Applications of Nuclear Science in Petroleum Production
- Milton Williams (Humble Oil & Refining Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- August 1960
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 11 - 13
- 1960. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 2 Well Completion, 5.6.1 Open hole/cased hole log analysis, 3.2.3 Hydraulic Fracturing Design, Implementation and Optimisation, 5.8.4 Shale Oil, 5.4.3 Gas Cycling, 5.6.5 Tracers, 3 Production and Well Operations, 4.6 Natural Gas, 5.6.4 Drillstem/Well Testing, 6.5.4 Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials, 1.14 Casing and Cementing, 1.2.3 Rock properties, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment
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To aid in solving the many problems with which it is faced, the petroleum industry long has been accustomed to rely on the research which it conducts at its own expense and to adapt to its particular needs the results of research which originates in other fields. Just as it has been able to put to its own uses many other scientific advances, so the petroleum industry has drawn freely on developments in nuclear science to provide new tools, methods and knowledge designed to aid in the search for petroleum and in the production of oil and gas.
At the outset, it must be understood that, to date, there has been no application of nuclear science which may be said to have revolutionized the petroleum industry's operations. It is true, however, that nuclear science has made numerous, distinct contributions to the industry in a number of ways and that this multiplicity of applications represents, in the aggregate, a very real advance.
Illustrative of the way in which developments in nuclear science can be of benefit in petroleum exploration is the application of age-dating to the sediments drilled in the search for petroleum.
Since the early days of radioactivity, there has been an interest on the part of the geologist in dating strata in an absolute chronology by use of various radioactivity decay schemes. Joly, Rutherford, and their contemporaries laid the ground-work many years ago by use of uranium-lead, thorium-lead and uranium-helium methods in which the relative amounts of "parent" and of "daughter" were determined by chemical analysis alone. As the years have passed, more decay systems have been exploited, and more highly sophisticated methods have been brought to bear on the accurate determinations of parent and daughter which are required for precise dating. Today, there is a wealth of literature on the subject, and additional research is being carried out in many places which is designed to make more accurate the determination of age.
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