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April 11th, 2009
Nanotechnology, the control of matter on the atomic and molecular scale, might someday boost the average global recovery factor of oil and gas by 10 percentage points, said an oil company executive at the RMI Oilfield Breakfast Forum in Houston Apr. 8.
Paul Ching, chairman, chief executive officer, and president of Meridian Resource Corp., Houston, described nanotechnology research conducted by the Advanced Energy Consortium (AEC) at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is executive advisor.
Ching said nanosensors have the potential to assess rock and fluid properties from inside the pore spaces of reservoirs.
He estimated the possible gain in average recovery factor, which he put at 28-30% now, in response to a question. Responding to another question, he estimated that commercial use of downhole nanosensors might begin in 5-10 years.
Research in the use of nanotechnology in the oil and gas industry is more advanced for materials and fluids, he noted, predicting an "explosion" in application of the technology in those areas in the next 5 years.
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