Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Victoria research could aid oil search

MEDIA RELEASE

14 November 2006


Victoria research could aid oil search

Researchers at Victoria University have been able to track for the first time the speed with which liquids move between different pores in rocks that hold hydrocarbons.

While geologists have been using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) for more than a decade to probe the nuclei of atoms to learn about the porous structure of rocks that hold oil and other hydrocarbons, Professor Paul Callaghan and postgraduate student Kate Washburn have shown how the technique could be extended to track the movement of liquid between different pores.

Their research was published in the latest edition of the prestigious journal, Physical Review Letters.

Professor Callaghan, who is the Director of the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials & Nanotechnology, said the method had many potential uses.

“Not only could it could assist production companies in more efficiently extracting oil from the ground, but it could also allow researchers to monitor the motion of molecules between different microscopic regions in liquid crystals or biological cells.”

NMR techniques involve placing a sample into a magnetic field, causing the atoms in it to resonate at a particular frequency. By directing a radio wave into the atom, the wave that comes back can tell scientists a lot about the sample. NMR works particularly well with compounds that contain hydrogen atoms such as water.

To understand the structure of a rock using NMR, researchers expose a porous rock such as sandstone to a strong magnetic field, causing the nuclei of the hydrogen atoms in the water to line up like tiny magnets. When a different magnetic field is briefly added, the nuclei begin to ‘wobble’ in synch and monitoring how long it takes for the wobbling to start can tell researchers the size of the pores in the rock. When the molecules are in a small pore, they collide with the walls more quickly and start wobbling sooner than those in a large pore.

Professor Callaghan says knowing the range of pore sizes doesn’t tell the researchers how well connected the pores are.

“To find that out, we need to repeat this test over time and look for changes. Using complex computational techniques, we’ve been able to work out how quickly the liquid moves between pores. In the oil industry, this is crucial information as it indicates how easily trapped oil will be able move through the rock and out of the well.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Half Full: Dairy Payouts Steady, Cash Will Be Tight

Industry body DairyNZ is advising farmers to focus on strong cashflow management as they look ahead to the 2015-16 season following Fonterra's half-year results announcement today. More>>

ALSO:

First Union: Cotton On Plans To Use “Tea Break” Law

“The Prime Minister reassured New Zealanders that ‘post the passing of this law, will you all of a sudden find thousands of workers who are denied having a tea break? The answer is absolutely not’... Cotton On is proposing to remove tea and meal breaks for workers in its safety sensitive distribution centre. How long before other major chains try and follow suit?” More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ-Korea FTA Signed Amid Spying, Lost Sovereignty Claims

A long-awaited free trade agreement between New Zealand and South Korea has been signed in Seoul by Prime Minister John Key and the Korean president, Park Geun-hye. More>>

ALSO:

PM Visit: NZ And Viet Nam Agree Ambitious Trade Target

New Zealand and Viet Nam have agreed an ambitious target of doubling two-way goods and service trade to around $2.2 billion by 2020, Prime Minister John Key has announced. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Economy Grows 0.8% In Fourth Quarter

The New Zealand economy expanded in the fourth quarter as tourists drove growth in retailing and accommodation, and property sales increased demand for real estate services. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: RBNZ’s Wheeler Keeps OCR On Hold, No Rate Hikes Ahead

The Reserve Bank has removed the prospect of future interest rate hikes from its forecast horizon as a strong kiwi dollar and cheap oil hold down inflation, and the central bank ponders whether to lower its assessment of where “neutral” interest rates should be. The kiwi dollar gained. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news