Carbon catalysed hydrogen exchange in petroleum source rocks
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Exchange of carbon bound hydrogen has been observed when alkenes, saturated and aromatic hydrocarbons are heated at moderate temperatures on carbonaceous surfaces (activated carbon and coal). Isomerisation of alkenes and the formation of hydrogenated/dehydrogenated products from the saturated and aromatic reactants resulted. A suite of crude oils from the Carnarvon Basin (Western Australia) have been analysed with a view to comparing their relative abundances of structurally similar hydrocarbons. The consistent relationships between hydrocarbons in crude oils that are chemically related via hydrogenation/dehydrogenation reactions suggest that a hydrogen exchange process similar to that demonstrated in laboratory experiments occurs during crude oil formation in sedimentary rocks.
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