Relative Oxidation States of Organic Functional Groups

Functional Group Oxidation State -4 -2 0 +2

rnh2

Least Oxidized

ROH RCl

Most Oxidized

RCOOH CO2

RC(O)NH2 CCl4

RCCl, and break down into component molecules. Temperatures and pressures common in the deep-well environment are normally too low to initiate high-temperature reactions, but if the right chemicals (not necessarily hazardous) are present, thermal degradation might be initiated. For example, thermal decarboxylation is probably the mechanism of acetate degradation in oilfield waters52 where temperatures exceed 200°C; however, injection zones usually do not reach this temperature. At depths of 900 m (approximately 3000 ft), temperatures range from 50°C to 100°C.33

Smith and Raptis53 have suggested using the deep-well environment as a wet-oxidation reactor for liquid organic wastes. This process, however, does not involve deep-well injection of wastes but rather uses temperatures and pressures in the subsurface to increase the oxidation rate of organic wastes, which are then returned to the surface.

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