SPE Trondheim had a Distinguished Lecture event on Monday, Nov. 9. Professor Jenn-Tai Liang from Texas A&M presented “Think Outside of the Box: Nano Drug Delivery Technology for Oil Field Applications”. The event was held at the Statoil Research Center, Rotvoll.
The following is an excerpt from his presentation:
The take home message of my talk is to “Think Outside of the Box” when it comes to developing new technologies for oil recovery applications in both conventional and unconventional reservoirs. To improve oil and gas recovery, we inject all kinds of expensive chemicals into the subsurface. Due to the often hostile downhole environment, most oilfield chemicals cannot survive extreme temperature, salinity and PH. There is a strong incentive to develop improved techniques to protect and control/delay the release of oil and gas field chemicals so that they can be successfully transported to the target locations underground. Based on the drug delivery technologies from the pharmaceutical industry, a chemical delivery system was developed using nanoparticles to entrap and protect oilfield chemicals from the hostile underground environments. Nanoparticle colloids have emerged in pharmaceutical products and in some aspects, the pharmaceutical industry has led the way in nanotechnology. The seeming unlimited price for small quantities of pharmaceutical stands in stark contrast to the large volume of commodity chemicals needed for oil and gas well treatments; however, the same basic formulation concepts apply. Nanoparticles must effectively stabilize, deliver, target, and/or sustain the effect of the oilfield chemicals.
In this talk, the basic concepts behind the development of a cost-effective nanoscale chemical delivery system were discussed. Example applications for both conventional and unconventional reservoirs including delayed gelation for in-depth conformance control using polymer gels, as well as protection and controlled release of enzymes for effective cleanup were presented.
Dr. Jenn-Tai Liang is a full professor in the Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University. He received his PhD degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Before joining Texas A&M, Dr. Liang was a professor of Petroleum Engineering and director of Tertiary Oil Recovery program at the University of Kansas. Prior to that, he served as a program manager in upstream oil and gas research at the US DOE ldaho National Laboratory. His research focus is on the application of nanotechnologies for conformance control, flow assurance, hydraulic fracturing, fluid cleanup, in both conventional and unconventional reservoirs.