Frac Fluids

Subsurface Oil Industry Applications – Upstream

FLUORENSIC™ tracers can be used in subsurface applications as a means of detecting reservoir and formation damage, hydrocarbon flow paths and water dilution effects.

In both drilling and production activities FLUORENSIC™ can be used as an inexpensive and non-toxic alternative to fluorescent dyes or radioactive taggants for injected fluids in either frac or inflow / water flood operations.



Drilling Applications

  • Drilling Fluid Invasion Detection – testing the thickness and invasion of drilling mud (mudcake) to the rock formation.
  • Formation Damage Control – testing the reservoir rock properties in a variety of laboratory-simulated pre-completion and pre-production scenarios.


The two main applications for use of tracer technologies in the drilling environment are with drilling muds and formation fluids.

  1. Determination of drilling fluid (mud) invasion in core samples and formation fluid samples and help identify and quantify:
  • Sw, Rw and hydrocarbon saturations
  • Contamination of downhole formation fluids
  1. Determination of formation damage effects of any injected fluids or moveable fluids in the reservoir system:
  • As drilling muds
  • As part of completion processes
  • As part of reservoir production
  • Injected as part of Secondary and Tertiary production phases



Completion Applications

  • Hydraulic Frac Fluid Flowback – measurement of injected frac fluid flowback water, testing for dilution from formation water breakthrough.
  • Hydraulic Frac Fluid Pollution – detection of frac fluids in ground water aquifers

FLUORENSIC™ can be added to the injected frac water used for cracking of tight reservoir rock or shales and for the transportation of proppant that hold the fractures open.

Emission spectrum of any specific FLUORENSIC™ signature used can be detected in flowback water at the wellsite using portable lab, and dilution effects from produced formation water can be measured accurately.

Minute tracer levels may also be capable of detection in sampled ground water around the wellsite to determine whether breakthrough of frac fluids to water aquifers has taken place.

Given the unique spectral signature of the FLUORENSIC™ taggant, this is a 100% accurate way of detecting a frac fluid spill or migration event.

How It Works

  • A specific colour spectrum of FLUORENSIC™ is introduced to the frac fluid at a diluted level.
  • Given the volume of injected water used in the frac process (in excess of X gallons), concentrations of taggant can be reduced from ppm to ppb ratios without affecting dilution detection rates.
  • Even minute dilution effects from mixing of produced formation water or breakthrough from water wet reservoir sections can be detected in samples of flowback water tested at the wellsite with a portable lab kit.
  • Here an example of a 100x dilution from the injected 1ppm concentration of FLUORENSIC™ in the frac fluid to a recovered 10ppb concentration is displayed on the software system, indicating a significant water breakthrough event has taken place subsurface.