Russian scientists have found a cheap way to search for oil

A team of scientists of the Geological Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences has opened a fundamentally new way of predicting oil and other minerals, called thermotomography. The essence of it is to build three-dimensional models of temperature distribution and heat flux, which allows you to get maps, sections geothermal field at any depth and thus determine the level at which there are conditions for the formation of hydrocarbon molecules. This method allows a first approach to predict the depth and location of placement of deposits and savings on finding hundreds of millions of rubles.


3D — raft Barents Sea temperature (T, ° C)

Ideologically, this method was first developed in the early 2000s. "Everyone knows that in fact the formation of oil, gas, gas condensate occurs under certain conditions of temperature, — explains the project coordinator, head of the Laboratory of the Geological Institute of Heat and Mass Transfer of Sciences Professor Michael Hutorskoy. — For example, oil molecules to form necessary temperature interval from 110 to 140 ° C, gas — from 150 to 190 ° C. We set out to calculate the depth at which the earth’s crust there is this range of temperature. According to these calculations, we planned to make a prediction of hydrocarbon deposits, then to clearly say oil companies: "Guys, burite, please, to a depth of .. That is where the process begins katagenesis (conversion of organic matter to the hydrocarbon molecule). "

Check the validity of the hypothesis, scientists have begun to well-studied geothermal areas in the first place — in the Barents Sea. The first 3D-model, piloted in this area has shown that the already discovered oil fields are located within a certain thermal domes, which were first seen on the three-dimensional models. Oil-lying exactly in the range calculated geothermal anomaly.

A similar coincidence was recorded at the fields in the Kara Sea, the Caspian basin, the Pripyat depression (in this section experiments were carried out in cooperation with Belarusian colleagues), North German Basin (in the area of work was carried out together with the German researchers).

"We realized that a search feature — says Hutorskoy. — If there is a thermal dome, we can say with confidence high prospects of oil and gas. "

After analyzing the identified patterns, the researchers went to work on their technique in the promising, but it is not investigated in the search and exploration on the area — the waters of the Laptev Sea. Designed for the area 3D-model showed the presence of two thermal domes in the region. Based on this, the researchers have outlined area search for oil in the form of a triangle that connects the island and the mouth of the Stolbovoy two northern rivers — the Lena and Yana. The cost of such a forecast, by the standards of the oil exploration, was very cheap — only 300 000.


Michael Hutorskoy: "If there is a thermal dome, then it is likely that there is oil"

According to Michael Khutorskoy, the main advantage of the method of assessment termotomograficheskogo oil and gas in its economy as the money and the labor costs. Actively used in mineral exploration geophysical methods, in particular, the different variations of good seismic mapping of local structures, but they do not give a clear answer to the question that is on the predicted depth — or oil, for example, water. They need to be complemented by other methods, in particular, the deep geoelectric and geothermal. The use of thermotomography saving tens of millions of rubles by reducing the amount of exploration drilling. Besides it does not require new measurements, and operates the information contained in the global database for heat flow. Relying on it, you can do termotomograficheskuyu evaluation model for oil and gas of any territory.

The results of this study, the researchers have published dozens of articles in leading the industry in Russian and foreign journals. German publisher Springer Verlag regarded the publication as one of the outstanding and included in the annual Geological Survey.

But as with all things new, thermotomography method, developed relatively recently introduced is not very active. We carried out two economic agreements with industrial organizations working primarily in the Arctic become interested in it, "Lukoil" has not yet given an answer, whether he is ready to replenish its arsenal of methods for predicting the development of Russian scientists.

The researchers themselves explain the low interest in the new technique of industry inertia of thinking executives of major oil companies, which tend to be guided by the logic: the more enclose money, the more you will receive oil. Incentives to do the implementation of new technologies they have. Therefore, scientists will have to work hard to ensure that their development has received the application in practice.

Work was supported by the Federal Program "Research and scientific-pedagogical personnel of innovative Russia" for 2009-2013.

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