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Energies 2017, 10(3), 345; doi:10.3390/en10030345

Application of Nanoparticles in Enhanced Oil Recovery: A Critical Review of Recent Progress

College of Petroleum Engineering, China University of Petroleum (East China), Qingdao 266580, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Moran Wang
Received: 7 February 2017 / Revised: 23 February 2017 / Accepted: 6 March 2017 / Published: 11 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanotechnology for Oil and Gas Applications)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [7189 KB, uploaded 11 March 2017]   |  


The injected fluids in secondary processes supplement the natural energy present in the reservoir to displace oil. The recovery efficiency mainly depends on the mechanism of pressure maintenance. However, the injected fluids in tertiary or enhanced oil recovery (EOR) processes interact with the reservoir rock/oil system. Thus, EOR techniques are receiving substantial attention worldwide as the available oil resources are declining. However, some challenges, such as low sweep efficiency, high costs and potential formation damage, still hinder the further application of these EOR technologies. Current studies on nanoparticles are seen as potential solutions to most of the challenges associated with these traditional EOR techniques. This paper provides an overview of the latest studies about the use of nanoparticles to enhance oil recovery and paves the way for researchers who are interested in the integration of these progresses. The first part of this paper addresses studies about the major EOR mechanisms of nanoparticles used in the forms of nanofluids, nanoemulsions and nanocatalysts, including disjoining pressure, viscosity increase of injection fluids, preventing asphaltene precipitation, wettability alteration and interfacial tension reduction. This part is followed by a review of the most important research regarding various novel nano-assisted EOR methods where nanoparticles are used to target various existing thermal, chemical and gas methods. Finally, this review identifies the challenges and opportunities for future study regarding application of nanoparticles in EOR processes. View Full-Text
Keywords: nanoparticles; enhanced oil recovery (EOR); review study; water flooding; gas injection; thermal methods; chemical flooding nanoparticles; enhanced oil recovery (EOR); review study; water flooding; gas injection; thermal methods; chemical flooding

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Sun, X.; Zhang, Y.; Chen, G.; Gai, Z. Application of Nanoparticles in Enhanced Oil Recovery: A Critical Review of Recent Progress. Energies 2017, 10, 345.

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