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Abstract

A world-wide suite of 82 crude oils and 21 solid bitumens was analyzed for concentrations of cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, vanadium, and zinc. The oils analyzed are predominantly heavy oils, having a mean API gravity of 17.4° and a mean asphaltene content of 15.5%. Preliminary tests indicated that the metal content cannot be reduced by passing the oils through a 5 micron filter. For both the oil and solid bitumen data sets, vanadium, nickel, and iron are in highest concentration. The concentrations of nickel, cadmium, vanadium, chromium, and molybdenum show negative correlations with API gravity, although no correlation coefficients (r) are greater than 0.80. The remaining elemental concentrations show no correlation with either API gravity or asphaltene content. Mean metal concentrations in the solid bitumens are higher than those in the oils in every case. The consistent relationship between mean concentrations for the two groups suggests the existence of a genetic continuum containing conventional oils, heavy oils, and solid bitumens. These data are useful in a beginning effort to apply transition metal data to petroleum exploration efforts. Ultimately, metal data will be useful in predicting oil type and volume capable of generation from an oil source rock.

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