A hydrocarbon is a naturally-occurring compound composed solely of hydrogen—carbon bonds. They are abundant in crude oil and natural gas deposits within the Earth’s crust, which have formed through thousands of years of organic decomposition and geological activity. Oil and gas exploration, or petroleum geology, conventionally relied upon basic surface evidence to distinguish a viable hydrocarbon deposit. Petroleum seeps, natural flames, and seabed craters often pointed towards a nearby hydrocarbon reservoir, providing evidence to support expensive prospecting operations. However, oil is an expensive and increasingly scarce commodity, with growing energy demands and environmental concerns requiring more technologically advanced oil exploration methodologies to reinforce the work of petroleum geologists.
Gas analyzers can relieve some of the financial risk associated with oil well drilling by providing precise hydrocarbon analysis from geological samples, bores, and reservoirs. Mud logging routinely applies quadrupole mass spectrometry gas analyzers to create comprehensive records of borehole compositions, enabling the accurate forecasting of a well’s economic limit. Petroleum geologists also use gas analyzers to acquire data relating to fracking zones, to characterize the porosity of geological samples, to map hydrocarbon migration, and to determine the mineral layer properties of a potential drill site.
Gas Analyzers and the Future of Oil Exploration
Fracking is broadly considered to be the future of hydrocarbon exploration, enabling the acquisition of previously unattainable petroleum deposits in the earth’s crust. The procedure generally uses hydraulic principles to stimulate the bores of an oil well with pressurized fracking fluid – typically water mixed with abrasive solid particles. This fractures the interior surface of the wellbore, allowing inaccessible crude oil from within rock formations to flow into the existing wellbore.
Gas analyzers are used to determine worthwhile fracking zones, by analyzing the elemental composition of rock cuttings drawn to the surface during the bore drilling procedure. Physiochemical characteristics such as mineral layer porosity and rock layer boundaries can drastically affect the efficiency of an oil well and inform the potential payoff for applying hydraulic fracturing. Gas analyzers can be comprehensively applied to monitor drilling media to determine petroleum pay zones, layer properties, hydrocarbon distribution, and fracking zone quality.
Using gas analyzers in this manner can improve the economic returns of oil exploration, while adhering to strict environmental certifications and reducing the carbon footprint of the industry by radically minimizing waste.
Gas Analyzers for Petroleum Geology
Mud logging commonly takes place at mobile laboratories on-site, which may be an offshore oil-rig or a fracking site in rural locations. This requires compact gas analyzers with minimal footprints to perform rapid material composition analysis in real-time. The high-risk, high-cost nature of oil drilling is such that fast turnaround of results is paramount to the efficacy of the procedure.
The ExQ bench-top gas analyzer is a compact system equipped to perform real-time analysis of mud-logging strata in US, European, and global markets. It can perform up to 650 measurements per second with a high-sensitivity detection range of up to 100 parts per billion (ppb). This gas analyzer has been broadly applied to distinguish fracking zones and determine trapped hydrocarbons through mud-logging analysis.
The HPR-20 series of gas analyzers includes the HPR-20 TMS and the HPR-20 R&D, both of which can analyze mud logging samples and provide quantitative data for petroleum geology, with mass range options of up to 1000 amu.
These gas analyzers are suitable for petroleum geologists looking to forecast the profitability of oil exploration and extraction procedures at given localities. They are also robust and compact for field application in various industrial, rural, or marine environments.
Gas Analyzers from Hiden Analytical
Hiden Analytical is a leading supplier of gas analyzers for multiple applications, from research and development to established industrial procedures. If you would like any more information about using gas analyzers for oil exploration purposes, please do not hesitate to contact us.