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Development of environmentally friendly tracer technology for improved reservoir description (ENVITRACER)

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Simulating the behaviour of environmental tracers

Novel software developed with Greek know-how will facilitate the ongoing search for less harmful environmental tracers while minimising R&D costs at the same time.

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Environmental tracers play an important role in the identification of underground reservoirs of hydrocarbons. Unfortunately, many of the tracer species used today have adverse side effects such as contributing to global warming, depleting stratospheric ozone or accumulating in the food chain. The EESD Programme funded a group of seven research organisations to develop a new generation of environmentally-friendly tracers. The project, entitled ENVITRACER, was coordinated by the National Centre for Scientific Research 'Demokritos' (NCSRD) in Greece. The scientists at NCSRD oversaw the creation of a software-based tool that simulates tracer release experiments in water. The aptly named digital core-tracer laboratory addresses the key physical phenomena, including tracer formation, dispersivity, permeability, interfacial transport and porous domains. The software produces concentration profiles at the outlet and can be used to test the viability of new tracer species. Most importantly, the simulation results can be compared against experimental data and consequently provide insight into the complex aspects of tracer performance. The digital core-tracer laboratory limits the need for expensive field experiments and will therefore help reduce development costs for new tracers. The research centre has protected the software with a copyright.

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