First Correlation of NORM With a Specific Geological Hypothesis
- Andrew Lloyd Smith (Risk Management Systems)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE European Health, Safety and Environmental Conference in Oil and Gas Exploration and Production, 22-24 February, Vienna, Austria
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2011. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.6.1 Open hole/cased hole log analysis, 4.3.4 Scale, 5.8.7 Carbonate Reservoir, 4.6 Natural Gas, 6.5.4 Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials, 5.8.4 Shale Oil, 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 1.2.3 Rock properties, 7.2.2 Risk Management Systems, 1.8 Formation Damage, 5.1.3 Sedimentology, 5.1.1 Exploration, Development, Structural Geology, 5.2.3 Geochemical Characterization, 5.8.2 Shale Gas, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 6.1.5 Human Resources, Competence and Training
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It is now possible to relate most oil and gas reserves to six stratigraphic black shale formations which include the majority of the world's oil and gas source rocks (Ulmishek and Klemme, 1990). From 1997 the US Dept of Energy attempted to predict the activity of NORM and other factors which may affect the activity and / or occurrence of NORM in E&P production operations (Chriss 2002). Black shales are the source rocks for petroleum trapped within Uranium deposits (IAEA 2009).
According to current ideas kerogen† is the organic constituent of sedimentary materials that is associated with petroleum formation. Kerogen is considered by petroleum geologists as being of two different varieties: humic kerogen associated with poor oil sources and sapropelic‡ kerogen, related to subaqueous sediments and associated with rich oil sources. Oil and gas is formed by the thermal cracking of organic matter (kerogen) trapped in sedimentary rock.
Two hypotheses regarding NORM in E&P production operations need to be considered. The first hypothesis is that NORM is produced by locally high U and Th concentrations in the reservoir rocks. If this is generally true, NORM scale will be largely controlled by the geological formation and lithology. The second hypothesis is that NORM is released from ordinary geological media during normal geological processes. If this is generally true, the potential for NORM scale
precipitation may be predicted largely from basin setting and history.
A worldwide survey comprising a comprehensive review and detailed analysis of reported NORM activity in oilfield scales has now determined which of these hypotheses prevails. For the first time management will now have the ability to predict the magnitude of NORM in E&P facilities worldwide.
The 5th International Symposium on Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM V) organized in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency that was held in Seville during 2007, highlighted the need to adequately assess doses to both workers and the public from NORM. In terms of worker exposures it emphasized the necessity to use workplace and individual monitoring data to ensure that dose estimates are realistic (Shaw 2007). Since a definitive database of all the NORM activity data currently available in the open literature was not available in one location, it was decided to perform a technical survey of all the original source data on NORM. All relevant data would then be compiled and analyzed to determine the distribution characteristics of NORM concentrations in oil field scale. Verification of the original source data would also validate the accuracy of the comprehensive statistical analysis subsequently performed on the published data.
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