Since there are decreasing petroleum reserves, it is more important than ever to increase the value of every carbon atom in every drop of oil. Only through greater understanding of oil byproducts and catalysts, ideally on an atomic size, would crude oil's value rise. Because of the comprehensive and potent analytical data it offers, using synchrotron radiation to analyze the fine, atomic details of these items has shown to be highly helpful.
Within the oil industry, synchrotron radiation can offer previously unattainable information in a variety of fields:
- Analysis of crude oil's trace constituents to ascertain the migration path of the oil
- Use small-angle X-ray scattering to examine how the mixed fluids (oil, water, gas, and sand) that start in the reservoir react to changes in temperature and pressure as they are transported to the surface.
- Fluid inclusions can be analyzed by infrared microscopy
- Identifying the structural and electrical properties of catalytic materials while they are in use