International Petroleum Technology Conference, 2011
Authors: Sergio Kapusta, Leandro Balzano, Paul M. Te Riele

The oil and gas industry is facing difficult challenges as it tries to supply the increasing energy demands of a growing population. Conventional resources and exploration and production techniques might not be sufficient to attend to this demand. Nanotechnology can offer some solutions to these challenges.

Nanotechnology has had an enormous impact in almost every industry, from consumer electronics to healthcare and telecommunications, but not in oil and gas exploration and production. Although nano-sized catalysts have been used in refining and petrochemical processes for many years, the use of nanomaterials and nanotechniques has only recently entered the upstream domain. The largest impact within the upstream business is expected in subsurface applications, for instance contrast agents for advanced exploration and surveillance, novel fluids for enhanced oil recovery, and better analytical techniques for the characterization of oil and rock interactions. This paper will showcase some of the applications of nanotechnology to the exploration and production business, with particular emphasis on the needs to scale up the technologies from bench-top to reservoir size.

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