The solubility of noble gases in crude oil at 25-100°C

Applied Geochemistry
By:  and 



The solubility of the noble gases He, Ne, Ar, Kr and Xe was measured in two typical crude oils at temperatures of 25–100°C. The oil samples were obtained from the Elk Hills oil field located in southern San Joaquin Valley, California. The experimental procedure consisted of placing a known amount of gas with a known volume of crude oil in a stainless steel hydrothermal pressure vessel. The vessel was housed inside an oven and the entire unit rotates providing continuous mixing. The amount of gas dissolved in oil at a measured temperature and partial pressure of gas was used to calculate the solubility constants for these gases. Results show that the solubility of He and Ne in both oils is approximately the same; solubility then increases with atomic mass, with the solubility of Xe at 25°C being two orders of magnitude higher than that of He. The gas solubilities are somewhat higher in the lower density (higher API gravity) oil. The solubility of Ar is approximately constant in the range of temperatures of this study. The solubilities of He and Ne increase, but those of Kr and Xe decrease with increasing temperatures. Solubilities of noble gases in crude oil are significantly higher than their solubilities in water. For example, the solubilities of He and Xe at 25°C in the light oil of this study are, respectively, 3 and 24 times higher than their solubilities in pure water, and they are 15 and 300 times higher than in a brine with a salinity of 350,000 mg/l dissolved solids. These large and variable differences in the solubilities of noble gases in oil and water indicate that, in sedimentary basins with oil, these gases must be partitioned between oil, water and natural gas before they are used to deduce the origin and residence time of these fluids.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The solubility of noble gases in crude oil at 25-100°C
Series title Applied Geochemistry
DOI 10.1016/0883-2927(88)90001-7
Volume 3
Issue 2
Year Published 1988
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Description 8 p.
First page 137
Last page 144
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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