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

 

Interest Rates: Wheeler Hikes OCR To 3% On Inflationary Pressures, Eyes Kiwi

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler lifted the official cash rate for the second time in as many months, saying non-tradable inflationary pressures were "becoming apparent" in an economy that’s picking up pace and he's watching the impact of a strong kiwi dollar on import prices. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Equity Crowd Funding Carries Risks, High Failure Rate

Equity crowd funding, which became legal in New Zealand this month, comes with a high risk of failure based on figures showing existing forays into social capital have a success rate of less than 50 percent, one new entrant says. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Migration Rises To 11-Year High In March

The country gained a seasonally adjusted 3,800 net new migrants in March, the most since February 2003, said Statistics New Zealand. A net 400 people left for Australia in March, down from 600 in February, according to seasonally adjusted figures. More>>

ALSO:

Hugh Pavletich: New Zealand’s Bubble Economy Is Vulnerable

The recent Forbes e-edition article by Jesse Colombo assesses the New Zealand economy “ 12 Reasons Why New Zealand's Economic Bubble Will End In Disaster ”, seems to have created quite a stir, creating extensive media coverage in New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

Thursday Market Close: Genesis Debut Sparks Energy Rally

New Zealand stock rose after shares in the partially privatised Genesis Energy soared as much as 18 percent in its debut listing on the NZX, buoying other listed energy companies in the process. Meridian Energy, MightyRiverPower, Contact Energy and TrustPower paced gains. More>>

ALSO:

Power Outages, Roads Close: Easter Storm Moving Down Country

The NZ Transport Agency says storm conditions at the start of the Easter break are making driving hazardous in Auckland and Northland and it advises people extreme care is needed on the regions’ state highways and roads... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news