Inferring Mineralogy: Bulk chemical analysis is used to infer the mineralogy of the rock.
Inferring Lithology (Mud Logging): The elemental composition and ratios of light elements found in the analysis tells whether you’re drilling through limestone, dolomite, sandstone, siltstone, or shale.
Chemostratigraphy: Chemostratigraphy is the study of the variation of chemistry within sedimentary sequences. Key chemostratigraphic markers can be used to steer the well bore in real time or confirm the well bore path. Trace elements analyzed by portable XRF can be good markers for this type of investigation.
Reservoir Characterization: Various physical characteristics of the reservoir (such as porosity, permeability, and fracture population can be inferred from chemical composition.
Oil and Gas Productivity: A determination of whether or not the strata will produce oil and gas.
Quickly gaining an understanding of these qualities is critical to making decisions about whether to stop or continue drilling, where to focus on the grid, and when to take a proper sample for laboratory analysis. However, traditional mining sample analysis often involves a costly and time-consuming process of sending samples to off-site laboratories and waiting days, or even months, for critical data. On-site mobile laboratories have sometimes proven difficult to maintain and the related analytical equipment is often inadequate in terms of ruggedness, ease-of-use, and portability. Portable XRF technology is improving efficiency in E&P operations by providing rapid sample analysis in the field, in real time. They provide a cost-effective alternative to expensive, permanent, on-site labs or costly and untimely sample dispatch to off-site laboratories. Portable X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) instruments are not used to directly analyze hydrocarbon fluids, but they can analyze major and trace elements of host rocks. These assay data are very important in interpretation of the hydrocarbon potential of the strata and can be used to evaluate a drill site according to the criteria mentioned above. Read the application note about the use of XRF technology to analyze a variety of sample types common in the upstream E&P industry.