SPE IOR: Nanoparticles, polymers among tech advancements

Upstream technology advancements often materialize during hard times for industry such as low oil prices, Janeen Judah, 2017 president-elect of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and general manager for Chevron Corp.’s Southern Africa business unit, told SPE IOR conference participants in Tulsa Apr. 12.

Speaking to reporters after a luncheon speech, Judah said she personally sees emerging technology advancements for improved oil recovery being cost-effective polymers and successful field pilots using nanoparticles.   

Nanoparticles were the subject of SPE paper 179677, “Application of nanofluids for improving oil mobility in heavy oil and extra heavy oil: a field test.” It outlined the field evaluation of nanofluids for improving oil mobility in Colombia’s heavy oil fields Castilla and Chichimene.

The authors for that paper were R. Zabala of Ecopetrol along with C.A. Franco and F.B. Cortes from the National University of Colombia.

The size of nanoparticles makes them valuable in IOR applications. Nanofluids, sometimes called smart fluids, are designed by scientists adjusting the properties of nanoparticles.

In response to a news conference question about the exit of technical expertise as older engineers retire, Judah said she believes many retiring engineers and geoscientists will continue to help industry as consultants, teachers, and technical authors.

“The big crew change is happening right now. Most of them will still be around,” in some capacity, Judah said of industry people she knows who are retiring.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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