Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Establishment of improved methods for the reduction of the manufacturing cost and detection limits of the water and gas tracers

Development of improved detection and analytical methods both for the water tracer candidates and for gas tracer candidates. Analytical methods based on GC/MS have been developed and can at present determine the water and gas tracer candidates in reservoir matrices down to the low ppb concentration range. These methods have been used to analyse the tracer candidates during the stability tests and flow experiments. These methods allow for a cost effective way towards the attainment of commercially attractive compounds by reducing the manufacturing costs and the detection limits.

Investigations on the synthesis of the gas and water tracer candidates were thoroughly performed. Suitable synthesis pathways have been compared and the necessary preparations for the small-scale synthesis were accomplished.

Although the deuterated organic acids could be found in the market, their high price makes them uneconomical to be used as reservoir gas tracers. Their price is high due to their very high purity (all the H-atoms have been replaced by D-atoms) something that is not required for their use in oil reservoirs. On the contrary, the partial deuteration can be turned into advantage by creating several tracers from the same chemical compound but with different degree of deuteration, resulting in a considerable cost reduction.

In addition, the gas tracers (D-alkanes) can be derived easily by decarboxylation from the deuterated organic acids reducing further the cost per tracer. An additional measure to reduce the cost effectiveness of a tracer program is to minimize the amount of tracer that has to be injected into the reservoirs. This can be achieved by reducing the detection limit of the compounds via the development of new extraction and pre-concentration techniques and the upgrade of HPLC, MS and GC techniques.

Besides the further development of the analytical method for the tracer detection of the deuterated fatty acids in aqueous reservoir fluids and testing of their ecotoxicological properties, the main focus was placed on the production of rather large amounts of the selected water tracer candidate (in kg). On the other hand, cyclopropane was purchased and not produced in the laboratory.

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Institute for Energy Technology
18 Instituttveien 18P.O. Box 40
2027 Kjeller
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