Hydrocarbon Fingerprinting

What is Hydrocarbon Fingerprinting?

Hydrocarbon fingerprinting can provide the identification of petroleum types such
as leaded and unleaded petrol, kerosene, diesel, aviation fuel etc. Hydrocarbon
Fingerprinting provides information on:

  • Product type, whether a single product or a mixture is present
  • Identification of specific chemical biomarkers and additives
  • Product age estimation, based on degradation of a range of compounds
  • Weathering which can be through biodegradation, volatilisation and/or water washing

This information can be valuable in the determination of environmental
risk, determining responsibility for site contamination, identifying possible
sources of contamination and can be used to help determine the best
approach to remediate.

Why Perform Hydrocarbon Fingerprinting?

Leeder Analytical reports are legally defensible with accurate results to assist
with investigations with respect to oil spills, identification of source contamination ie
petrogenic/biogenic, single or multiple sources of contamination and the
determination of the timeframe in which contamination may have occurred.


Source Contamination/Age:

Contamination may occur from one product or a mixture of different products.
Hydrocarbon Fingerprinting can distinguish between multiple sources of
contamination and provide an estimate as to how long it has been in the environment
for. The information provided can be valuable in determining who is responsible
for the contamination for litigation or for apportion of clean-up costs.

Petrogenic vs Biogenic:

Unusual TPH results can cause confusion on sites where there is no suspected
history of hydrocarbon contamination. Hydrocarbon Fingerprinting can be used
to determine if results are due to naturally occurring hydrocarbon material such
as plant waxes and algae which can contribute to TPH results

Oil Spill:

These can occur in marine environments where oil can be washed up on coastlines.
By taking several samples from suspect vessels and the contamination itself, fingerprinting
can be used to determine which vessel caused the spill. Fingerprinting is also used to
determine the effectiveness of the clean-up operation. Samples taken after clean up can
be analysed to determine how the oil is degrading and if further remediation is required.

Important information on sample collection:

Hydrocarbon Fingerprinting can be performed on the smallest amount of free product.
Typically samples are collected in 40mL VOA vials filled to the top with no headspace
and no preservative. If a sheen of free product is present which is difficult to collect in a
VOA vial we can supply sheen sampling nets. Chill with ice or chiller bricks for
transportation to Leeder Analytical office. Upon receipt to our office you will receive
notification of receipt and a request sheet for site information. The more information
you can provide on the site, the greater detail on the sample will be reported.


For a free quote or a discussion on how Leeder Analytical can assist you with our analytical testing services please contact us today via the contact form below

To talk to a Representative regarding our services, please call 03 9481 4167