A novel barcoded advanced tracers system has been developed and field-validated in a hydrocarbon reservoir. With a detection scheme that supports automation, this cost-effective tracers system is designed to enable potentially ubiquitous long-term full-field injections in the interest of using the high fidelity tracer data to increase the oil recovery factor through improved optimization of the water injection and oil production.
Our Advanced Tracers system uses real-time chromatographic separation and optical detection to achieve ultra-low limits of detection (LOD) at 1 part per billion (ppb) or better. Such low LOD facilitates small injection quantities, making full field deployment of Advanced Tracers cost-effective compared to state-of-the-art interwell tracers. Additionally, the detection strategy that enables automation of the analysis process for real-time tracer detection is outlined, paving way for minimal manual sample collection and work-up.
Results on recently field-validated real-time optically-detectable tracers in a hydrocarbon reservoir, detectable at ultra-low LODs, are described. This is achieved even in the presence of background oil by means of an intrinsically oil-blind detection method. The material exhibits high mobility in high-salinity high-temperature carbonate reservoirs, with tracer breakthrough successfully detected at concentrations of less than 1 ppb using chromatographic separation followed by an optical detection method. The novel methodology as outlined highlights its simplicity, safety and cost-effectiveness relative to current practices in the field.
Fluorobenzoic acid based tracer technology requires chemical derivatization of the samples for ultra-low detection limits in a GC-MS. Our novel tracer detection strategy omits the need for chemical derivatization. In addition, it enables a compact, portable, optical-based automated wellsite detection system to be used in the field, with tens of unique barcodes possible. These innovative steps are keys to near real-time tracer detection in the field, realizing one of the intelligent oil field monitoring and the reservoir management applications.