Published: Jan 1965
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Thank you, Mr. Smith. Lady and Gentlemen, it is a real pleasure for me to be here in Houston with you this afternoon and to chair the first session of this symposium. The first session of the symposium has been entitled, “Where We Are and A Look Ahead.” Thus, it is a review of the past which has established the foundation upon which to build a sound future growth for hydrocarbon analysis. It is my privilege to face the “future” with you. As an old timer, myself, in the field of analytical chemistry, I might be permitted to indulge in a few reminiscences; however, I will not yield to this temptation, but rather I should like to picture for you in just a few moments my own views of the future challenges and opportunities which hydrocarbon analysis holds for the young scientists in the petroleum industry. The scientific method depends upon the reproducible experiment, and the reproducible experiment depends upon the ability of the scientist to make measurements of known precision. Precise measurements of composition of hydrocarbons still offer a great challenge. This challenge is in terms of both the qualitative and quantitative identification of the hydrocarbons present in the myriad of petroleum streams which are available to the petroleum technologist. In the papers to be presented this afternoon you will witness the great progress already made in this field. But in spite of this progress, it is my own belief that there remain three areas of opportunity to be seriously considered by the modern petroleum analysts. They are: 1. More detailed ana lysis of hydrocarbons with particular emphasis on trace analyses. It seems probable that the presence of trace components in hydrocarbons will have greater and greater significance in the future. Such detailed analyses presenta wealth of data which in the past have been difficult for the engineer to interpret and utilize. However, with the advent of modern electric computers, we now have the facilityfor the assimilation of vast amounts of analytical data to aid in their interpretation. Such interpretation leads directly into the second opportunity. 2. Determine the relationships between hydrocarbon composition and the performance characteristics of petroleum products with the goal of eliminating the empirical relationships used tothis day. This area of opportunity is not solely the purview of the analytical chemist, but the analytical chemist and his new tools constitute an essential member of the group of scientists who will be required in the future to eliminate this empiricism from product performance characteristics and who will ultimately relate product performance directly to composition analysis. 3. The third and last opportunity as I see it, is the usual opportunity universally prevalent in profit-oriented industry. This is the opportunity for lowering the cost of significant analyses. Two things are important in this area--reduction of cost, and a careful appraisal of the analyses which are significant. No analysis should ever be made year in and year out by scarce technologists and sophisticated, costly equipment unless practical use is being made of the data obtained and there is economic justification for the results.
Scovill, W. E.
The Standard Oil Company, Cleveland, Ohio