Oil and Gas

Tracer Technology

The main focal point of the department is research and development of experimental and theoretical methods in tracer technology for monitoring of petroleum reservoirs in well-to-well studies of fluid flow (injection water and injection gas) and in mass transport studies in wells and process plants. These methods are implemented in field operations world-wide.
Tracer Technology

Dye, Christian

Department Head

Viig, Sissel Opsahl

Deputy Head of Department



The department’s main activities include research and development projects and offering of specialized service operations based on this research to the industry within specific areas of energy and environmental technology. We have a  particular focus on improved oil recovery and optimized reservoir management. Crucial in this field are the following technologies and activities:

Tracer technology, radiochemistry, applied nuclear technology, chemical and radiochemical analyses, modelling and simulation of fluid (and tracer) flows in porous media, geostatistic, reservoir modelling specialities and specialities within geophysics.


The department’s ability to perform research and development, as well as specialized service operations in the field, at an advanced level, is funded on close contact with Norwegian and international industry clients and academic institutions. IFE has over the years kept a close cooperation with national and international oil companies on further development of tracer technology for reservoir examinations. Manpower- and instrumental capacity is constantly built up to meet expected demands of capacity, flexibility and quality from the oil companies, who are our main customers.


A combination of basic and applied research in well-sized industry projects, together with demonstrations of developed technologies in complete field examinations, has made IFE an internationally well-reputed institution within field related tracer technology. We have particularly emphasized the importance of developing technology for use in well-to-well examinations, and our methods today represent state-of-the art. Norwegian and international oil companies are among our most important collaboration partners, sponsors and customers during the last 15 years. Examples of these are: Amerada Hess, BP, Conoco-Phillips, Cepsa, Mobil, Norsk Hydro, Petrobras, PDVSA, Statoil, Total, Wintershall, etc.


IFE performs basic and applied research within reservoir- and exploration technology. This research is of experimental and theoretical nature. A considerable selection of modern laboratory instrumentation and tailor-made laboratories make possible projects within fields like increased oil recovery, reservoir evaluation, smart wells, studies and surveillance of process equipment and methods for tracer based control of multiphase transportation.



A new Strategic Institute Program (SIP) named ”New functional tracers based on nanotechnology and radiotracer generators"  with the purpose to develop functional nano-sized particle tracers which can be functionalized to become lipophilic or hydrophilic and also have the property to react on external stimuli such as pH, temperature etc. The particles are alalyzed by laser-induced fluorescence or by radioanalytical techniques when they are labelled with a radioactive atom.

Tracer development for interwell examinations - The "Tracer Club

The main development of tracer technology for interwell examinations has taken place in the socalled "Tracer Club" here at IFE. This is a joint industry program (JIP) between IFE and several oil companies. Since 1991 the IFE "Tracer Club" has gone through different phases, each of them with a definite name. The previous phase, which took place from 2002-2007 was called "ResTrac - tracer technology in advanced reservoir evaluation programs". The program comprised development of new tracer methods within general tracer technology, reservoir monitoring and well monitoring. This program is now about to be followed by the new "Trac EOR" (2008-2012) which will focus somewhat more on tracer technology for enhanced oil recovery operations.

Process studies by means of nuclear methods and tracer technology

  1. The new SIP also includes development of radiotracer generators for short-lived radiotracers based on radionuclide generator principles.
  2. Studies of transport and liquid accumulation in transportation pipelines for wet gas.
  3. Studies of efficiency and operational parameters in separators and scrubbers.

Flow assurance- scale problems

  1. Lab. studies of kinetics and effect of inhibitors for precipitation of carbonate and sulphate scale.
  2. Lab. experiments and modelling of CaCO3 precipitations, cooperation with NTNU, SINTEF and Statoil.

Enhanced Oil Recovery

Laboratory studies on the potential use of CO2 (supercritical or not) in combination with polymer and surfactants to improve mobility radio and sweep efficiencies.

Reservoir- and well-related modelling

  1. Development of near-well models for studies of scaling and inhibition in near-well zones.
  2. Modelling of process systems in oil and gas production.

Field activities

The department has continuously a number of field examinations running. Areas:

  1. Operations in wells based on radioactive and non-radioactive tracers.
  2. Studies of downstream processes (separators, scrubbers, transportation pipelines for wet gas, etc.).