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

Objective

Objectives and problems to be solved:
Tracers are chemical compounds used in tracer technology programmes aimed at hydrocarbon reservoir characterisation and efficient oil recovery. Currently used non-radioactive gas tracers, such as Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6) are ozone depleting substances (CFCs) or have high Global Warming Potential (GWP) and extremely long lifetimes in the atmosphere (PFCs, SF6), constituting them very potent greenhouse gases (GHG). Regarding water tracers, Fluoro-Benzoic Acids (FBAs) bio-accumulate in the seawater posing a threat to the ocean environment.
given
(i) the current pressure of the environmental authorities on the oil industry to reduce and even ban the use of such chemicals and
(ii) their proven usefulness in the oil exploration and production operations, the project aspires to enlarge the portfolio of environmentally acceptable gas and water tracers thus, ensuring the routine application of a cost-effective method like tracers in reservoir operations. This means that the project aims to identify chemical compounds satisfying both the requirements of being stable in the reservoir over a long time period and at the same time being degradable to avoid bioaccumulation or irreversible accumulation in the atmosphere.
Therefore, ENVITRACER objectives include:
- Develop and test new, non-radioactive, water and gas tracers that satisfy the current requirements of the oil industry while reducing substantially the aforementioned harmful environmental effects.
- Assess the cost-effectiveness of the new tracers (production and field application) and propose recommendations and guidelines for the industrial practice on this issue.
Description of the work :
To ensure the smooth execution of the project the following main targets have to be achieved:
- Identification of chemical compounds with a potential to qualify as gas or water tracers
- Studying the behaviour of the compounds in the laboratory at reservoir conditions to ensure thermal, chemical and microbial stability
- Evaluation of the environmental friendliness of the compounds
- Reduction of the costs of tracer production and of the respective detection limits for field application
- Development of an advanced tracer flow electronic laboratory
- Evaluation of the flow behaviour of the tracers
- Testing the selected compounds in the oil field
- Evaluation of the results, cost effectiveness of the new tracers, integration into recommendations and guidelines for industrial practice
- Effective exploitation and dissemination to selected target groups.
Expected results and Exploitation Plans:
- Establishment of new methodologies on the synthesis and detection of the new tracers.
-Development of a numerical simulation tool that will take into account the dependency of the distribution of tracers in a reservoir on appropriate physico-chemical properties and process parameters and will assess the behaviour of tracers thus replacing effectively currently applied costly experiments
- Development and testing of new, non-radioactive water and gas reservoir tracers that are friendly towards the environment
- Recommendations for guidelines to the oil industry regarding the use of the newly developed water and gas tracer technology. Several aspects of the proposal take on an innovative character (developing and testing new, cost-effective tracers, proposing guidelines for the oil industry). While during the development of the previous generation of tracers their environmental impact was not given sufficient attention, the 'environmental inertness' becomes now on a prerequisite for the selection of the new generation of water and gas tracers. In addition, some of the expected results on the new tracers are generic in nature and have important applications in other sectors that use these compounds and should reduce their emissions soon (e.g. heat exchangers, pollution in rivers and ground water systems, mixing and homogenisation apparatuses). This aspect makes the project of multi-sectorial importance and shows how its results and the associated benefits may diffuse to other industrial sectors.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

NATIONAL CENTRE FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH 'DEMOKRITOS'
Address
Aghia Paraskevi, Attikis
15310 Athens
Greece

Participants (6)

CENTRE FOR RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY HELLAS
Greece
Address
Charilaou 6Th Km - Thermi Road
57001 Thermi
COMPANÍA ESPANOLA DE PETROLEOS SA
Spain
Address
Picos De Europa 7, Poligono De San Fernando De Hen
28850 Torrejon De Ardoz
INSTITUTE FOR ENERGY TECHNOLOGY
Norway
Address
18,Instituttveien 18
2027 Kjeller
MOL HUNGARIAN OIL AND GAS PLC
Hungary
Address
Ady Endre U 26.
5000 Szolnok
STATE POLLUTION CONTROL AUTHORITY
Norway
Address
96,Strormveien 96
0032 Oslo
STATOIL ASA
Norway
Address
Artitekt Ebbells Veg 10, Rotvoll
7005 Trondheim