Standard Active Last Updated: Oct 20, 2022
ASTM D4929-22

Standard Test Method for Determination of Organic Chloride Content in Crude Oil

Standard Test Method for Determination of Organic Chloride Content in Crude Oil
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Significance and Use

5.1 Organic chlorides do not occur naturally in crude oil. When present, they result from contamination in some manner, such as disposal of chlorinated solvent used in many dewaxing pipeline or other equipment operations.

5.1.1 Uncontaminated crude oil will contain no detectable organic chloride, and most refineries can handle very small amounts without deleterious effects. Most trade contracts specify that no organic chloride is present in the crude oil.

5.1.2 Several pipelines have set specification limits at <1 mg/kg organic chlorides in the whole crude, and <5 mg/kg in the light naphtha, on the basis of the naphtha fraction being 20 % of the original sample. To ensure <1 mg/kg organic chloride in the crude oil, the amount measured in the naphtha fraction shall be <1/f (where f is the naphtha fraction calculated with Eq 3).

5.1.3 Organic chloride present in the crude oil (for example, methylene chloride, perchloroethylene, etc.) is usually distilled into the naphtha fraction. Some compounds break down during fractionation and produce hydrochloric acid, which has a corrosive effect. Some compounds survive fractionation and are destroyed during hydro-treating (desulfurization of the naphtha).

5.2 Other halides can also be used for dewaxing crude oil; in such cases, any organic halides will have similar impact on the refining operations as the organic chlorides.

5.3 Organic chloride species are potentially damaging to refinery processes. Hydrochloric acid can be produced in hydrotreating or reforming reactors and the acid accumulates in condensing regions of the refinery. Unexpected concentrations of organic chlorides cannot be effectively neutralized and damage can result. Organic chlorides are not known to be naturally present in crude oils and usually result from cleaning operations at producing sites, pipelines, or tanks. It is important for the oil industry to have common methods available for the determination of organic chlorides in crude oil, particularly when transfer of custody is involved.


1.1 The procedures in this test method cover the determination of organic chloride (above 1 μg/g organically-bound chlorine) in crude oils, using either distillation and sodium biphenyl reduction, distillation and microcoulometry, or distillation and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry.

1.2 The procedures in this test method involve the distillation of crude oil test specimens to obtain a naphtha fraction prior to chloride determination. The chloride content of the naphtha fraction of the whole crude oil can thereby be obtained. See Section 6 regarding potential interferences.

1.3 Procedure A covers the determination of organic chloride in the washed naphtha fraction of crude oil by sodium biphenyl reduction followed by potentiometric titration.

1.4 Procedure B covers the determination of organic chloride in the washed naphtha fraction of crude oil by oxidative combustion followed by microcoulometric titration.

1.5 Procedure C covers the determination of organic chloride in the washed naphtha fraction of crude oil by X-ray fluorescence spectrometry.

1.6 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

1.6.1 The preferred concentration units are micrograms of chloride per gram of sample, though milligrams of chloride per kilogram of sample is commonly used for Procedure C.

1.7 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.8 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 05.02
Developed by Subcommittee: D02.03
Pages: 16
DOI: 10.1520/D4929-22
ICS Code: 75.040