Testing Petroleum Source Rocks with the CRAIC Technologies CoalPro™ Microphotometer System

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The QDI CoalPro™ Vitrinite Reflectance Measurement System from CRAIC Technologies is used in qualifying new oil and gas reservoirs by testing petroleum source rock for their energy content or rank.

Due to the spike in energy prices, there is intense interest in locating and developing additional oil and gas reserves. These reserves are located in sedimentary basins and predictions can be made of the quantity of oil and gas in these reservoirs by the identification of petroleum source rocks. However, this requires an understanding the burial and thermal maturation histories of the strata in these basins. This is done by measuring the vitrinite reflectance of kerogens, the organic components of the source rock, with the QDI CoalPro™ Vitrinite Reflectance Measurement System from CRAIC Technologies, Inc. The level of vitrinite found in kerogens is an indicator of the thermal maturity of the petroleum source rock and therefore allows predictions of the amount and timing of petroleum generation in the reservoir.

Vitrinite is a maceral that is a key component of kerogen, the organic components of petroleum source rocks. By measuring the amount of vitrinite, the thermal maturity of the source rock can be determined and an estimate can be made of the amount of oil or gas contained within a particular reservoir. The procedure has been delineated in ISO and ASTM standards and requires a the CoalPro™ microphotometer: a device designed to measure the intensity of light reflected from a microscopic sampling area at 546 nm. The procedure is simple: the microphotometer measures the amount of light reflected from the kerogen at hundreds of points after which a statistical analysis is done. The results of the statistical analysis are used to determine the amount of vitrinite in the petroleum source rock and therefore its thermal maturity. As hundreds of measurements need to be done on each sample, this used to be a very time consuming process. Today, instruments such as the QDI CoalPro™ can automate this process and dramatically improve the number of samples analyzed in a day.

For more information about the QDI CoalPro™ Vitrinite Reflectance Measurement System and petroleum source rock analysis, please visit http://www.microspectra.com.

CRAIC Technologies, Inc. is a global technology leader focused on developing technology and methodologies for UV-visible-NIR microscopy and microspectroscopy. CRAIC Technologies creates innovative solutions, along with the very best in customer support, by listening to our customers and implementing developments that integrate operational excellence and technologic expertise. CRAIC Technologies provides solutions for customers in the forensic sciences, biology, health sciences, semiconductor, geology, nanotechnology and materials science markets whose applications demand accuracy, precision, speed and the best in expert customer support.


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