Main content area

An in-situ electropolymerization based sensor for measuring salt content in crude oil

Aleisa, Rashed M., Akmal, Naim
Talanta 2015 v.132 pp. 234-238
acetonitrile, analytical methods, aniline, calibration, detection limit, electric power, electrochemistry, electrodes, electrolytes, monitoring, oil and gas industry, petroleum, refining, salinity, salt content, silver, silver chloride, solvents, temperature, transportation
Determining salt content is a vital procedure in the petroleum industry during the process of crude oil transportation, refining and production. Monitoring the salinity value using a fast and direct technique can substantially lower the cost of crude oil in its processing and its production stages. In the present work, a novel analytical method was developed to detect the amount of salt present in crude oil in a quick and reliable manner. The measurement is based on the rate of in-situ electropolymerization of a monomer such as aniline in association with the salt content in the crude oil. The salt dispersed in the hydrocarbon matrix is used as an electrolyte in the electrolytic system to induce an electropolymerization reaction upon the induction of voltages, in which the salt content is measured corresponding to the polymeric film formation on the working electrode surface. Acetonitrile and N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) were used in the electrochemical cell as solvents, and cyclic voltammetry tests were performed for Arabian crude oil solutions in the presence of aniline. The method has shown an excellent detection response for very low concentrations of salt. Four Arabian crude oils with salt concentrations of 34.2, 28.5, 14.3 and 5.71mgL⁻¹ have produced current intensity of 180.1, 172.6, 148.1 and 134.2µA at an applied current potential of 1.75V (vs. Ag/AgCl), respectively. A Calibration curve was obtained in the range of 5–35mgL⁻¹, giving limits of detection and quantitation at 1.98 and 5.95mgL⁻¹, respectively. The in-situ electropolymerization based sensor has significant advantages over the existing techniques of salt monitoring in crude oil such as fast response, temperature independency, electrode stability, and minimum sample preparation.