Saudi Aramco on Nanotechnology Research

Saudi Aramco uses supercomputing, as well as ongoing investigations on nanotechnology to harness the power of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

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With its vision to become an enabler and creator of new technologies, Saudi Aramco is now shifting. From its traditional role as buyers and consumers of technology, the company now formulates its own strategy and research on nanotechnology. The study and application of extremely small things that can be used across science fields, to improve the company’s oil recovery.

Saudi Aramco uses big data and supercomputing, as well as ongoing investigations on nanotechnology to harness the power of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.” It builds on the digital revolution and is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. The company’s technology drive helps minimize the environmental impact of its activities while aiming to be more efficient and cost-effective.

Maximizing Oil Recovery

In 2017, Saudi Aramco produced initiatives to maximize oil recovery. Based on the scale of the company’s reserves, the production efficiency can significantly boost long-term supply in the smallest percentage of increase in recovery rates. The actions taken to maximize oil recovery included advanced well completion technologies, artificial lift optimization and debottlenecking of production systems.

Major strides were made by Saudi Arimco’s R&D Center, resulting to the increase of the power and speed of GigaPowers, its parallel oil and water enhanced simulator, and TetraPowers, its next-generation reservoir and basin simulator. The company also developed GeoDrive, a next-generation, integrated seismic imaging platform that enables ultrahigh resolution subsurface mapping and characterization. Through, addressing key oil and gas challenges, the company’s petroleum engineers were given a better understanding of reservoir mechanics.

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Furthermore, Saudi Arimco developed related technologies and enhanced oil recovery to assess the sequestering carbon dioxide (CO2). Their project tracks the migration of the subsurface plume from the injected CO2 through 4-D geophysical monitoring, interwell tracer tests, geochemical sampling, and time-lapse logging. Its effect increased positive results in the production of crude oil.

Beside this project, Saudi Arimco also achieved 93% reservoir contact efficiency through their Geosteering Program. This enabled real-time monitoring of drilling rigs hundreds of kilometers away to achieve precise, optimal well placement. Teams of experts then analyze the transmitted data in order to make real-time decisions.

Because of the program, their productivity enhanced and the development costs reduced. The company also aimed to minimize the use of the amount of its freshwater resources through hydraulic fracturing operations.

Introduction of Nanotechnology

Saudi Aramco with the nanotechnology is really having the potential to enable the monitoring and analysis of reservoir performance, the company continues to conduct nanotechnology research projects. According to Saudi Arimco, the former identified scalable formulations of nanoparticles will be used in a single well chemical tracer field test. The company aims to improve recovery rates and long-term reservoir management.

The other developments of the company include the development of second reservoirs, Ain Dar and Fadhili. Optimizing surface facilities is one of their priorities. Saudi Arimco also completed a major project to one of the gas-oil separation plants at Zuluf offshore field.

Though the project was suspended in 1995, the company was able to repair and install new equipment and utilities, sustaining the field production capacity. Saudi Arimco’s research and development endeavors led them to new discoveries of two new oilfields in Sakab and Zumul, and one new gas reservoir in Jauf, Sabha field.

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Patricia Ann


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