PhD Position - Advanced Chemical Analysis by Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry

Centre for Oil and Gas - DTU
Wednesday 03 Oct 18

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The Danish Hydrocarbon Research and Technology Centre (DHRTC),  Technical University of Denmark (DTU), invites applicants for a PhD position on characterization of complex hydrocarbon samples as a part of a l project portfolio relating to investigations of enhanced oil recovery mechanisms in mature carbonate fields. DHRTC was established by the Danish Underground Consortium and DTU in 2014 as part of a national strategy for energy, the research centre is an ambitious, targeted effort to improve and sustain recovery of hydrocarbons from the Danish North Sea sector.

Responsibilities and tasks
The position will be an integrated part of the fluid characterization work ongoing at DHRTC which focuses on targeted and non-targeted analysis of petroleum fluids by chromatography and mass spectrometry and water analysis. The candidate is expected work with the team to perform innovative, fundamental, and applied research on:
  • Chemical analysis of crude oil samples and petroleum fluids
  • Investigation of biodegradation of crude oil, bio-surfactants and biomarkers
  • Tracer studies of recovery process experiments performed on rock samples
  • Characterization and quantification of polar compounds in crude oil by advanced methods
A molecular characterization of the crude oil constituents provides the link between well-established models for mixtures of simple molecules and improved models for reservoir fluids that consist of many complex components and ill-defined fractions. The characterization will be based on modern analytical methods, mainly advanced gas and liquid chromatography and high resolution mass spectrometry (GC-TOF-MS, GCxGC-MS and LC-HRMS) and sample preparation and extraction techniques. Other methods available for petroleum analysis include FTIR, ICP-OES and NMR. The candidate will work on 1) extraction and analysis of polar and other fractions from crude oil and 2) applying the developed workflows to chemical characterization of recovery experiments carried out in the team. Water based enhanced oil recovery (EOR) employs different techniques to optimize the flow of oil and to minimize the residual oil left behind by the water flooding of oil. The injection water can be modified to improve recovery by altering composition or for example add solvents or microbes. A thorough analysis and characterization of the reservoir fluids is required for optimizing the techniques.

The project will involve work with partner laboratories and with the team in the fluid characterization and recovery processes groups at DHRTC.

Application potential
The line-of-sight application potential of this project is to assist the screening processes of potential water based recovery methods in carbonate fields.

A Master’s degree in analytical, organic or physical chemistry, geochemistry, pharmacy or similar
  • Exceptional skills and interest in analytical experimental and analytical chemistry;
  • Experience with and interest in advanced chromatography and mass spectrometry. Other analytical techniques such as NMR, FTIR, ICP-MS/OES are also relevant.
  • Interest in applied research;
  • Ability to work in a multi-disciplinary environment;
  • Excellent writing and communication skills in English;

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarships for the PhD degree are subject to academic approval, and the candidates will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes of DTU. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Specific questions about the project may be directed to Senior Researcher Karen Feilberg (

For questions about the application procedure please refer to the information below.

Please do not submit your application via email.

You can read about the scientific basis for the Centre’s activities here:
Application procedure
Please submit your online application no later than 1 December 2018.

Applications must be submitted as one pdf file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online," fill in the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one pdf file.

The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)
Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

The overarching purpose of The Danish Hydrocarbon Research and Technology Centre is to identify new technological and conceptual solutions that will enable increased oil and gas extraction in the Danish section of the North Sea. The research activities at the centre cover selected aspects of expertise: Reservoir characterization, Enhanced Oil & Gas Recovery Processes, Drilling & Production Technology Concepts and Production Facilities, Materials Research & Design. The centre will develop deep, new understanding within these disciplines with a line-¬-of-¬-sight to application. Located at The Technical University of Denmark research groups at the University of Copenhagen, Aarhus University, Aalborg University and the Geological Survey of Greenland and Denmark will be affiliated with the Centre. When fully operational, the centre will employ and engage more than 100 people.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 6,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society, and our 11,200 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.