American Journal of Applied Sciences

Current and Future Nanotech Applications in the Oil Industry

Cocuzza Matteo, Pirri Candido, Rocca Rocca Vera and Verga Francesca

DOI : 10.3844/ajassp.2012.784.793

American Journal of Applied Sciences

Volume 9, Issue 6

Pages 784-793


Problem statement: Nanotech applications in the oil industry are not completely new: nanoparticles have been successfully used in drilling muds for the past 50 years. Only recently all the other key areas of the oil industry, such as exploration, primary and assisted production, monitoring, refining and distribution, are approaching nanotechnologies as the potential Philosopher's stone for facing critical issues related to remote locations (such as ultra-deep water and artic environments), harsh conditions (high-temperature and high-pressure formations), non-conventional reservoirs (heavy oils, tight gas, tar sands). The general aim is to bridge the gap between the oil industry and nanotechnology community using various initiatives such as consortia between oil and service companies and nanotechnology excellence centres, networking communities, workshops and conferences and even dedicated research units inside some oil companies. Quite surprisingly, even if a lot of discussion is taking place, no substantial research on these topics is currently being undertaken around the world by the petroleum industry. A very different attitude is demonstrated by other industries and the advances they achieved are outstanding. Approach: This study provides an overview of the most interesting nanotechnology applications and critically highlights the potential benefits that could come from transposing the same-or adapted-solutions to the oil industry. Results/Conclusion: As extensively illustrated, some technologies which are already available off-the-shelf can offer real improvements in dealing with some specific issues of the oil industry. Other technologies can require further elaboration before direct use, but their potential is enormous.


© 2012 Cocuzza Matteo, Pirri Candido, Rocca Rocca Vera and Verga Francesca. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.