Characterization of some crude oil samples from Niger delta area of Nigeria using infrared absorption spectrometric technique

Temple Nwoburuigwe Chikwe and Mudiaga Chukunedum Onojake

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Crude oil obtained from different locations in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria was analyzed by Infrared Absorption Spectrometric technique using Nicolet IS5 Fourier Transform spectrometer to identify the functional groups and compounds in the samples. Results obtained revealed that the amount of surface active components in the crude was in following trend, sample E > sample A > sample C > sample D > sample B, while the level of biodegradability follows the trend; sample E > sample B > sample A > sample C > sample D. Results show that Sample E has the highest amount of surface active components as well as the highest level of biodegradability. Sample B has the least amount of surface active components, while sample D has the least level of biodegradability. The presence of functional groups such as amines, sulfates, isocyanates, hydroxyl, halo compounds, thiols and nitro compounds in the crude increases the surface active properties of the crude due to their polarity and hydrophilicity, which influences the interfacial tension of the crude and the oil recovery efficiency. The level of crude biodegradability is dependent on the amount of aliphatic saturates in the crude, the concentration of acidic components as well as sulphur and nitrogen compounds in the crude. Infrared spectroscopy identifies the functional group in crude samples, this is necessary in knowing the amount of the surface active components and the level of biodegradability of crude oil.