New tool pinpoints oil reserves

Sep 06, 2013

(Phys.org) —A tool to precisely pinpoint where petroleum and gas reserves have accumulated has been created by an international team of scientists, including a geologist from the University of California, Davis.

The tool is a new index that provides a better understanding of how oil travels from where it was formed to where it has collected. The index, described in a recent study published in the journal Scientific Reports, could aid in the discovery of new , while reducing the environmental impact of accessing those resources.

"The index should result in fewer incidents of failed drilling, which should reduce unnecessary ," said UC Davis geology professor and study co-author Qing-zhu Yin.

With further research, Yin said it could also be used to trace pollutants caused by oil spills and guide environmental mitigation in such instances.

"Generations and generations of people have been trying different tools," said Yin. "The problem is these tools have not been good indicators of the distance the oil travels, and there's a lot of variability depending on the oil source. In this study, we've teased out the facts irrelevant to distance migration and created a model. Then we applied it to the real world and found it works really beautifully."

There are two types of petroleum migration: Primary migration refers to the movement of oil out of the rocks where it was formed. Secondary migration is the movement of this oil to the reservoir where it collects.

"Secondary petroleum migration in many basins around the world is poorly understood and yet the information about this process is most important for petroleum exploration," the study's authors write.

The scientists tested the index at the Xifeng Oilfield in Inner Mongolia, as well as the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin, which contains one of the world's largest reserves of petroleum and natural gas. They found it to be a reliable odometer for the distance the oil traveled.

Explore further: Rising anger as Nicaragua canal to break ground

More information: bit.ly/17quqLD

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Magnetic rocks aid oil exploration

Jul 03, 2013

A new study has pinpointed the relationship between oil reservoirs and magnetic rocks, which could lead to more accurate oil exploration.

China oil majors barred from expanding refineries

Aug 30, 2013

Environmental regulators have taken the unusual step of blocking China's two biggest oil producers from expanding their refining capacity after they failed to meet targets for reducing pollution.

Can we accurately model fluid flow in shale?

Jan 04, 2013

(Phys.org)—Given that over 20 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, a third of the United States' total reserves, are thought to be trapped in shale, and given the rush to exploit shale oil and gas resources ...

Recommended for you

Rising anger as Nicaragua canal to break ground

14 hours ago

As a conscripted soldier during the Contra War of the 1980s, Esteban Ruiz used to flee from battles because he didn't want to have to kill anyone. But now, as the 47-year-old farmer prepares to fight for ...

Hopes, fears, doubts surround Cuba's oil future

Dec 20, 2014

One of the most prolific oil and gas basins on the planet sits just off Cuba's northwest coast, and the thaw in relations with the United States is giving rise to hopes that Cuba can now get in on the action.

New challenges for ocean acidification research

Dec 19, 2014

Over the past decade, ocean acidification has received growing recognition not only in the scientific area. Decision-makers, stakeholders, and the general public are becoming increasingly aware of "the other carbon dioxide ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Howhot
1 / 5 (1) Sep 10, 2013
This is awesome. More computer mapping tools to precisely locate resources for the rich to steal and deprive the poor of their share of the planets god given wealth!!!??? Ass wipes.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.