Oil and Gas

Tracer Technology

IFE applies tracer technology in well-to-well tracer tests to obtain information about fluid flow in the reservoir. The improved reservoir knowledge gained from the tracer tests is important in order to optimise production strategy and thereby obtain enhanced oil recovery and reduced production costs.

Stavsetra, Liv

Specialist Group Manager


Tracer production curves offer unique data about the reservoir. The results are used to decide on communication between wells, flow rates, sweep efficiency, layering and channelling, attic gas volumes, WAG efficiency and miscibility etc. This information is used to make decisions about further production strategy such as gas/water injection rates, production rates and drilling of new wells. Due to the high costs of drilling (especially offshore), it is essential to avoid unsuccessful wells.

IFE is today involved in tracer programs in more than 30 different fields, and samples are collected from several hundred wells. Samples are shipped to IFE's laboratories for analyses. IFE has developed sampling equipment that ensures reproducible and reliable sampling. Gas samples are collected on small capillary absorption tubes (CAT). Thereby, transportation of pressure cylinders is avoided. This is essential to enable efficient and cost beneficial analyses of gas samples. The new CAT technology allows us to operate all over the world, and we are today involved in projects in North and South America, Asia and Africa in addition to Europe.

IFE has, through intensive research activity, qualified a large number of tracers for both water and gas phase tracing. Besides qualifying them with respect to thermal stability, bio-degradation, toxicity and phase partitioning, it has also been carried out extensive work to reduce the detection limit to a minimum. Our analyses laboratory offers the best available analyses techniques both for radioactive and chemical tracers.

IFE provides a large range of both radioactive and non-radioactive tracers. Among the non-radioactive water tracers, a large group of fluorinated benzoic acids are available. The compound can be measured in concentrations less than 100 ppt. Thus typical amounts injected in a field test are some few kilograms. As gas tracers, cyclic perfluorocarbons have shown to have excellent properties. These are measured in concentration of 10-13 L/L when CAT technology is applied.

IFE offers a complete tracer service including:

  • Design of injection program
  • Selection of tracer types and amount
  • Injection of the tracer in the field (IFE provides all neccessary equipment)
  • Design of sampling program
  • Analysis of collected samples
  • Evaluation of results
  • Improvement of reservoir description based on simulation using ECLIPSE or CMG software

Our main customers are: BP, PDVSA, Statoil, ConocoPhillips, Norsk Hydro, Total and Amerada Hess.