hydrocarbon fingerprinting by torkelson geochemistry


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Torkelson Geochemistry, Inc.

Torkelson Geochemistry, Inc. (TGI) specializes in providing laboratory and consulting services in the areas of hydrocarbon fingerprinting and physical properties of liquid petroleum products. TGI takes pride in providing high quality data and consultation in a timely fashion. TGI has been in business since 1995 and provides these services to several major companies and many environmental service companies, law firms and consultants.

Hydrocarbon fingerprinting or hydrocarbon characterization is used in assessment, remediation and/or litigation related to petroleum contaminated sites. Hydrocarbon fingerprinting provides information as to the type, degree of weathering, age, and possible source of spilled petroleum. The data used comes from high resolution capillary gas chromatography analysis, a technique not available at most environmental laboratories. High quality data combined with the expertise to interpret the results provides the client with useable information to better evaluate petroleum contaminated sites.

Determining the density, viscosity, surface tension, and interfacial tension of a liquid petroleum provides the basic data for modeling the recovery of petroleum spills. Environmental scientists have been working on better methods for estimating the volume and recoverability of free phase petroleum products in soil. These calculations require accurate interfacial and surface tensions between petroleum products, water, and air. It has been found that the interfacial and surface tension values for petroleum products recovered from soil are significantly different from literature values for the same petroleum product fresh from the dispenser. The calculated volumes are sensitive to these values and are significantly less than those obtained by "approximate" methods.

TGI helped develop the use of the statistical technique “correlation coefficients” to evaluate the results of hydrocarbon fingerprint (gas chromatography) data. The method objectively compares and contrasts the analytical results of two or more samples giving a single number that indicates the degree of similarity between the samples. This technique is especially useful for evaluating the data from large sets of samples, providing an objective guide, but does not eliminate the need expert interpretation of the data.

Bruce E. Torkelson

Bruce graduated in 1970 from Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota with majors in geology and biology. He attended the University of Tulsa where he received a Masters degree in geology. While employed by Amoco Production Company for 21 years, Bruce took various short courses and seminars related to organic geochemistry, petroleum exploration, computing, and personal improvement.

Bruce was involved in various aspects of organic geochemistry while working at the Amoco Production Company Research Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. As a technician in the lab he evaluated, installed, operated, maintained, and modified a variety of instruments and procedures. During 8 years experience doing technical service work he did routine evaluation of source rock and oil samples, both foreign and domestic. Bruce wrote reports, made presentations, helped plan sampling programs and assisted explorationists in sampling on field trips. His research experience at Amoco includes evaluating the technological needs of the explorationists, planning projects, doing the research, overseeing the work of others and delivering the results in the form of reports, presentations and seminars.

Since 1995, Bruce has owned and operated Torkelson Geochemistry, Inc. which specializes in providing laboratory and consulting services in the areas of hydrocarbon fingerprinting and petroleum reservoir continuity evaluation. Hydrocarbon fingerprinting is used for the assessment, remediation and/or litigation related to petroleum contaminated sites. Reservoir continuity evaluation is used to assess the compartmentalization in an oil or gas reservoir or field providing a more complete picture of the reservoir or field and how to more efficiently produce the trapped petroleum. Both areas rely on high quality capillary gas chromatography as the primary source of data and an experienced scientist to interpret the results.

Bruce has published on a variety of topics in organic geochemistry and more recently in the area of forensic geochemistry, more specifically the interpretation and use of hydrocarbon fingerprinting (high resolution gas chromatography).

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