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Direct trace element determination in oil and gas produced waters with inductively coupled plasma - Optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES): Advantages of high salinity tolerance

January 31, 2020

Waters co-produced during petroleum extraction are the largest waste stream from oil and gas development. Reuse or disposal of these waters is difficult due to their high salinities and the sheer volumes generated. Produced waters may also contain valuable mineral commodities. While an understanding of produced water trace element composition is required for evaluating the associated resource and waste potential of these materials, measuring trace elements in brines is challenging due to the dilution requirements of typical methods. Alternatively, inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) has shown promise as being capable of direct measurements of trace elements within produced waters with minimal dilution. Here we evaluate direct ICP-OES trace element quantification in produced waters for 17 trace elements (As, Al, Ba, Be, Cd, Cr, Co, Cu, Hg, Mo, Ni, Pb, Rb, Sb, U, V, and Zn) within 15 produced waters from five U.S. continuous reservoirs. The ICP-OES results are compared against trace element levels determined using inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry from the same samples. Our results demonstrate the potential for direct analysis of high salinity waters using ICP-OES with minimal dilution and provide trace element concentrations in waters from several important U.S. petroleum-generating reservoirs where available data is sparse.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2020
Title Direct trace element determination in oil and gas produced waters with inductively coupled plasma - Optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES): Advantages of high salinity tolerance
DOI 10.1111/GGR.12316
Authors Aaron M. Jubb, Mark Engle, Jessica Chenault, Madalyn Blondes, Cloelle G. Danforth, Colin Doolan, Tanya Gallegos, Dan Mueller, Jenna Shelton
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research
Series Number
Index ID 70208237
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Eastern Energy Resources Science Center