Review of Nanoparticle Applications in Petroleum Engineering: Recent Advancements and Challenges

Chauhan, Prithvi Singh (IIT, ISM)



This review is based on latest application of nanoparticles in hydraulic fracturing, and their feasibility as compared to other conventional methods. Focusing on technical, economic, mechanisms and direction of future research. Current status and advancement give a promising future application by using unique properties of nanomaterials such as small sizes, stability, magnetic properties and surface area which are yet to be exploited to full potential. Nano materials can be inculcated in drilling in all forms. From acting as additives in drilling mud there by enhancing density, gel breaking strength, viscosity, acting as a proppant, cross linking agent etc.

There are certain problems which are difficult to overcome using macro and micro type additives due to limitations in physical, chemical and environmental characteristics. Hence, the scientists are looking for such smart fluids which can overcome these limitations. Compared to their parent materials, nanoparticles can be modified physically, chemically, electrically, thermally, thermodynamic properties and interaction potential of nanomaterial. However more investment, work and pilot projects are required to understand properties of nanomaterials at reservoir temperature and pressure.

Nanomaterials such as aluminium oxide, zinc oxide, copper oxide, silicon dioxide, low cost carbon nanotubes, fly ash nanoparticles in unconventional reservoirs need to be further researched. Moreover, focus should be put on economic analysis, performance at reservoir conditions, cross linking and agglomeration properties, wettability alterations, interfacial tensions properties. The enhanced hydrocarbon recovery from unconventional reservoirs through wettability alterations and interfacial tension decrement by nanomaterials and combined use of fracturing fluid system comprising of VES, foams, proppants gives a promising future application.