AEC renews TNO ‘quantum dot’ reservoir monitoring program

Nanoparticles’ optical behavior can be tuned to address specific reservoir sensing requirements.

The Advanced Energy Consortium of the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas has renewed its contract with Netherlands-based R&D unit TNO for research into ‘quantum dot’ sensor systems. Quantum dots, originally developed for use in medical imaging, are nanoparticles with tunable optical behavior that have potential application in reservoir sensing. The nanoparticles are small enough to pass through a reservoir, and their well-defined and distinct optical behavior allows for their detection at very low concentrations. Specific coatings provide the quantum dots with stability under reservoir conditions and determine their specific response to parameters such as temperature or chemical environment.

The trials were conducted under realistic reservoir conditions of high salinity brine, crude oil and at high temperature and pressure. The sensors’ optical response demonstrated the desired multi-parameter dependence and a scalable process for quantum dot production was developed. In the new contract the main focus will be on long term behavior of the particles in the reservoir. AEC members are Shell, Halliburton, Petrobras, Schlumberger, BP, Conoco Philips, Total and BG. More from the AEC.

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