Extractive Industries

At the James Hutton Institute's Aberdeen site, a number of services from analytical chemistry laboratories, excel at problem solving for extractive industries including FTIR, XRD, SEM and Isotope Analysis

Oil and Gas

James Hutton Limited analytical techniques are useful for geoscientists and chemists in the oil and gas sectors to enable decision making in relation to exploration and reservoir appraisal, production start-up and commissioning, production control/enhancement/compliance, pipeline system integrity/flow assurance and decommissioning.  The business supports a number of large oil companies and platform operators to solve industry wide problems through analytical chemistry services.  

An established team of world-leading scientists, based at the James Hutton Institute’s Aberdeen site, provide expert analysis and interpretation of results which enable the delivery of powerful solutions.

Most materials can be analysed; large or small, liquid or solid.  This might include oils, sludges, sediments, produced waters/solids, minerals and drill cuttings. 

In particular, specialisms lie in problem samples and ‘unknown’ contaminants.  If there is something that is not supposed to be there, using a variety of integrated techniques, analysts will attempt to identify what it is, where it’s come from and suggest possible remedies. 

People are what set us apart from other analytical laboratories.  The scientists that carry out analyses for James Hutton Limited are dedicated experts in their own techniques with many years of experience, which provides a more detailed understanding and interpretation of results than a high throughput laboratory.  A small, close knit team also means that techniques are often combined to find the most accurate results for clients and there are extensive material libraries and experiences to draw from.   

Additional analytical services for the oil and gas industry are available through our marketing partner Ellington Geological Services 

Analytical Applications for Oil & Gas

  • The identification of any crystalline substances, such as most minerals and quantification of the proportions of different minerals or indeed many other substances when they are present in a mixture
  • Identification of components in complex mixtures such as scales, deposits, drilling fluids and muds 
  • Characterisation of paints or the analysis of soils from contaminated land
  • Biological (plants, fungi, bacteria, insects)
  • Geological (mineralogy, grain size, mineral relationships, porosity)
  • Fibres (glass, asbestos, natural, manmade)
  • Powders and Dust
  • Surface area and porosity measurement
  • Isotope analysis 

Mining Supply Chain 

James Hutton Limited offers a broad range of services for the mining industry, ranging from world-leading mineralogy expertise through to environmental impact assessments, public enquiries and developing strategies for land reclamation and vegetation establishment. 

We have worked with many companies in this sector including mining operations in Australia, USA and the UK. 

All operations are covered by ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 accreditation and many of the analytical methods by ISO17025.

Analytical Applications for Mining

  • Answering a wide variety of mineralogical questions from discovery and recovery through to reclamation and remediation
  • Environmental monitoring, impact and protection assessments s for wildlife, vegetation, soil, water, communities, contamination 
  • Risk assessment for the release of water pollutants for example from pit lakes, tailing impoundments, waste rock dumps 
  • Rehabilitation of mine sites
  • Suitability of surface capping for vegetation establishment and soil stabilisation 
  • Consultancy services for bio-remediation and site specific strategies for recovery 
  • Site investigation, characterisation and speciation of contaminants 
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James Hutton Limited offers services that can detect, identify and analyse contaminants in a broad variety of substances for a huge range of sectors.  

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Watch our free analytical webinar covering problem samples & scientific solutions / exploring investigative techniques for the energy sector 

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A follow up to our March 2021 webinar. Putting techniques into practice. 


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Our team has over 30 years’ experience working in industry, Government bodies and research institutions, carrying out microbiological analysis on a range of materials using culturing and Most Probable Number (MPN) techniques.
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Improving science and society through an understanding of variation, uncertainty and risk.
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Techniques providing quantitative and qualitative analysis of organic and inorganic contaminants / pollutants in a variety of matrices including, but not limited to waters, chemicals and soils.
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James Hutton Limited manages a number of collaborative projects with industry partners who seek to benefit from scientific research and innovations.
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FTIR Spectroscopy is an extremely versatile analytical technique which can provide a chemical fingerprint for a diverse range of both organic and inorganic samples.
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GIS is the backbone of 21st century environmental planning and decision making; knowing where to make changes, what to expect, how to measure impacts and interventions, all rely on good GIS.
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The analysis of a wide range of stable isotopes, bulk and compound specific analysis of light isotopes including, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen and Hydrogen, and heavy isotopes, including Strontium, Neodymium, Samarium and Lead.
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Electron Microscopy is an extremely versatile tool which allows the study of both morphology and material composition from virtually all areas of science and technology.
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X-ray Powder Diffraction (XRPD) can be used to identify crystalline substances, such as most minerals. The James Hutton Institute XRPD team are global specialists in the analysis of clay minerals by this technique.

Case Studies

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FTIR Analysis of a failed silicone ‘O’ ring provides chemical compositional information to determine the likely reason for degradation.
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Infrared Spectroscopy as a means of identifying Naphthenates which can form undesirable flow line and separator deposits.
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Chemical compatibility testing of injected fluids with umbilical liners.