Organic Geochemistry Laboratory

Natural Resources Canada, Calgary, Alberta
What the facility does

Characterisation of organic matter using bulk and compositional analytical techniques in geological systems and the environment

Areas of expertise

The organic geochemistry laboratory is a state of the art analytical facility specializing in the analysis of organic compounds in a variety of solid and liquid geological and environmental samples. The analytical capabilities range from bulk to molecular compositional analysis using pyrolysis, gas chromatography and single quadrupole mass spectrometry (MS) techniques, together with more detailed and accurate analysis to determine unknowns, eliminate contamination and interferences using high mass resolution MS, tandem MS and two-dimensional gas chromatography instrumentation. It also maintains a large collection of crude oil samples and organic solvent rock extracts from most Canadian sedimentary basins, along with an extensive database containing all data produced from the laboratory.

The laboratory boasts in-house expertise for data interpretation and research in the areas of Petroleum Geochemistry and Environmental Organic Geochemistry, specifically, source rock assessment, oil-oil and oil-source correlation, quality and type of hydrocarbon pool evaluation, petrogenic or anthropogenic source determination and environmental impacts mitigation of petroleum hydrocarbons. The research and technical support team also has vast experience in method development for improved characterization and dealing with various sample types.

Research services

Specialized analysis and method development. 

Collaborative projects are treated on a case-by-case basis and selected through a proposal system. Criteria for collaborative projects include that the project is aligned and contributes to advancing laboratory strategic goal and/or that it is closely aligned with current Geological Survey of Canada research programs. Collaborative projects are undertaken on a cost-recovery basis.

Sectors of application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Clean technology
  • Energy
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Forestry and forest-based industries
  • Mining, minerals and metals



Wildcat Technologies HAWK Pyrolysis & TOC Instrument  

Pyrolysis and Total Organic Carbon (TOC) analysis of rocks, sediments, soils. Bulk screening for Organic Matter (OM) properties such as TOC, free hydrocarbons, mineral carbon, thermal maturity, type of OM by hydrogen and oxygen index

Frontier 3030D Pyrolyzer with Agilent 7890 GC-FID-5975 MSD

Multi-shot Pyrolyzer (PY) coupled to a Gas Chromatograph with Flame Ionisation Detector (FID) and single quadrupole Mass Spectrometer (MSD) for evolved gas analysis and compositional fingerprint of volatile and semi volatile compounds in solids

Agilent 5973 GC-MSD

Gas Chromatograph (GC) – single quadrupole Mass Spectrometer (MSD) for aromatic hydrocarbon analysis of oils and source rocks

Agilent 7890 GC-FID (2)

Gas Chromatographs (GC) with Flame Ionisation Detector (FID) for whole oil and aliphatics analysis

OI Analytical 4560 Purge and Trap with Agilent 7890 GC-FID

Purge and Trap and Gas Chromatograph (GC) with Flame Ionisation Detector (FID) for low level gasoline range

Agilent 7000C GC-TQ

Gas Chromatograph (GC) – Triple Quadrupole (TQ) Mass Spectrometer for petroleum biomarker analysis and increased mass selectivity in complex matrices

Agilent 7200 GC-QTOF

Gas Chromatograph (GC) – Quadrupole – Time of Flight (QTOF) Mass Spectrometer for high mass resolution analysis of complex matrices and unknowns. Increased sensitivity for trace level analysis. Electron Ionisation and Chemical Ionisation sources.

Leco Pegasus 4D GC x GC-TOF

Two-dimensional Gas Chromatograph (GC) coupled to a Time of Flight (TOF) Mass Spectrometer for molecular composition of whole oil and specialized analysis