The presence of elemental mercury and mercury compounds has been reported in some produced hydrocarbons from southern fields in South America.
Although mercury removal from natural gas is a common industrial practice, that is not the case for crude oil. Mercury is a trace contaminant that is known to have severe associated problems in the petroleum industry, whose consequences may have impact on both environmental and facilities integrity/safety with undesirable costs.
Petrobras Argentina has worked in a mercury removal project that has been implemented with success. The process treatment is being applied to crude oil from E&P Petrobras Argentina concessions areas. As a result, a purified oil with much lower mercury concentration is achieved. Crude oil having acceptable mercury content is now commercialized in the market, with no restrictions.