Fast, Easy On-Site Measurement of Hydrocarbons in Drilling Mud and Oil in Water

Portable infrared analyzers, such as the InfraCal Analyzers from Wilks, have been used worldwide for measuring off-shore oil in produced water for over 30 years.  They have the advantage over other analytical instruments in that the measurement can be performed by non-technical users and it is relatively unaffected by composition changes in the effluent. They also provide off-shore users with the necessary ruggedness and reliability that is a key requirement.

In addition to their use for measuring oil content in produced water on oil drilling platforms, portable IR analyzers are ideal for both on- and off-shore oil measurements in drill cuttings.  If drill cuttings are to be disposed of via land application or overboard, there are limits on hydrocarbon levels depending on the disposal choice.

While water samples typically have hydrocarbon levels in the part per million (ppm) range, drill cuttings can be in the 1-10% range.  Both the InfraCal TOG/TPH Analyzer Model HATR-T2 and the new InfraCal 2 Model ATR-SP are configured with horizontal ATR sample stages.  Hexane, pentane or cyclohexane is used as the extraction solvent for oil in water levels from 0.3 to 1000 ppm range. The solvent is evaporated off and the infrared absorbance due to the residual oil film is measured.

The same InfraCal Analyzers with an ATR sample stage can be used for the higher 1-10% range found in drill cuttings.  The sample is diluted by using a solvent that does not have an infrared absorbance at the hydrocarbon wavelength such as tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene) or S-316 (dimer/trimer of chlorotrifluorethylene) and, therefore, does not require evaporation.  The solvent dilution allows for the high percent range measurements with the same ATR sample stage used to measure the ppm levels.

For further information on the use of the InfraCal Analyzers for measuring hydrocarbon content in drilling mud and oil in water, please contact:  Wilks Enterprise, A Spectro, Inc. Company, 25 Van Zant Street, Ste. 8F, E. Norwalk, CT  06855 USA, TEL: 203-855-9136, FAX: 203-838-9868, Email:, eb Site --, or to download the application note --

About Wilks Enterprise

Located in E. Norwalk, Connecticut, Wilks Enterprise is a Spectro, Inc. company specializing in easy-to-use, portable mid-infrared analyzers for specific measurement applications.  All Wilks analyzers have been specifically designed for on-site use by non-technical personnel and are used for a wide variety of applications in the biofuels, environmental, petrochemical, quality control, and manufacturing industries.  These portable analyzers enable analytical measurements to be made in the field, helping to eliminate the wait for off-site lab results.

InfraCal and Wilks are trademarks of Spectro, Inc.

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