Two New Standards Aid in Determination of Mercury in Crude Oils

ASTM D7622 and D7623 "should bring uniformity in testing across the industry," said David Hwang, vice chairman of Subcommittee D02.03 on Elemental Analysis.

An ASTM International subcommittee recently released two new standards for quantitatively determining the trace amounts of mercury in crude oils. ASTM D7622, Test Method for Total Mercury in Crude Oil Using Combustion and Direct Cold Vapor Atomic Absorption Method with Zeeman Background Correction, and ASTM D7623, Test Method for Total Mercury in Crude Oil Using Combustion-Gold Amalgamation and Cold Vapor Atomic Absorption Method, were developed by Subcommittee D02.03 on Elemental Analysis. It is part of ASTM International Committee D02 on Petroleum Products and Lubricants.

"Mercury is a contaminant in fossil fuels, both coal and crude oil, and has harmful toxicological effects on both human and marine life," said Kishore Nadkarni of Millennium Analytics Inc., East Brunswick, N.J., and chairman of the subcommittee. "Emission of mercury during crude oil refining or coal burning during power generation may contaminate refined products, as well as the ecosphere."

Nadkarni, noting these are the first standards developed for determination of mercury in crude oils, said there are other ASTM International standards used for determining mercury in other fossil fuels, including these:

  • ASTM D5954, Test Method for Mercury Sampling and Measurement in Natural Gas by Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy
  • ASTM D6350, Test Method for Mercury Sampling and Analysis in Natural Gas by Atomic Fluorescence Spectroscopy
  • ASTM D3684, Test Method for Total Mercury in Coal by the Oxygen Bomb Combustion/Atomic Absorption Method
  • ASTM D6414, Test Methods for Total Mercury in Coal and Coal Combustion Residues by Acid Extraction or Wet Oxidation/Cold Vapor Atomic Absorption
  • ASTM D6722, Test Method for Total Mercury in Coal and Coal Combustion Residues by Direct Combustion Analysis

"The methods standardized in ASTM D7622 and ASTM D7623 are being used in oil industry laboratories for analysis but were not standardized throughout the industry until now," said Chevron Energy Technology Co.'s David Hwang, vice chairman of D02.03. "This standardization should bring uniformity in testing across the industry and facilitate decisions in commerce and regulatory compliance."

The committee's next meeting is Dec. 5-9 in Jacksonville, Fla.

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