Similar to looking for fingerprints at a crime scene, petroleum forensics analyses can be used to directly compare contaminant releases to one another. Although the methods cannot be used to distinguish between petroleum vendors, or to identify a specific release date, they are useful in identifying the type of petroleum hydrocarbon present (diesel, gasoline, etc.) to determine chemical patterns that can be used for comparative analysis, and to provide insights into the general production timeframes (e.g. leaded gasoline vs. unleaded gasoline). By looking at the overall chemical makeup, as well as performing more in-depth biomarker analysis, our analytical suite can aid in investigations and provide scientifically sound data to support your case.
Does the release show signs of degradation?
What is the source?
Who is responsible for the release?
What are the contaminants?
PETRO FORENSICS ADVANTAGES:
Petroleum fingerprinting and forensics can provide conclusive evidence to resolve liability issues where a leak has occurred.
Fingerprinting oil to determine the source relies on the experience of an analytical chemist to compare the unique chemical fingerprint in the spill to the source oil. These fingerprints can provide information about processes in the environment which have impacted the oil such as weathering and biodegradation.
Similar to human fingerprinting, experienced chemists can analyze a sample and make a reasonable determination of who is responsible for a spill. Microbial Insights team of experienced scientists can help you determine the proper plan to assess the site and provide more in-depth analyses for cleanup or litigation purposes.
By more accurately identifying the contamination source and responsible parties, more informed decisions can be made in regard to management decisions and allocation of clean up costs.
HOW TO SELECT THE APPROPRIATE ANALYSES:
TIER 1 – GENERAL IDENTIFICATION
C3-C36 Whole Oil Fingerprint. General identification of refined petroleum or crude oil types present and general weathering attributes within a product sample.
TIER 2 FOR GASOLINE – IN-DEPTH INFORMATION
C3-C12 Semi-Quantitative Petroleum Characterization (PIANO). Detailed characterization of gasoline range petroleum types – gasoline, refinery feedstocks, aviation fuel, or condensate – data that are essential for gasoline source and age investigations. This analysis includes in-depth samples diagnostics related to environmental effects and refining properties.
Oxygenated Blending Agents. Quantifies oxygenated additives in gasoline – data that may aid in age constraining and source investigations of unleaded gasoline.
EDB and Organic Lead. Quantifies the five alkyl lead compounds added to gasoline as well as the lead scavenger, EDB – data that may aid in age constraining and source investigations of leaded gasoline.
TIER 2 FOR HEAVIER HYDROCARBONS – IN-DEPTH INFORMATION
C8-C40 Full Scan Semi-Quantitative Characterization. Provides fuel type characterization of crude oil and petroleum products heavier than gasoline by looking at the distribution of specific biomarkers. Used to compare diesel, fuel oils, lube oil, crude oil, etc. from different locations.
Parent and Alkylated PAHs. Provides a full panel of forensics grade PAH data to identify creosote, MGP residues, urban runoff, and other pyrogenic products. Useful for risk assessment.
TIER 3 – ISOTOPIC FINGERPRINTING
Compound Specific Isotope Analysis. Provides isotopic fingerprints of specific compounds within petroleum product, soil, or water samples – data that can further aid in source investigations.