Compositional Analysis of Heavy Petroleum Distillates by Comprehensive Two-dimensional Gas Chromatography, Field Ionization and High-resolution Mass Spectrometry

  • Kuangnan QianEmail author
  • Frank C. Wang
Research Article


We report recent progresses of combining comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (2DGC or GC × GC) separation, field ionization (FI), and time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOF MS) for the detailed analysis of vacuum gas oil distillation (VGO) cuts. 2DGC separates petroleum molecules by the combination of boiling point and polarity. FI generates molecule ions-only mass spectra. TOF MS allows accurate mass analysis of hydrocarbon molecules. A new data analysis strategy is implemented for compositional analysis. First, all masses were separated into nominal mass classes. Since petroleum homologues have unique Kendrick mass defects (KMD), KMD plots were generated for easy recognition of homologues series within each nominal mass class. Finally, KMD windows were imposed for complete resolution of petroleum molecules. Using this approach, a total of 16 hydrocarbon types, 14 sulfur types, and their carbon number distributions were determined in the three VGO distillation cuts. Two series of geological biomarkers were also revealed by the analysis.


Petroleum composition Field ionization Two-dimensional GC Time-of-flight MS Kendrick mass defect Petroleum biomarkers Accurate mass Vacuum gas oil Nominal mass class 



Authors greatly appreciate the assistance of Ms. Tara Reddington for the 2DGC and 2D-GC-TOF MS experiments.

Supplementary material

13361_2019_2349_MOESM1_ESM.docx (75 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 74 kb)


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Copyright information

© American Society for Mass Spectrometry 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ExxonMobil Research Engineering CompanyAnnandaleUSA

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