The molecular profiles of aromatics generated through hydropyrolysis with the free (maltene) counterpart were compared, with a view to assessing the effectiveness of using molecular information for the aromatics bound in asphaltene matrix for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon source apportionment studies. The results obtained from gas chromatograph-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) total and selected ion molecular profiles of free and bound aromatics for Nigeria crude oil shows that the solvent extractible aromatics has either been heavily biodegraded or covered by humic materials arising from microbial activity and will therefore need further purification to resolve the aromatic hydrocarbons present. However, the aromatics released via hydropyrolysis (trapped in asphaltene matrix) are still preserved. The molecular profile of asphaltene derived aromatics is highly dominated by both alkylated parent and parent polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons such as methyl fluoranthene and pyrene, benzo (b/k) fluoranthene.
Key words: Crude oil, aromatics, hydropyrolysis.
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