Oil and Gas: Exploration Upstream

Uncompromising Tools for Oil and Gas Exploration

Oil and gas exploration has undergone a revolution as frontiers push into deeper water, subsalt structures and longer horizontals in more complex basins. Bruker’s instrumentation provides reliable information across scales, from nanopores to basin-wide chemostratigraphic correlations.

Bruker Enables Multi-scale Analysis to Reduce Risk and Empower Discovery in Oil and Gas Exploration

Exploration for oil and gas requires intense scientific investigation to identify accumulations and de-risk exploration and production. New tools are required for the investigation of petroleum system elements in the era of ultra-deep wells, unconventional oil and gas, subsalt exploration, and frontier exploration in extreme environments. Bruker’s tools for reservoir characterization and chemostratigraphy include the ability to visualize and characterize the composition of rocks at scales from the basin to the pore.


Chemostratigraphy is the use of variations in the chemical composition of sedimentary successions to: 

  • understand correlative relationships at the basin or field scale

  • identify elemental proxies used in paleoecological reconstructions     

  • aid in building sequence stratigraphic frameworks 

  • identify physical properties of rocks for drilling and compilations

Bruker provides tools for the elemental and chemical analysis of core and cuttings to make chemostratigraphy easy and scalable. Click below to learn more about applying chemostratigraphy to any sized project.

Collecting elemental chemostratigraphy data with the TRACER 5

Bulk Geochemistry

Elemental Analysis is an important tool for the field and petroleum geologist to characterize and identify petroleum- or gas-bearing formations. Drill cuttings, mud, or cores can be analyzed by X-ray Fluorescence (XRF). 

  • The benchtop S2 PUMA Series 2 reaches low detection limits on prepared drill cuttings in a mobile lab by using the Energy Dispersive XRF (EDXRF).

  • The analysis of majors and traces in the lab is best performed by the floor standing S8 TIGER Series 2 Wavelength Dispersive XRF (WDXRF) spectrometer using either the GEO-QUANT package or custom calibrations.

  • The CTX is a compact portable countertop XRF ideal for rig operations, with a battery backup, push-button operation, spill-proof rugged aluminum case, and safety-interlocked lid. Now available with the MUDROCK matrix-matched calibration, the versatile GeoEXPLORATION calibration, or a custom calibration. 

  • The TRACER 5g is the ideal portable XRF for core, outcrop, or cuttings. With a helium flush and graphene window it has the best light element performance in a handheld. When paired with the MUDROCK calibration or a custom matrix-matched formation-specific calibration it is the most trusted portable XRF in oil and gas. 

Bulk Mineralogy 

Additional information on the mineralogical composition of the sediment or formation is offered by X-ray Diffraction (XRD). XRD distinguishes minerals that have the same or similar chemistry by their crystal structures. It not only allows the identification of minerals with DIFFRAC.EVA, but also offers standardless quantification using the Rietveld approach. Even non-crystalline phases may be quantified using this method. It enables pinpointing of potential reservoirs and host formations. A major advantage is the rather simple and quick sample preparation. The analysis of drill cuts can be done in a mobile lab using BRUKER’s benchtop D2 PHASER. In a lab setting, the D8 ENDEAVOR or the D8 ADVANCE is the optimal choice.

Explore New Technology for Reservoir Characterization and Formation Evaluation

Reservoir characterization models incorporate rock characteristics related to the storage and production of hydrocarbons. Bruker’s innovative rock characterization tools can provide new types of information in sedimentary rocks: 

  • Visual geochemistry of sedimentary rocks, including visualizations of elemental and molecular distributions  

  • Maps of minerals on scales from microns to nanometers including the ability to combine methods to translate 2D data to 3D data  

  • Visualization and characterization of pores and permeability in two and three dimensions including nanodarcy pores in shale and complex pore networks in sandstones  

Below is a summary of methods used for reservoir characterization. Reach out to Bruker’s oil and gas experts to discuss any analytical needs and to the best solution.  

Structural Analysis of the open Pore Network

Understanding porosity and permeability is important for oil and gas reservoir characterization, sedimentology, hydrogeology and groundwater studies. XRM enables characterization and visualization of pores, pore size distribution, and of open versus closed pore networks. This information can have profound implications on oil and gas production models, gas or water flooding, analog studies, contaminate flow modeling, deformation experiments and sedimentary petrology.

Wellsite Mineralogical Analysis of Shale Formations with the D2 PHASER

The analysis of shale reactivity typically involves a variety of analytical techniques, including but not limited to X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence, gamma logging, optical microscopy, electron microscopy, total organic content, and cation exchange capacity. From a mineralogical perspective, XRD is widely considered to be the favored technique, particularly for discrimination between elementally similar phases.

For example, hematite (Fe2O3) and siderite (FeCO3) give similar elemental signatures but distinct diffraction patterns. Diffraction data are often obtained for both vertical and horizontal segments of wellbores. Analysis of the vertical section allows for the identification of zones with desirable physical properties. In horizontal segments of unconventional reservoirs, XRD is primarily used in geosteering, to ensure that the wellbore stays within a specific geological bed.

Webinars on Exploration and Geological Characterization

The annular SDD XFlash® FlatQUAD is ideally suited for the analysis of topographically complex, three-dimensional and beam sensitive samples.

Fast, Accurate and Precise Quantification Results Using an Annular Silicon Drift Detector: Bruker’s XFlash FlatQUAD

The annular SDD XFlash® FlatQUAD is ideally suited for the analysis of topographically complex, three-dimensional and beam sensitive samples.
Micro-XRF spectrometry

Seeing the world through other eyes

Scanning micro-XRF has developed into a highly informative analytical tool for the study of complex samples across multiple disciplines.
Tips and Tricks for Making Your Own Secondary Standards for XRF
July 28, 2020

Tips and Tricks for Making Your Own Secondary Standards for XRF

Bruker and FLUXANA join forces.

Advanced Data Mining in Micro-XRF

In this webinar we will focus on 3 examples on how to get data out of a Hypermap data cube using different software features.
Analytical SEM Solutions for Geology - Part I

Analytical SEM Solutions for Geology - Part I

Join us for a webinar in two parts covering various aspects of scanning electron microscopy techniques (EDS, EBSD, CL) for geological applications.
The techniques are surface sensitive

Analytical SEM Solutions for Geology - Part II

Join the second part of this free webinar dealing with scanning electron microscopy techniques (EBSD, CL) for geological applications.
Bruker's M4 TORNADO is a tabletop Micro-XRF spectrometer.

Explore Micro-XRF in the Geosciences

Explore the exciting world of micro-XRF for Geology and get questions on the method answered by leading Micro-XRF experts.

Advanced Element Analysis of Geological Samples using QUANTAX WDS for SEM

Advantages of WDS for SEM for the analyses of geological samples.

Large Area High Resolution Maps of Geological Samples

In this webinar we present Hypermap analyses of geological samples relevant to various applications, e.g. economic geology, mineralogy etc.
Infrared and Raman Analysis of Geological Samples
November 9, 2018

Infrared and Raman Analysis of Geological Samples


Latest advances in identifying mineral composition variation by the M4 TORNADO AMICS

The new M4 TORNADOAMICS spectrometer allows the creation of mineral maps from spatially resolved X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) signals.

AMICS — The Latest Software Package for Automated Identification and Quantification of Minerals and Synthetic Phases

The Advanced Mineral Identification and Characterization System (AMICS) is the latest software package for automated identification and quantification of minerals and synthetic phases. The key of this package lies in its innovative imaging and analysis software capabilities.

Products for Exploration and Geological Characterization

Method Characterization Targets Sample Preparation
Benchtop micro-XRF Map texture, composition and sedimentary structures with major and trace elements down to 18 µm  Slightly rough to flat surfaces, standard thin sections, billets, core plugs, core slabs, cuttings scatter mounts.
XRM / X-ray Microscope Three-dimensional mapping of structures and porosity Core plugs, rock fragments
Raman Microscopes Molecular structures with Raman scattering phenomenon for organic matter analysis, thermal maturity, and fluid inclusion analysis. Standard thin sections, cuttings, core plugs.
FTIR Microscopes C-H-O functional groups including organic matter analysis, mineral identification, and hydrocarbon analysis Polished and smooth surfaces, thin sections, core, cuttings
EDS on Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) Microanalysis of pores and textures for detailed characterization major and some trace elements Polished and coated thin section or SEM mount. Vacuum required.
Automated Mineralogy Combines BSE and EDS for high-speed large-area mineral maps to characterize texture, porosity, mineral associations, calculated physical properties (young’s modulus), and generate targeting for LA-ICP-MS of zircons Polished and coated thin section or SEM mount. Vacuum required.
micro-XRF for Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) Improve trace-element performance in a scanning electron microscope with a 100 µm X-ray spot, particularly important for environmental proxies such as U and Mo. Polished and coated thin section or SEM mount. Vacuum required.
EDS on Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) Major elements and some trace elements with the best resolution.  Specialized TEM lamina sample preparation.
Nano-indentation Benchtop or SEM-mounted hardness testing used to calculate Young’s modulus and other physical parameters  Polished and coated thin section or SEM mount. Vacuum sometimes required. 
Atomic Force Microscopy An emerging tool for surface characterization at near-atomic scales may be used for identification and characterization of solid organic matter  Polished thin section or mount, vacuum not required  
EBSD/TKD Detailed mineral maps and crystal orientation studies. Highly polished thin section and electron transparent samples 
X-ray Diffraction
Crystallographic phase identification and quantification Ground powders and flat surfaces