Optimizing hydrocarbon recovery is a high priority target globally. Key milestone for this goal is full and in depth characterization of oil reservoirs. In this perception, improving Laboratory and Logging (field) methods for oil reservoir characterization is an issue of critical importance. Currently, important logging methods are based on utilizing earth’s gravitational, magnetic, and electrical fields. Searching for local perturbations in these naturally occurring fields may be of high economic interest due to the concealed geological features, which are related with efficient and cost-benefit planning of oil production projects. A major disadvantage of a great number of state of the art logging technologies is the fact that they penetrate and provide information only a few inches from the wellbore, while others lack the required resolution and the capacity to deeply penetrate reservoir lithology, especially in tight formations. Besides, in harsh environment, like high temperature and high pressure, many of the logging tools become unreliable.


By introducing sensors and techniques combined with imaging-contrast agents, altering optical, magnetic, and electrical properties, one can illuminate the geophysical properties of reservoir fluids and rocks far beyond the wellbore, and acquire three-dimensional distribution of reservoir fluids and rocks, and dynamic fluid paths in distance of several hundred meters. In this context, nanotechnology derived imaging contrast agents, such as magnetic nanoparticles, have the potential to unveil long distance reservoir architecture, establishing fluid-flow trends, and identify reserve growth potential. The high magnetic susceptibilities of these particles (compared to most reservoir rocks and fluids) make them ideal potential magnetic contrast agents to mix with proppant and help to monitor the progress of hydraulic fracturing jobs downhole.


This project aims to the development of novel Magnetic Nano-Particles (MNPs) with controlled size, shape, and surface coating, acquiring long-term aqueous stability and long-distance transportability into the harsh oil reservoir environment. MNPs will be flooded with water into oil reservoirs, and their flow paths will be tracked with logging Electromagnetic Methods (magnetic permeability alteration maps), providing thus a novel methodology for 3D mapping of fracture architecture and fluids distribution in the Middle-East Carbonate Reservoirs.

The project will last three (3) years and will be realized by:

the Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (ADMA-OPCO) (United Arabic Emirates)

and a Consortium of Academic partners comprising of:

  • The Petroleum Institute – PI (United Arabic Emirates) Lead Principal Investigator,
  • National Center for Scientific Research Demokritos – NCSRD (Greece) Co-lead Principal Investigator,
  • Korea Basic Science Institute – KBSI (Rep. of Korea),
  • University of Ioannina – UoI (Greece),
  • Vanderbilt University – VU (USA).

The project includes two phases:

1st Phase. Laboratory and small-scale pilot implementation (current phase).

2nd Phase. Development phase, i.e. field implementation in ADMA’s Oil reservoir.