Written by Miranda Marquit
Nanoscience could help Big Oil to increase production.
Oil exploration is becoming less and less profitable for Big Oil, and Congress continues to threaten to get rid of its preferential tax treatment (watch out Big Oil -- one of these days it may actually happen). Nanotechnology Now reports on Big Oil and its move toward nanoscience:
Since 1999, the world's five largest international oil companies have replaced only 82% of the reserves that they've consumed, and even Royal Dutch Shell (RDS-B) CEO Jeroen van der Veer has said that "easily accessible supplies of oil and gas will no longer keep up with demand." Big Oil, through that technology on the smallest scale -- the nanoscale -- may be of help. The extreme pressure and temperatures encountered by oil exploration (especially off shore drilling in deep water), presents certain problems. Nanotechnology solutions that include special new materials could help alleviate some of these problems. Additionally, Big Oil could squeeze every last drop of oil out of their fields if they could access the nanopores that some oil is hiding in.
Big Oil so far hasn't spent much money on developing nanotechnology. But there are some start-up companies in the field. They make risky investments right now, but if Big Oil starts taking notice, it could result in a big pay off. But if risky start-ups aren't your thing, Big Oil is still likely to do well in the long run over the next decade.
Disclosure: I do not own RDS-B.