The oil and gas industry spends significant time and money assessing crude oil impacts in soil. Current industry practice involves sending soil samples to an off-site laboratory for the analysis of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) with standard turnaround times of >5 days.

A novel handheld infrared device (RemScan™) can be used to measure crude oil contamination in soil in 20 seconds. This disruptive technology is being used to accelerate site closure, cut laboratory analysis costs, and to collect more data points for increased confidence. This paper presents results from an independent validation trial of the infrared device.

Methods, Procedures, Process

A number of crude oil contaminated soils were collected from several different tropical sites in South-East Asia. Samples were scanned using the infrared device and then sent to an accredited laboratory for analysis of TPH (C10-C36). Site-specific calibration models were loaded into the infrared device which was then used to predict the TPH concentrations of blind validation samples and the results were compared to the laboratory assay data.

Results, Observations, Conclusions

The results of the study show an excellent correlation between the infrared device and laboratory assay values in terms of both accuracy and repeatability. The occurrence of false positives and negatives is very low using a common remediation criterion.

The outcomes of this study show that the handheld infrared device can be confidently used as an infield screening tool for assessing oil contamination in tropical soils. This paves the way for significant time and cost savings for companies that are assessing and remediating crude oil contaminated soils in tropical regions.

Novel/Additive Information

The concept of taking the "lab to the field" for measuring crude oil contamination in soil, without compromising data quality, is now a possibility using the new handheld infrared device.

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