Methane detection by He-Ne laser for oil and natural gas prospecting
Jordan, Kevin James
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Surface geochemistry studies are valuable methods of petroleum prospecting. Atmospheric methane surveys can outline those areas where detailed geochemical studies need to be conducted. This report describes a field device capable of measuring small changes in methane concentration in the near surface atmosphere. Methane concentration is determined by measuring the attenuation of the 3.3922y He-Ne line in a pressurized gas flow cell due to absorption by methane. A second He-Ne laser line at 3.3912 p, which is only weakly absorbed by methane, is used as a reference signal to compensate for laser intensity fluctuations and scattering by water and dust. This system s fast, allowing measurements to be made from a moving vehicle- Also, the system allows for continuous sampling of the changing methane concentration as opposed to point measurements.