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High-Precision Isotopic Analysis

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Applications > Energy

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The use of stable isotope analysis was first developed in the field of geochemistry and has been applied to energy problems almost since its inception. In fact, at one time almost all major oil companies had in-house stable isotope laboratories and much of the pioneering work in isotope geochemistry came from the petroleum industry. Today, stable isotope analysis is an integral part of oil and gas exploration, also offering application to other energy fields such as coal, geothermal and carbon dioxide sequestration.

Compositional Analysis
All natural gas analyses begin with basic compositional analysis, which can be used to determine the chemical make-up of the gas and to provide other useful information, such as total BTU and specific gravity.

Information on compositional gas analysis

Isotopic Analysis of Mudgas
In the search for new oil and gas deposits, mudgas analysis provides valuable information for:
mudgas isotope logging
differentiating biogenic gas from thermogenic gas
gas-oil-source rock correlations
correlating gas and oil deposits between wells
evaluating the maturity of fluids and source rocks
seal identification
Mudgas Analysis (PDF) - English | Spanish
Informaton on mudgas analysis

Isotopic Analysis of Natural Gas
The utility of the gas fingerprinting technique continues even once a deposit has been discovered. Compositional and isotopic analysis of natural gas
can be used to:
evaluate reservoir continuity
identify well integrity problems
define reservoir seals
identify gas that has been illegally drained for underground gas storage reservoirs
allocate production for dual completions
identify compartmentalization
Natural Gas Analysis (PDF)
Information on natural gas analysis

Isotopic Analysis of Bacterial Gas, Stray Gas and Dissolved Gas
In the final stages of energy utilization, stable isotope geochemistry continues to play an important role in bacterial gas, stray gas
and dissolved gas characterization for:
fire and explosion investigations - differentiating gas sources
identifying pipeline leaks
identifying gas that has leaked from underground gas storage reservoirs
monitoring groundwater quality in areas of energy production
Bacterial Gas, Stray Gas and Dissolved Gas (PDF)
Information on bacterial gas analysis
Information on dissolved gas analysis

Collection and Analysis of Geochemical Prospecting  Samples
Geophysical exploration, often used in conjunction with geological and geophysical surveys, can be used to identify potentially productive deposits of hydrocarbons. Isotopic testing can be used to analyze the headgas from soil or core deposit samples in order to:
determine the source and concentration of light hydrocarbon gases
help evaluate the potential of a particular basin prior to drilling
Sampling with IsoJars
Sampling with IsoPaks

Suggested Readings
D.D. Coleman, "Geochemical Fingerprinting: Identification of Storage Gas Using Chemical and Isotopic Analysis," Underground Storage of Natural Gas - Theory and Practice, M. R. Tek (editor), Gulf Publishers, 1989.

D.D. Coleman, "Advances in the Use of Geochemical Fingerprinting for Gas Identification," Transactions of the 1994 American Gas Association Operations Conference, San Francisco, 1994.

D.D. Coleman, "Source Identification of Stray Gases by Geochemical Fingerprinting," Proceedings of the Solution Mining Research Institute Spring 2004 Technical Meeting, Wichita, Kansas, April 18-20, 2004.

M. Schoell, "The Hydrogen and Carbon Isotopic Composition of Methane from Natural Gases of Various Origins," Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Volume 44, 1980, Pages 649-661.
M. Schoell in "Genetic Characterization of Natural Gases," AAPG Bulletin, Volume 67, 1983, Pages 2225-2238.

M. Schoell, "Multiple Origins of Methane in the Earth," Origins of Methane in the Earth, Chemical Geology, Volume 71, 1988, Pages 1-10.

M. Schoell, P. D. Jenden, M. A. Beeunas, and D. D. Coleman, "Isotope Analyses of Gases in Gas Field and Gas Storage Operations," Proceedings of the Society of Petroleum Engineer Gas Technology Symposium, Calgary, June 28-30, 1993, Pages 337-344.





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