A team of Hess engineers at the company’s Vallhall petroleum field in the Norwegian North Sea has improved the team’s ability to monitor production by embedding new intelligent tracers into well architecture.
Unlike conventional tracers – chemical solutions injected into a well via water flooding or other solutions used to stimulate production – intelligent tracers are built right into the well structure. They emit small amounts of traceable chemicals that are tagged to the section of the well where they live.
The cost of installation is low. The quality of information is high. And intelligent tracers are long lasting, while conventional tracers are not.
Hess is evaluating where intelligent tracers can be applied elsewhere in the world, in wells with similar architecture. They will help the company understand the subsurface geology that cannot be seen and is not easily depicted through seismic analysis.
There is also a positive environmental aspect to the use of intelligent tracer technology. It is low cost and low risk and the chemicals used are not harmful to the environment. What’s more, using by using intelligent tracers there is no risk of damage that could delay production.
"It is like having a continuous production log without having to run a tool into the well. It’s a very elegant solution," said Conny Gilbert, subsurface team leader, Hess Norway.