Applications of Micro and Nano Technologies in the Oil and Gas Industry - Overview of the Recent Progress
- Xiangling Kong (Petroleum Institute) | Michael Ohadi (The Petroleum Institute)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, 1-4 November, Abu Dhabi, UAE
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2010. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 4.3.3 Aspaltenes, 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 7.4.5 Future of energy/oil and gas, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 5.1.8 Seismic Modelling, 4.2.3 Materials and Corrosion, 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 5.7.2 Recovery Factors, 5.6.9 Production Forecasting, 5.8.1 Tight Gas, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 1.14 Casing and Cementing, 5.4.7 Chemical Flooding Methods (e.g., Polymer, Solvent, Nitrogen, Immiscible CO2, Surfactant, Vapex), 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 6.5.7 Climate Change, 1.5 Drill Bits, 6.5.3 Waste Management, 4.6 Natural Gas, 5.9.2 Geothermal Resources, 7.5.1 Ethics, 3 Production and Well Operations, 7.4.3 Market analysis /supply and demand forecasting/pricing, 5.4.2 Gas Injection Methods, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 4.3.4 Scale
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Micro and nano technologies have already contributed significantly to technological advances in a number of industries, including the electronics, biomedical, pharmaceutical, materials and manufacturing, aerospace, photography, and more recently the energy industries. Micro and nano technologies have the potential to introduce revolutionary changes in several areas of the oil and gas industry, such as exploration, drilling, production, enhanced oil recovery, refining and distribution. For example, nanosensors might provide more detailed and accurate information about reservoirs; specially fabricated nanoparticles can be used for scale inhibition; structural nanomaterials could enable the development of petroleum industry equipment that is much lighter and more reliable and long-lasting; and nanomembranes could enhance the gas separation and removal of impurities from oil and gas streams. Other emerging applications of micro and nano technologies in the petroleum industry are new types of "smart fluids?? for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and drilling. In short, there are numerous areas in which nanotechnology can contribute to more efficient, less expensive, and more environmentally sound technologies. This paper provides an overview of the micro and nano technologies with a particular focus on nanotech-based solutions for the oil and gas and the broader energy industry. Recent developments in research in areas of significance to the oil and gas industry are briefly reviewed and include two case study examples. The potential opportunities and challenges that face future trends of nanotechnology applications in the oil and gas industry are also discussed.
The global demand for energy is anticipated to continue to increase over the next few decades with the expectation that the world's energy consumption will increase by as much as 50% in the next 20 years. Although the use of alternative energy sources, such as nuclear and renewable energy will increase in the coming years, the increase will be relatively small and the main role of the alternative energy sources, at least for the next two decades, will be to complement and supplement, rather than replace, the use of hydrocarbons. Accordingly, meeting the World's growing energy demand will be a major challenge in the coming decades and will only be possible with revolutionary breakthroughs in the oil and gas industry's core science and engineering. Breakthroughs in nanotechnology have the potential to move the industry beyond the current alternatives for energy supply by introducing technologies that are more efficient and more environmentally sound.
Broadly speaking, nanotechnology refers to a field of applied science and technology whose unifying theme is the control of matter on the atomic and moleculer scale, generally 100 nanometers or smaller, and the fabrication of devices with critical dimensions that lie within that size range. Specifically, advancements in nanotechnology have led to development of significantly enhanced enabling materials, tools, and devices with features and characteristics that cannot be matched by conventional technologies. Research and development in nanotechnology has exploited the unique combinations of mechanical, thermal, electronic, optical, magnetic, and chemical properties observed at the nano-length scale (Krishnamoori, 2006).
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