Solvent Extraction

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Weatherford Laboratories has numerous procedures available for quantitative solvent extraction using different solvents and extraction methods, in addition to the preservation of volatile hydrocarbon components.

Solvent extraction of geological samples (cuttings, SWC, various core pieces, outcrops, etc.) is a crucial step in the quantification and characterization of petroleum in these materials. The physical and chemical properties of the petroleum cannot be fully determined in situ, so recovery from the host rock material is necessary.


Solvent extraction is widely used in organic geochemistry and can be qualitative (preparatory) or quantitative.

Solvent extraction involves contacting the sample with a solvent, such that the soluble components of that sample dissolve. Typically, the soluble and insoluble fractions are separated, and the soluble components are isolated and weighed by evaporation of the solvent. This provides what is known as the extractable organic matter (EOM) value. Experimental variables include the type of solvent used, the extraction method, time,  temperature, pressure, particle size of the rock, and nature of the material being extracted.

Weatherford Laboratories has extensive experience performing solvent extraction using various solvent and extraction methods.

The experience of our staff with many types of geological samples, together with the diversity of the extraction methods and solvents available, provides an unparalleled service to our customers. Solvent extraction is often performed where detailed molecular analyses can be conducted on the extractable material.  These tests are highly sensitive to contamination, and procedures need to be in place to prevent this. At Weatherford Laboratories, utmost care is taken to prevent contamination from all laboratory sources and sample-to-sample crosstalk.

Why is solvent extraction performed?

  • Quantifying amount of extractable organic matter (EOM)

  • Detection of migrated oil

  • Characterization of seeps and spills by recovering oil from environmental samples

  • Isolation of bitumen for further analysis

  • Preservation and characterization of light ends in preserved core samples

  • Extraction of source rocks for oil-source rock correlation

  • Characterization of reservoir fluids from core samples

  • Characterization of produced solids

  • Solubility testing

  • Removing OBM contamination from cuttings prior to TOC/SRA analysis


Solvent extraction of geological samples is a crucial step in the quantification and characterization of petroleum.