Amherst Scientific Publishers.

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