2013 R&D 100 Winner
OWL-MRIThe U.S.’s nascent status as an energy-independent nation and net producer of energy depends on technologies for the efficient discovery and extraction of oil and natural gas. Increasingly, imaging tools are the key to developing chemically and physically sensitive well-logging methods and techniques for fracturing. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’sOWL-MRI technology for MRI oil-well logging represents a significant advance in this technology area.

OWL-MRI is a magnet-free magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tool for measuring the spatial distribution and quality of oil and gas in large geological formations and the physical properties of surrounding rock that most influence the economic and environmental expense of petrochemical extraction. Using Earth’s magnetic field alone, rather than a complex array of permanent magnets, OWL-MRI “sees” many meters—rather than centimeters—deep into an oil formation, and provides information about the porosity of the rock formation and the chemistry of the fluids it contains with a resolution previously accessible only in laboratory experiments. Finally, its laser MRI detection technology delivers the sensitivity of an optical measurement without compromising the chemical and structural detail of MRI.

Fracking technology

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Development Team

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's OWL-MRI technology for MRI oil-well logging development team.


The OWL-MRI technology for MRI oil-well logging Development Team from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Alexander Pines, Principal Developer
Vikram Bajaj, Principal Developer
Scott Seltzer, Pricipal Developer
Paul Gannssle, Principal Developer