The Bureau of Economic Geology at The University of Texas at Austin’s Jackson School of Geosciences announced the formation of the Advanced Energy Consortium (AEC), a multimillion-dollar research consortium dedicated to the development of micro and nanotechnology applications to increase oil and gas production.
The Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology at Rice University, which has extensive nanotechnology expertise, will be a collaborative technical partner.
Geoscientists believe that more oil and gas can be extracted by improving their understanding of the chemical and physical characteristics of existing oil and gas reservoirs. Using current technology, typically 60% of oil remains underground after primary, secondary and in some cases even tertiary recovery methods.
The consortium’s primary goal is to develop intelligent subsurface micro and nanosensors that can be injected into oil and gas reservoirs to help characterize the space in three dimensions and improve the recovery of existing and new hydrocarbon resources.
Intelligent sensors could range from hundreds of micrometers down to hundreds of nanometers. These functional units would collect data about the physical characteristics of hydrocarbon reservoirs.
Members of the privately funded consortium include BP America Inc., Baker Hughes Incorporated, ConocoPhillips, Halliburton Energy Services Inc., Marathon Oil Corp., Occidental Oil and Gas, and Schlumberger. The Bureau of Economic Geology will manage the Houston-based AEC on behalf of the funding members.
The AEC will solicit leading universities and researchers worldwide for competitive project proposals and the most promising will be funded.