Non-Target Screening of Organic Compounds in Offshore Produced Water by GC×GC-MS

Sofie N. Bergfors, Anh Khoa Huynh Ho, Annette Eva Jensen, Jonas Folke Sundberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Produced water is the largest by-product of oil and gas production. At off-shore installations, the produced water is typically reinjected or discharged into the sea. The water contains a complex mixture of dispersed and dissolved oil, solids and inorganic ions. A better understanding of its composition is fundamental to 1) improve environmental impact assessment tools and 2) develop more efficient water treatment technologies. The objective of the study was to screen produced water sampled from a producing field in the Danish region of the North Sea to identify any containing organic compounds. The samples were taken at a test separator and represent an unfiltered picture of the composition before cleaning procedures. The analytes were isolated by liquid-liquid extraction and derivatized using a silylation reagent to increase the volatility of oxygenated compounds. The final extracts were analyzed by comprehensive multi-dimensional gas chromatography coupled to a high-resolution mass spectrometer. A non-target processing workflow was implemented to extract features and quantify the confidence of library matches by correlation to retention indices and the presence of molecular ions. Approximately 120 unique compounds were identified across nine samples. Of those, 15 were present in all samples. The main types of compounds are aliphatic and aromatic carboxylic acids with a small fraction of hydrocarbons. The findings have implications for developing improved environmental impact assessment tools and water remediation technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

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