Geochemical Production Allocation at the Oil & Gas Focus Group Meeting

In December Merlin’s Principal Geochemist Paul Taylor presented an overview of geochemical production allocation methods to the Oil and Gas Focus Group. This Group, managed by TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory on behalf of the UK Government’s National Measurement System (NMS), is a technical network focused on flow measurement and flow-related issues within the oil and gas industry. In this current environment of cost saving, geochemical production allocation methods are of great interest within the industry as their application can help reduce development and operational costs.

Geochemical production allocation uses the detailed geochemistry of produced fluids as natural tracers to allocate flows between reservoirs, wells or fields in commingled flow lines. This allows a clear understanding to be established of the origin and accounting of production fluids without the requirement of well and zonal testing which may not be possible, may defer production, and is a more costly solution if carried out. It is  particularly helpful for reducing uncertainty in allocating production volumes into shared facilities when other methods are unavailable or cost prohibitive (e.g. sub-sea tiebacks to existing platforms).

The technology has been around for a long time – it was first introduced in the 1980s – and is improving with advances in analysis technology. However, uptake by most oil and gas companies has been limited. There are a variety of possible explanations, but one reason is a lack of communication by geochemists and practitioners in the metering and allocation world, which is why it was such a good opportunity to connect at the December meeting of the Oil and Gas Focus Group.

Geochemical allocation can be used for oils, condensates, gases or water streams and the technology has potential to contribute directly to MER UK by facilitating harmonious integration of multiple operators’ production in a cluster development. Its reliability means that it has been used for fiscal settlement between operators and the UK regulator in the past.

Merlin would like to thank Chris Mills of TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory and the organisers of the Oil and Gas Focus Group for the opportunity to participate and present at the meeting. If you would like to learn more about the methods or their application, please drop us an e-mail at