Produced water characterization by prompt gamma-ray neutron activation analysis

Multiphase gas/oil/water measurement has been and still is a challenging task within the petroleum industry. The requirements of measurement efficiency and accuracy have been continuously increasing at the same time as the trend is to use subsea installations. As a response, the design of the SOFA (Subsea Online Fluid Analyser) concept was initiated by Christian Michelsen Research in cooperation with the University of Bergen. The final design of the analyser is yet to be completed.

The ultimate goal of this design is the development of a permanently installed subsea metering station which is capable of characterizing all of the components that can be found in multiphase flow. One of the key challenges in this design is the detailed characterization of produced water samples which includes the identification of salt ions in the sample and their weight percentages. In this work, use of prompt gamma-ray neutron activation analysis (PGNAA) in conjunction with the so-called Monte Carlo library least-squares (MCLLS) approach is considered for characterization of the produced water component. A relatively simple produced water sample was prepared and the prompt gamma-ray spectrum of the sample was recorded using a large 6" × 6" NaI(Tl) scintillation detector. A specific purpose Monte Carlo code named CEARCPG was used to generate the pertinent elemental libraries that are required in the MCLLS approach. The results of this feasibility study have shown that the PGNAA in conjunction with the MCLLS approach would be feasible for determining the amounts of salt ions that can be found in produced water samples.


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