Vol. 1 No. 5 (2018): Current Issue

Nanotechnology: Innovative Applications in the Oil & Gas Industry

Muili Feyisitan Fakoya
Mewbourne School of Petroleum & Geological Engineering, The University of Oklahoma, USA
Harshkumar Patel
Mewbourne School of Petroleum & Geological Engineering, The University of Oklahoma, USA
Subhash Nandlal Shah
Emeritus Professor, The University of Oklahoma, USA
Published April 18, 2018
  • Nanotechnology,
  • Oil and gas,
  • Exploration,
  • Drilling fluids,
  • Hydraulic fracturing fluids,
  • Enhanced oil recovery,
  • Formation fines migration,
  • Cementing,
  • Heavy oil recovery
  • ...More


Many research efforts are being directed towards the unlocking of immense and diverse benefits of nanotechnology in the oil and gas industry. Mainly, the research efforts have been through the usage of various nanoparticle types and sizes. Nanoparticles exhibit unique properties due to their huge surface area and highly activated particle surface.

Nanoparticles can be deployed in different fluid systems to facilitate new applications, alternative methodologies, and reinforcement of existing technologies as reported in literature. Most of the earlier studies have revealed some interesting applications of non-metallic nanoparticles, and recently, researchers have presented innovative usages of metallic and para-magnetic nanoparticles. Depending on the type and size, nanoparticles have been observed to alter various fluid and petrophysical properties as well as molecular level physico-chemical processes − base fluid viscosity, filtration loss control, fines migration control, foam or emulsion stability, interfacial tension, thermal upgradation of heavy oil etc. Currently, nanoparticles have been identified to have potential applications in almost all disciplines of the oil and gas industry such as exploration, drilling, logging, hydraulic fracturing, formation damage, enhanced oil recovery, ex-situ upgrading of oil shales/bitumen etc.

This paper aims to provide an overview of the major applications of nanoparticles, their potential benefits, and associated economical and/or technical challenges and solutions. The authors will also highlight some of the latest developments and ongoing research to identify promising areas for future research. Overall, this study is intended to serve as a useful guide for both researchers as well as practicing professionals in the oil and gas industry.