Scottish Scientists have announced that nanotechnology is to be utilized by the oil and gas industry to assist with production in the North Sea.
Nanotech is more commonly associated with medical sciences, with limited application in the oil and gas sector. However, academics from the University of Aberdeen are pioneering a new method that harnesses the tech to enhance the efficiency of cyclic gas wells.
The work is based on the development of so-called ‘smart fluids’ using nanoparticles that significantly improve existing techniques that promote well production. The project is being led by Dr Amin Sharifi and Dr Roozbeh Rafati from the University’s School of Engineering.
Dr Sharifi commented: “There are challenges associated with the gas production from mature reservoirs where reservoir pressure is low and gas production may become uneconomic using the current technologies.
“We have been discussing these issues with oil and gas companies since 2018, and based on fundamental research has been carried out here at the School of Engineering, we are using nanotechnology to develop smart fluids that have the potential to overcome these challenges.
“Over the next 15 months, we aim to prove that this technology will work, and if successful we will then move to a North Sea field trial in 2021.”
Dr Rafati added: “The potential for this technology is huge, with significant annual production improvements foreseen per gas well.
“Not only will it provide economic benefit through operational savings, but it will also offer an environmentally friendly solution compared to current technologies. We believe it will be a game-changer for the industry.”
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The project is also supported by the Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) and three industrial partners – Chrysaor Production UK Limited, Schlumberger and ChampionX.
Craig Hodge, Project Engineer at the OGTC, said: “The development of nanotechnology to improve foam performance used as a method of artificial lift, has exciting potential to be a cost-effective means of significantly increasing recovery from low pressure, water loaded gas fields.
“Engineering nanoparticles to enhance foam performance and stability will not only maximise the uptime of wells but will improve the environmental profile of foamer treatments through reduced chemical demand.”