MANUAL Published: 08 November 2019

Chapter 32 | Mass Spectrometry in the Petroleum Industry


Petroleum is one of nature's most complex mixtures and, as a result, it poses a significant analytical challenge. Although mass spectrometry has long been associated with the analysis of petroleum, it is only in more recent years that the detailed characterization of such samples became more viable, as a result of increases in performance of mass spectrometers. Ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry, particularly Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR MS), has played a leading role in advancing understanding of the molecular composition of petroleum and its products. This chapter provides an overview of some of the key developments associated with modern “petroleomics.” Time-of-flight (ToF), Orbitrap, and FT-ICR mass analyzers are introduced, as well as two-dimensional gas chromatography and ion mobility mass spectrometry. Different ionization methods are covered, including electrospray ionization (ESI), atmospheric pressure photoionization (APPI), atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI), atmospheric pressure laser ionization (APLI), matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI), and laser desorption/ionization (LDI). The approach to data analysis, such as the use of the Kendrick mass scale, is introduced and different visualization methods are included. Finally, two areas of recent applications are discussed: the characterization of asphaltenes and the study of petroleum in the environment.

Author Information

Lozano, Diana
Dept. of Chemistry, University of Warwick, Coventry, GB
Chacón-Patiño, Martha
National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Tallahassee, Florida, US
Gomez-Escudero, Andrea
Grupo de investigación Plaguicidas y Salud, Universidad del Quindío, Armenia, CO
Barrow, Mark
Dept. of Chemistry, University of Warwick, Coventry, GB
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Developed by Committee: D02
Pages: 1151–1169
DOI: 10.1520/MNL3720160029
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-7090-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-7089-6