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A surface geochemical exploration method that uses a passive hydrocarbon sampling technology has been successful in locating several dry gas deposits in the Transylvanian and Carpathian mountains of Romania. The method is designed to detect organic compounds larger than methane, even though, by definition, dry gas is composed primarily of methane. Since there are numerous noncommercial sources of methane, including near-surface sources, relying solely on methane measurements could lead to unproductive drilling.
For the most accurate results, the Romanian surveys focused on locating ethene (an olefin hydrocarbon) and heavier hydrocarbons, compounds found in conjunction with methane in dry gas. Although these compounds constitute only about 1% of the gas that was being explored for, they are important components of the geochemical signature and model. Hydrocarbon samplers were placed in the exploration areas and near existing wells – both producing and dry – to develop a geochemical pattern against which samples from the exploration areas could be compared.
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