Tracer studies for reservoir production management and monitoring of reservoir pressure maintenance systems have been widely used since the 1970s. Fluid flow distribution has been traced using radioactive tracer agents injected into wells. With the evolution of tracer technology, tracer study philosophy has been introduced to various aspects of field development to become a comprehensive diagnostic tool and a viable alternative to conventional research methods (well tests and production logging). Although based on a common tracing principle, tracer studies differ in terms of injected tracer agents, quantitative identification methods, flow directions, methods of interpretation, and application of the outcomes. These differences do not enable appropriate clustering of marker methods and addressing a variety of challenges using only one type of tracer, or single data recording or interpretation method, etc. Moreover, generally accepted classification and terminology are currently unavailable. These would allow for clear identification of marker study method applied and good decision-making while planning the operations. Consequently, classification of marker diagnostic methods, their description, determination of key features, structuring, implementation of relevant terms are important for the choice of appropriate research methodology and facilitate selection of best solutions to existing operational challenges.
In the article, the main clusters of the marker diagnostics method are formed to select the direction of research depending on the problem being solved, the boundaries of the possibilities of the methods used are constructed, and the details of the tasks to be solved within these boundaries are given. A variant of terminology is proposed to indicate the direction of research and problems solved by the marker method, as well as a classification of problems in the fields development that can be solved using marker diagnostic technologies.
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