Technology Focus: Nanotechnology (February 2013)
- Niall Fleming (Statoil)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- February 2013
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 140 - 140
- 2013. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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Advances in nanotechnology have revolutionized many aspects of medical treatments and electronics, and huge potential exists for similar benefits to be realized in the oil industry. Operators and service companies, in cooperation with academia, are investigating the potential applications of nanotechnology and examining the scope for crossover technologies that have been developed for other industries. The range of applications is enormous and has the potential of enhancing well integrity and productivity along with improving recovery.
Much attention is currently being directed toward surface modification using nanomaterials, nanoparticles that can be custom functionalized for specific applications, and improvements in metallurgy and cement used in well completions. With regard to surface modification, nanotechnology has been developed and used that can coat specific parts of the completion or near-wellbore region such that they are more resistant to corrosion or erosion or to the adherence of scale or hydrates. Research is also ongoing into self-healing nanosurfaces that autorepair if damaged, a feature that would be very useful in high-velocity gas completions/flowlines. When it comes to nanoparticles, an enormous range of applications has been and is being developed. Functionalized nanoparticles, whereby the particles are assigned particular attributes, are potentially the most interesting of these. This feature, combined with their size, means that nanoparticles can be transported very easily through porous media. Given these characteristics, potential and actual applications include transport of production chemicals and enhanced-oil-recovery (EOR) enhancers to specific sites with-in the near-wellbore region and reservoir where the chemicals are released at a given temperature, pH, or time.
Examples of potential applications currently under investigation include scale inhibitors and surfactants for wettability alteration in nanoenhanced EOR. Swellable nanoparticles are being considered for improving reservoir sweep where injection water would be directed from parts of the reservoir with low oil saturation to those parts with much higher saturation because of selective pore blockage. Nanoparticles can also be functionalized such that they act as nanosensors, something that could be used for reservoir monitoring or surveillance. This crossover technology from the medical industry could be used to provide information on reservoir characteristics deeper in the reservoir than conventional logging tools can probe.
The sequence of papers selected is designed to give an indication of the current activities within nanotechnology. This range of activities is enormous, and it will be exciting to see which nanotechnologies break through and become industry accepted.
Recommended additional reading at OnePetro: www.onepetro.org.
IPTC 15152 Nanotechnology Applications in Oil and Gas Exploration and Production by Sergio Kapusta, Shell, et al.
SPE 154827 Application of Nanofluid Technology To Improve Recovery in Oil and Gas Wells by Paul McElfresh, Frac Tech Services International, et al.
IPTC 15312 Fluorescent Nanobeads: A New Generation of Easily Detectable Water Tracers by Nicolas Agenet, Total, et al.
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