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CSIRO technology helps Chinese companies to explore oil

20 October, 2008

CSIRO technologies are helping petroleum companies improve their exploration methods not only in Australia but worldwide.

Chinese petroleum companies, including PetroChina, China’s largest oil and gas producer use CSIRO technologies to improve predictions on the presence and quantity of oil to reduce the risk of drilling dry wells.

CSIRO Petroleum’s Chinese program coordinator and Project leader Dr Keyu Liu says Chinese petroleum producing basins are unique in many ways.

“In East China, oils are primarily produced from young, lake basins,” Dr Liu says.
“In West China the petroleum producing basins are older and have undergone several tectonic modifications such that they have a complicated history of oil generation, migration and accumulation.

“This poses a huge challenge in petroleum exploration because conventional methods to characterise petroleum reservoirs and find oil are commonly ineffective in these types of geological environments.

“CSIRO technologies have made a significant impact on Chinese petroleum companies.”

CSIRO developed the Quantitative Grain Fluorescence (QGF) and Quantitative Grain Fluorescence on Extract (QGF-E) techniques for detecting oil zones and oil migration pathways.

These in-house techniques provide information on the presence and types of hydrocarbons, enabling researchers to estimate the current and previous oil saturation of reservoirs.

“The analyses can indicate where oil is likely to have migrated and accumulated,” Dr Liu says.

“The techniques are cost effective and involve a short turn-around times, enabling companies to analyse more samples than conventionally possible in a shorter time, which is significant for oil and gas exploration programs.”

“The analyses can indicate where oil is likely to have migrated and accumulated,”
Dr Liu says.

PetroChina has taken up a licensing agreement and is already applying the technology to investigate hydrocarbon charge history of the Tarim Basin in West China.

The technology is also licensed to SINOPEC and China University of Petroleum.
“The technology has now been applied to many of China’s basins, including South China Sea basins, Bohai Bay basins, Tarim Basin and Sichuan Basin,” Dr Liu says.

The ‘Sedsim’ modelling software is another CSIRO evolved technology that has been used in the Tarim Basin in West China. This project received a research excellence award from PetroChina which used the software to predict the distribution of reservoir rocks - a prerequisite for understanding where oil may be located.

PetroChina also has the CSIRO-developed Fluorescence Alteration of Multiple Macerals (FAMM) technology, designed to improve thermal maturity evaluation and petroleum generation models that estimate oil and gas reserves.

“PetroChina is a global producer and distributor of petroleum and petrochemical products. CSIRO is providing innovative solutions to improve the efficiency of petroleum exploration and production largely through reducing exploration risk,” says Dr Liu.

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