The middle fractions of low-temperature tar were treated with mixed solutions of H/sub 2/O and liquid NH/sub 3/ at 0/sup 0/ and 20/sup 0/, and with liquid NH/sub 3/ at -10, 0, + 10, and 20/sup 0/, and phase equilibrium between tar acids, neutral oil, and solvents were studied. The distribution ratio ranged from less than 1 to greater than 1 when the solvent contained about 20 percent (by weight) H/sub 2/O. When the solvent contained less than 85 percent (by weight) NH/sub 3/, the yield of extract was small but the purity of phenols in the extracted oil was above 90 percent. Solvent containing about 85 percent NH/sub 3/ (by weight) is considered optimum for separating tar acids from oils. A novel definition is proposed for solvent selectivity as the difference between the concentration of the solute in the extract layer, on a solvent-free basis, and the concentration in the raffinate layer.