Analytical Instrumentation

Sulfur Determination From Crude Oil to Gasoline

Dec 13 1901

Author: Scott Fess on behalf of Spectro Analytical Instruments

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With federal and international regulations, as well as traded fuel specifications, becoming more and more stringent, the determination of sulfur content is a critical value in quantifying petroleum oils and fuel products. Sulfur determination is increasingly important, affecting not only the environment through sulfur emissions when fuel is burned, but also the price of crude oils and other base products. In 2006 US road fuels will be required to contain no more than 15 mg/kg sulfur, with regulations for off-road fuels soon following suit to this ultra-low sulfur limit. In the coming years regulations and traded specifications may limit sulfur content even more. Accurately measuring and monitoring sulfur is therefore of prime importance, from crude oil and bunker fuels to refined fuel products such as gasoline and diesel. In today’s’ petroleum market especially, minimizing cost and maximizing profit requires close monitoring of crude oil and fuels in pipelines, shipping transport and crude oil blending, as well as throughout the refining and distribution processes in bringing diesel and gasoline to the consumer. Fuels such as bunker fuel and residual oils are also closely regulated. Accurate measurement of not only sulfur, but also of additive elements or wear metals is essential in the characterization of other petroleum products such as residual oils, lube oils, motor oils and used waste oils. A broad array of instrumentation has been developed to meet the demand of such oil characterization and quality control.

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