Use of Radioactive Iodine as a Tracer in Water-Flooding Operations
- J. Wade Watkins (Bureau of Mines) | E.S. Mardock (Well Surveys Inc.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- September 1954
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 117 - 124
- 1954. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 5.6.5 Tracers, 4.3.4 Scale, 6.5.2 Water use, produced water discharge and disposal, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 5.7.2 Recovery Factors, 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 5.5.2 Core Analysis, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 5.8.5 Oil Sand, Oil Shale, Bitumen, 3.3.1 Production Logging, 5.3.2 Multiphase Flow, 5.6.1 Open hole/cased hole log analysis
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The accurate evaluation of reservoir-performance characteristics in the secondary recovery of petroleum by water flooding requires use of a water tracer that may be injected into water-input wells and detected at oil-production wells to supplement data obtained from core analyses, wellhead tests, and subsurface measurements. Radioactive iodine has been used successfully as a water tracer in field tests to determine: (1) relative rates and patterns of flow of injected water between water-input and oil-production wells and (2) zones of excessive water entry into oil-production wells.
Laboratory evaluations of potential water tracers, previous tracer studies, the value of using a radioactive tracer, general field procedures, and the use of surface and subsurface instruments for the detection of the emitted gamma radiation, are summarized. Data from the field tests are presented graphically and discussed in detail.
It is concluded that the radioactive-tracer method, using radioactive iodine, may be used successfully to measure either the relative rates and patterns of flow or zones of excessive water entry into wells under conditions of comparatively rapid transit time between wells.
Extensive use is made of data obtained from core analyses, wellhead tests, fluid characteristics, and subsurface measurements in evaluating the sweep efficiency of water injected into oil sands for the recovery of oil. Theoretical flow rates and patterns may be calculated from those data using radial-flow formulas, if it is assumed that the physical conditions in the productive formation are homogeneous. Unfortunately, homogeneous conditions rarely, if ever, exist in oil-productive formations. The use of a tracer that may be injected into an oil sand and detected quantitatively, or even qualitatively, at offsetting oil-production wells provides basic data that may be used in determining more accurately the subsurface rates and patterns of flow of injected water between wells than is possible by theoretical calculations based on assumed conditions. Consideration of the data obtained by using a water tracer assists in the application of remedial measures to water-input wells, such as plugging of channels, or selective plugging of highly permeable zones, thereby effecting a more uniform flood and a greater ultimate oil recovery.
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