26 November 2013
SCI's London Group
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Mercury is a naturally occurring trace contaminant in hydrocarbon resevoirs which is distributed in all phases (oil, gas and water). The concentration of mercury at the well head is highly variable ranging from non-detectable quantities to saturated levels. Even low concentrations of Hg can be significant because of the large quantities of oil and gas processed. The presence of mercury may affect the oil and gas industry in a number of areas including damage to the processing plant, contamination of Hg in hydrocarbon products, environmental emissions and waste disposal. There is also a health and safety issue that needs to be considered. The inventory of mercury releases from this industry is rarely considered in global budgets and little is known about the fate and transportation of mercury from the raw to final products and to the environment.
Knowledge of the mercury content in petrochemical feed-stocks and refinery products is extremely important. The damage caused to petrochemical plants can be financially crippling especially when unscheduled shutdowns are forced. Mercury has been found to be responsible for many cases of selective hydrogeneration catalyst deactivation even at low concentrations. These are typical based on palladium of platinum which form a strong amalgam with Hg. Mercury is also known to be the cause of corrosion problems with aluminium-based heat exchangers which operate at cryogenic temperatures, rotors and condensers at nautral refinery plants. Heat exchanger replacement is a costly operation due to the capital investment of the exchanger itself and the plant down time incurred for its replacement. Because of these facts many plants install mercury removal systems to ensure that important parts of the plant are protected, this means that periodic measurements of the outlets of these removal systems need to be made to ensure that they are working correctly. Also other parts of the plant require accurate measurements to help provide a better understanding of the fate of mercury. The challenges of trace analytical mercury measurements will be discussed.
The presentation will provide a general summary of what we understand and beleive to be the fate of Hg and the potential impact of mercury from the oil and gas industry as a global pollutant.
Department of Chemistry
University College London
20 Gordon Street
London, WC1H 0AJ
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The lecture will be preceded by tea/coffee in the Nyholm room and followed by a Mixer in the Nyholm Room.
SCI Comms Team
Tel: 0207 598 1594
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Dr Warren Corns
PS Analytical Ltd