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Radiological aspects of petroleum exploration and production in the sultanate of Oman

Al-Farsi, Afkar Nadhim (2008) Radiological aspects of petroleum exploration and production in the sultanate of Oman. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

This thesis is a study of naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) activity concentration, gamma dose rate and radon (222Rn) exhalation from the waste streams of large-scale onshore petroleum operations. Types of activities covered included; sludge recovery from separation tanks, sludge farming, NORM storage, scaling in oil tubulars, scaling in gas production and sedimentation in produced water evaporation ponds. Field work was conducted in the arid desert terrain of an operational oil exploration and production region in the Sultanate of Oman.

The main radionuclides found were 226Ra and 210Pb (238U - series), 228Ra and 228Th (232Th - series), and 227Ac (235U - series), along with 40K. All activity concentrations were higher than the ambient soil level and varied over several orders of magnitude. The range of gamma dose rates at a 1 m height above ground for the farm treated sludge had a range of 0.06 0.43 µSv h 1, and an average close to the ambient soil mean of 0.086 ± 0.014 µSv h 1, whereas the untreated sludge gamma dose rates had a range of 0.07 1.78 µSv h 1, and a mean of 0.456 ± 0.303 µSv h 1. The geometric mean of ambient soil 222Rn exhalation rate for area surrounding the sludge was mBq m 2 s 1. Radon exhalation rates reported in oil waste products were all higher than the ambient soil value and varied over three orders of magnitude.

This study resulted in some unique findings including: (i) detection of radiotoxic 227Ac in the oil scales and sludge, (ii) need of a new empirical relation between petroleum sludge activity concentrations and gamma dose rates, and (iii) assessment of exhalation of 222Rn from oil sludge. Additionally the study investigated a method to determine oil scale and sludge age by the use of inherent behaviour of radionuclides as 228Ra:226Ra and 228Th:228Ra activity ratios.

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ID Code: 29817
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Akber, Riaz& Morawska, Lidia
Keywords: NORM, radiological, petroleum, mining, dating, sludge farming, separation tanks, radium, thorium, radon, lead-210, actinium, potassium, gamma spectroscopy, gamma dose rate, 222Rn exhalation, sludge, oil scales, gas scales, evaporation pond sediment, ambient soil, Oman
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > School of Physical & Chemical Sciences
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 19 Jan 2010 15:44
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2011 05:54

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