It is well known in the petroleum industry that tracer data can provide valuable information on reservoir characteristics and fluid flow performance. However, a prerequisite for obtaining reliable information is careful planning, design, and field implementation.
The application of gas tracer technology for improving the reservoir description and optimizing the RKF Field miscible gas injection project was presented earlier. The current paper compliments the earlier work by discussing issues related to design and field implementation of the tracer program, including definition of the objectives, determination of tracer types and amounts, and evaluation of sampling and detection techniques.
In this paper we document the lessons learned and propose best practices based on our experience with tracers in the RKF Field, Algeria. A critical element is integration of the field operator and Research Centre personnel with the subsurface team during all phases of the tracer program. This integration has been very important in obtaining good quality data in the RKF project.
We also review common mistakes and bad practices that could occur in the absence of a robust tracer design program. The importance of analytical calculations, simulation, sampling frequency and the recycling of tracers are also among the design topics that are addressed.
The proposed best practices can be applied by field operators in the design of future tracer projects and can also be used to identify the causes of tracer monitoring problems in existing projects. We hope that this paper will be of use to those managing or planning tracer projects.