Depleted oil resources along with sustained high expense of exploration and refinement are forecasted to lead to global economic disruption. The decline in oil supply production has been a recurrent issue until now as fuel comprises more than one third of the global energy supply and powers over 95% of transportation usage. Oil wells typically cost millions of dollars to build. Thus, oil companies spend an inordinate amount of time analyzing exploration data for indications of oil sources before drilling.
The determination of trace metals in petroleum products plays an active role in exploration and exploitation ventures throughout oil production. Elements or compounds identified in crude oil are often studied to gain insight on a petroleum source, which may then provide information relevant in oil formation. When oil presence is recognized, additional requirements such as production testing and appraisal wells are needed to identify the size and production capabilities of the reservoir.
Moreover, monitoring crude oil quality is crucial in saving both energy and resources. Geochemical identification of oil component concentrations is commonly performed by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) due to its sensitivity and reduced analytical time required. However, this technique is not capable of detecting metal presence at minute concentrations (ppb level). In these instances, Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption (GFAA) is often used as an alternative method with its enhanced detection of low concentrations when compared to ICP-OES.