Chemical and radioactive tracers have been used for decades in the oil industry to track injected fluids to map inter-well permeable paths (as passive tracers) and as active tracers to identify reservoirs that are specifically suited for EOR operations by detecting residual oil saturation. The down side of using these types of tracers is the high cost of materials, time consuming collection, costly lab analysis and high safety hazards of the materials themselves. Saudi Aramco's Reservoir Engineering Team has made significant progress towards using nanoparticles as active and passive reservoir tracers that are inexpensive, easy to produce and pose very low safety hazards personally or environmentally. Additionally, Aramco has been developing a portable stand-alone system that can detect these advanced nanoparticle tracers in real-time, directly from the well head with no need for sample collection or lab analysis and can run without operator intervention for at least three months. This paper presents the prototype stand-alone sensing system for advanced nanoparticle tracers which has the potential to transform the efficiency of current nanoparticle oil tracing practices by nearly 99% by reducing collection and processing time from around 10 hours to <5 minutes in real time. Recent results show the system's ability to separate, purify and detect fluorescent nanotracers from produced water to 0.1ppm levels in a portable inline process.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.