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Texas Energy Consortium To Close NanoSensor Research RFP August 20

by Editor1 last modified August 08, 2008 - 14:01

The Advanced Energy Consortium (AEC), a research group comprised of the world’s top energy companies along with University of Texas and Rice University, is looking for proposals for nanosensor technologies to help with oil and gas discovery and recovery. The consortium has a $6-$7 million RFP for micro- and nanosensors pending, with the latest round closing August 20.

Texas Energy Consortium To Close NanoSensor Research RFP August 20

AEC’s members include BP America Inc., Baker Hughes Inc., ConocoPhillips, Halliburton Energy Services Inc., Marathon Oil Corp., Occidental Oil and Gas, Schlumberger, Shell and Total. Rice University, will bring extensive nanotechnology expertise to AEC as a collaborative technical partner. AEC is managed by the Bureau of Economic Geology at The University of Texas at Austin's Jackson School of Geosciences.

AEC’s nanosensor RFP and supporting documentation are available here for download
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AEC’s RFP seeks to develop micro- and nanoscale technology for “enhanced reservoir characterization” and “hydrocarbon detection” in conventional oil and gas reservoirs -- with the ultimate goal of increasing hydrocarbon recovery from known fields, according to Sean Murphy, Manager of Advanced Energy Consortium, Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas at Austin.

Inside AEC’s Nanotechnology-for-Energy Focus
AEC’s primary goal is to fund research that leads to the development of intelligent subsurface micro- and nanosensors that can be injected into oil and gas reservoirs for 3 key purposes:
  • To help characterize the space in three dimensions,
  • Identify fluids and locations, and
  • Improve recovery of existing and new hydrocarbon resources.
AEC scientists also expect that by leveraging existing surface infrastructure, the use of nanoscale technologies will minimize environmental impact.

In specific, AEC intends to develop micro- and nanoscale sensors that will measure the chemical and physical properties of reservoir fluids and rocks beyond the well bore, the three-dimensional distribution of these reservoir fluids (petroleum and natural gas) and rocks (layering and compartmentalization), and the dynamic (4-D) paths of fluids as they move through the reservoir.

“Geoscientists think they can extract more oil and gas by improving understanding of the chemical and physical characteristics of the host reservoirs and their hydrocarbon distribution,” Murphy said “Under current technology, 60 percent of oil typically remains underground even after secondary and sometimes tertiary attempts to recover the resource,” he added.

A challenging aspect of the application is the harsh downhole environment: conventional reservoir temperatures typically range from 100 to 350°F and pressures from 5,000 to 20,000 pounds per square inch. Nanosensors would be surrounded by charged rock surfaces and complex fluid mixtures that could include oil, hydrocarbon gas, water, acids, alkalis, tars, brines, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. Conventional microelectronic sensors cannot operate under these conditions.

The AEC also seeks research proposals that address sensor development, emplacement, recovery, protection, location, power, telemetry and data management.