Inter-laboratory test for oxygen and hydrogen stable isotope analyses of geothermal fluids: Assessment of reservoir fluid compositions

Mahendra P. VermaRobert van GeldernJohannes A.C. BarthGael MonvoisinKaryne RogersFausto GrassaDaniel CarrizoAntonio Delgado HuertasThomas KretzschmarRuth Esther Villanueva‐EstradaJosé Marcus GodoyRoslanzairi MostapaHugo Alberto Durán Cortés. 2018. Inter-laboratory test for oxygen and hydrogen stable isotope analyses of geothermal fluids: Assessment of reservoir fluid compositions. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 32, 20, 1799-1810, DOI: 10.1002/rcm.8233

RationaleKnowledge of the accuracy and precision for oxygen (O-18 values) and hydrogen (H-2 values) stable isotope analyses of geothermal fluid samples is important to understand geothermal reservoir processes, such as partial boiling-condensation and encroachment of cold and reinjected waters. The challenging aspects of the analytical techniques for this specific matrix include memory effects and higher scatter of delta values with increasing total dissolved solids (TDS) concentrations, deterioration of Pt-catalysts by dissolved/gaseous H2S for hydrogen isotope equilibration measurements and isotope salt effects that offset isotope ratios determined by gas equilibration techniques.

MethodsAn inter-laboratory comparison exercise for the determination of the O-18 and H-2 values of nine geothermal fluid samples was conducted among eleven laboratories from eight countries (CeMIEGeo2017). The delta values were measured by dual inlet isotope ratio mass spectrometry (DI-IRMS), continuous flow IRMS (CF-IRMS) and/or laser absorption spectroscopy (LAS). Moreover, five of these laboratories analyzed an additional sample set at least one month after the analysis period of the first set. Statistical evaluation of all the results was performed to obtain the expected isotope ratios of each sample, which were then subsequently used in deep reservoir fluid composition calculations.

ResultsThe overall analytical precisions of the measurements were0.2 parts per thousand for O-18 values and +/- 2.0 parts per thousand for H-2 values within the 95% confidence interval.

ConclusionsThe measured and calculated O-18 and H-2 values of water sampled at the weir box, separator and wellhead of geothermal wells suggest the existence of hydrogen and oxygen isotope-exchange equilibrium between the liquid and vapor phases at all sampling points in the well. Thus, both procedures for calculating the isotopic compositions of the deep geothermal reservoir fluid – using either the analytical data of the liquid phase at the weir box together with those of vapor at the separator or the analytical data of liquid and vapor phases at the separator -are equally valid.

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