Radioactive Tracers

A radioactive tracer survey is used to follow the movement of fluids by introducing a radioactive isotope into the fluid. This isotope is tracked with a gamma ray counter.

The most common radioactive tracer material used in the Gulf Coast area is iodine 131. This material has a half-life of 8.1 days and is soluble in water, iodine 131 is placed in the borehole with a special injector tool. Each injection puts a measured amount of solution in the borehole. This slug of tracer material

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1.100 " 1,150

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1,200

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Fig. 17-5 Radioactive log is followed by movement of a gamma ray detector. The slug can be followed from the tool to a zone of lost circulation or underground blowout. When the radioactive material enters a zone of lost circulation, it will concentrate and show an increase in radiation for that zone (Fig. 17-5). Repeat runs with the gamma ray tool will define the location and thickness of the invaded zone.

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