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Utilizing Laser Spectroscopy of Noble Gas Tracers for Mapping Oil and Gas Deposits


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Title: Utilizing Laser Spectroscopy of Noble Gas Tracers for Mapping Oil and Gas Deposits

Utilizing Laser Spectroscopy of Noble Gas Tracers
for Mapping Oil and Gas Deposits
  • Project ID No. NPRP30-6-7-35
  • Name of Lead PI Hans A. Schuessler
  • Name of Contact PI Milivoj Belic
  • Texas AM University (Doha, Qatar and College
    Station, TX)

  • We thank the Qatar Foundation and the Qatar
    National Research Fund
  • Founded by His highness the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin
    Khalifa Al-Thani
  • Chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser
  • Directed by Dr. Abdul Sattar Al-Taie
  • for this research opportunity and the funds

  • 1. Aims of the project and approach
  • 2. Work done at TAMU, CS Texas main results
  • 4. Work done at TAMU, Doha
  • Preparations for investigations of the oil
    reservoir structure
  • Selection of a postdoc for continuous work at
  • Established additional collaborations on the
    project with three TAMUQ Petroleum
    Engineering(2), Mathematics(2) Professors.

Outline cont.
  • 3. Next steps
  • Shipment of the new setup, improvement of
    sensitivity with a mass separator.
  • Tracer injections into a well and purification
    of the recovered gas samples
  • 5. Organizational issues
  • 6. Present status of the project and time table.

Aims of the project and approach
Noble gases are being used as tracers to measure
the structure of gas and oil deposits. Due to
their chemical inertness, they offer the
advantage that they do not react with the
environment with which they are in contact. In
standard commercial applications long lived
isotopes and nuclear decay counting are being
used. Our research will employ stable isotopes,
which are environmentally accepted. The novelty
in our present approach is that it uses optical
detection for noble gases. In particular for
krypton (Kr) it relies in using several narrow
banded (1 MHz) cw-lasers to excite the rare
isotope ions (signal ions) to a high Rydberg
level, followed by field ionization and energy
discrimination for their detection. We showed
that this scheme can be implemented with about
20 total efficiency for 85Kr it works equally
well for all the stable Kr and other noble gas
  • A need to analyze well gas samples from the
    Northfield (Dr. Fahes) for rare noble gas
  • Tracer techniques are relatively cheap and
    informative for reservoir structure
  • Allows fast diagnostics of gas/water
    breakthroughs and plug off efficiency by
    detecting the migration velocity of the tracers.
  • The total selectivity is made up as the product
    of selectivities of the mass separator and of the
    two laser excitation steps namely
  • Stotal Smass separator Slaser1 Slaser2
    10-3 10-4 10-4 10-11

Comparison of main detection techniques
  • Standard tracer technique in the petroleum
    industry to
  • assess size, porosity, connectivity and other
  • properties of a reservoir
  • Inject 20 to 40 Curie of 85Kr into a central
  • Using decay counting measure the speed and extend
  • spike migration by sampling surrounding wells
  • In a large fields nuclear decay counting runs out
  • sensitivity due to diifusion

Nuclear decay detection
Optical detection
  • About 3 orders of magnitude more sensitive
  • by our on-line work at RIKEN (Japan), TRIUMF
  • (Canada), Oak Ridge National Lab (USA)
  • Possible use of rare stable isotopes (Kr, Ar,
  • Enviromentally friendly
  • No safe guarding for nuclear polution
  • Large amounts of tracer gas can be safely
  • Availability of several tracer gases provides the
    opportunity for detailed reservoir

Laser spectroscopy parameters in nuclear physics
Optical absorption cross section s l2 10-10
cm2 1014 barn Useful target thickness d
1010 atoms/cm3 1 pg/cm3 Intensity of photon
beam I 1019 photons/cm2 sec (ring dye laser 1
W/cm2) Excitation rate per atom R s x I 109
Qatari North Field
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Work done at TAMU, CS Texas
  • Publication paper at the International Laser
  • Probing (LAP 2008) conference. It summarizes the
    main results and indicates the plan to employ the
    technique at the Qatari North Field.
  • Preparations for the next step work with
    reservoir gas samples, stable noble gas reservoir
    injections and purification (Drs. Schutz and
    Thonnard), planning for improvement of
    sensitivity with a mass separator (Dr. Wollnik).
  • Work by Dr. Jinhai Chen (postdoc) construction
    of the initial apparatus and testing of the
    vacuum chambers and the beam line setup before
    shipment to Doha.

Laser Probing 2008 conference, Nagoya, Japan
Laser Probing 2008 conference, Nagoya, Japan
TAMU collinear fast beam apparatus

140 cm-1
488 nm (fixed)
811 nm (tracked)
The Excitation Scheme (beam energy 512 eV)
Experimental Setup
Cs cell
Interaction region
Energy Filter
ion Source
Mass Resolution
Energy Filter
B Field
Voltage (100 V)
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TAMU-Qatar fast beam line
Source and open beamline segments showing the
bending capacitors and the quadrupole triplet.
The bending capacitors are for overlapping the
ion beam on axis with the laser beam. The
quadrupole triplet is to remove possible
astigmatism and also serves as one of the
focusing elements for the ion beam (does not
contain a magnet for mass separation and field
ionization region).
Preliminary ray trace results for the Wollnik
type mass separator in the stigmatic imaging
mode(a) beam distribution in the x,y and z
directions, (b) beam cross sections.
Prof. Milivoj Belic (contact PI)
  • Senior Associate Professor TAMU-Qatar
  • Provides mathematical and computer modeling
  • Expert in nonlinear optics and optical systems
  • He introduced the existence of counter-propagating
    two-dimensional vector solitons and
    bidirectional waveguides in SBN crystals.
  • Kummer solitons in strongly nonlocal nonlinear

Prof. Dr. Hermann Wollnik (collaborator)
Director of the magnet laboratory at the
University of Giessen, Germany World-expert in
mass separators and spectrometers, charged
particles motion in fields. Author of a famous
monograph Optics of charged particles by H.
Wollnik, Academic Press, New York, London, 1987.
Dr. Norbert Thonnard (collaborator)
Director, Institute for Rare Isotope
Measurements, and Research Professor, Departments
of Geological Sciences, and Physics and Astronomy
at the University of Tennessee. The Institute
for Rare Isotopes Measurements (IRIM) explores
extremely sensitive analytical techniques using
multiple lasers that make the detection of only a
few atoms in a sample feasible. Collaborations
with researchers word-wide to studies of very old
groundwater, contaminant transport and modern
groundwater recharge, age-dating of polar ice
sheets, and to studies of isotopic signatures in
minute mineral grains in meteorites and presolar
dust grains to understand the formation and early
history of our solar system. Dr. Thonnard
measured the 81Kr concentration in groundwater to
better understand the flow, recharge and
potential for contaminant incursion in a major
regional aquifer system. The many instruments in
his laboratory include four mass spectrometers,
two multi-wavelength laser systems, water and gas
processing systems, and lots of vacuum and
electronic systems. Particular interest for the
current work presents expertise of Dr. Thonnard
in purification of gas and oil samples with
tracer isotopes.
Dr. Schutz (collaborator and consultant)
Donald F. Schutz, Ph.D., consultant for the
project President of the Geonuclear Inc., Former
President of the Teledyne Inc. Dr. Schutz
received his doctorate in Geology Geophysics
from Yale University in 1964. Dr. Schutz joined
Isotopes, Inc. which later became Teledyne
Isotopes and thenTeledyne Brown Engineering -
Environmental Services. He performed field and
laboratory work, which led to the use of
radioisotopes as tracers in oil field operations.
In 1975 Dr. Schutz became president of the
company and chaired the Radiation Safety
Committee until 1998. Iin 1999 Dr. Schutz started
Geonuclear, Inc. In April 2000 Geonuclear
acquired portions of the Mass Spectrometry
Services product line from Teledyne and added it
to other on-going work with TLD dosimetry systems
and petroleum tracers. Participated in large
scale studies of oil reservoirs with traceer gas
analysis (Mexico, Dubai, North slope of Alaska).
Prof. Dr. Klaus D.A. Wendt (collaborator who can
also send students from Germany to TAMUQ)
Director of the Laser Resonance Ionization
Spectroscopy for Selective Trace Analysis
(LARISSA) laboratory, Institute of
Physics Johannes Gutenberg-Universitat, Mainz,
Germany Renowned expert in Resonance Ionization
Spectroscopy, High Resolution Laser-Mass
Spectrometry, Ultra Trace Isotope Determination
in Environmental, Bio-Medical, Fundamental
Research and Applications.
The major future stages of the project
Spring 2008 The PI (Schuessler) and TAMU coop
Industrial Engineering student Ricardo Nava are
at TAMU Qatar to install the first half of the
collinear fast beam apparatus, which is ready for
shipping to Doha. Professor Fahes has reservoir
gas which is evaluated fo rare noble gas isotopes
for possible tracer use. Professor Nasrabadi
uses his expertise to simulate tracer prorogation
in a reservoir. Professor Rudolph Lorentz applies
data computations and numerical solutions
procedures to solving reservoir simulations with
differential equations. Professor Samia Jones
contributes to statistics and data evaluation.
June-December 2009 A postdoc under supervision
of the PI and Profs. Fahes and Nasrabadi will
will further develop the collinear fast beam
apparatus and work with it based on the equipment
that was already setup. February to May 2010
By this time and the field ionization part of the
collinear fast beam apparatus has also been
completed in the TAMU machine shop and has been
shipped to Doha by TAMU. The field ionization and
energy discrimination stages will be added. Also
a simple laser system will be operational. June
to December 2010 We will order the remaining
equipment items to be shipped directly to Doha.
They will be installed into the analytical
instrument. The collaborating professors,
postdoctoral researchers, and students will start
to use the system to process tracer samples at
Floor plan with the laboratory location
½ of the Lab location 356B
Boxes with equipment for shipment
Documents for ion beam setup shipment
Dr. Tarek Ali Mohamed Hassan Degrees 2003 Ph.
D. in Atomic Physics, Sweden, Stockholm
University, Atomic Physics Department. 2001
Licentiate degree in Atomic Physics, Sweden,
Stockholm University, Atomic Physics Department.
1996 M. Sc. in Experimental Physics, Cairo
University. 1990 B. Sc. in Physics, Cairo
University, First Class Honors. Education and
employment 1- Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute of
Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN), Atomic
Physics Laboratory, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako-Shi,
Saitama 351-0198, Tokyo, Japan, from 20/1/2005
till now. 2- Postdoctoral Fellow, Laser Cooling
Group, Physics Department, National Chung Cheng
University, Taiwan from 8/7/2004 till 12/01/2005.
3- Assistant Professor, Cairo University,
Beni-Suef Faculty of Science, Physics Department,
Egypt from 1/7/2003 to 5/7/2004. 4- Ph. D.
student, Stockholm University, Atomic Physics
Department, Sweden, Supervisor Prof. R. Schuch,
from 24/5/1999 to 2/6/2003. 5- Teaching
Assistant, Cairo University, Beni-Suef Faculty of
Science, Egypt from 23/4/1996 to 23/5/1999. 6-
Instructor and Researcher in Physics, Cairo
University, Beni-Suef Faculty of Science, Egypt
from 3/10/1990 to 23/4/1996.
Tarek BS sertificate
TAMU-Qatar Co-PI and Collaborators
  • Professor Milivoj Belic, Physics (Contact PI)
  • Professor Mashhad Fahes, Petroleum Engineering
  • Professor Hadi Nasrabadi, Petroleum Engineering
  • Professor Rudolph Lorentz, Mathematics
  • Professor Samia Jones, Mathematics

Present status
  • One complete general setup is available at
  • TAMU, College Station, Texas. It is being used
  • prepare studies on new elements before on-line
  • work at nuclear accelerators is carried out.
  • A second dedicated setup for oil and gas
  • studies is being prepared and part of it has
    been completed and is ready for shipment to
  • Vacuum equipment has been ordered.
  • Obtain permission and funds for shipping the
    initial part of the apparatus.
  • Work within the approved budget and find yearly
    support for a postdoc staying at Doha (possibly
    for the whole year).
  • The PI is at TAMUQ for research and teaching
    until May 2009. He is accompanied by an
    undergraduate student (Ricardo Nava, Industrial
    Engineering). Ricardo will setup the initial
    apparatus as his co-op project. The PI will come
    back to Doha TAMUQ later this year and plans to
    work with a postdoc (to be hired).

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Tarek BS seriticate - arabic
Schematic of the fast ion beam apparatus for rare
isotope spectroscopic detection
Teledyne sample
Reactor sample
Diluted (1/5) Reactor sample
Results of concentration measurements on various
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ISAC collinear fast beam laser hut
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RF ion guide setup
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