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Researchers at Qatar University work to make oil and gas extraction safer and cheaper | Qatar University

Researchers at Qatar University work to make oil and gas extraction safer and cheaper


The Problem

In an economy dependent largely on oil and natural gas revenue, the process of extracting these natural resources must be both safe and cheap. Oil and gas companies both within and outside Qatar can suffer billions from circulation loss when drilling for valuable fuels, which can also affect the national gross domestic product of the country. For example, during the drilling process, if rock fractures, the expensive fluids can escape into the fissures causing loss and costing money as well as time. This loss of fluids can also be dangerous as seen in various international oil spills. For this reason, the extraction process, which is a major cost element, must be refined. 

The solution

Qatar University researchers in collaboration with the University of Oklahoma in the United States developed a polymeric gel that injects into leaky rock fractures to prevents loss of drilling fluids, seals fractures and shuts-off water in oil and gas reservoirs.

Lead Principal Investigator of the project Dr. Ibnelwaleed Ali Hussein, a Research Professor at Qatar University who also works in the University’s Gas Processing Center says the gel is unique in that it includes functionalized sand particles, which gives the formula strength. The gel, which is liquid at room temperature, hardens in the rock, where temperatures and pressures are higher, making it a solid solution against the leakages.

Working under Dr. Hussein’s guidance is Co-Supervisor Dr. Mustafa Nasser, master’s student Mohamed Shamlooh, QU Research Assistant Ahmed Hamza, Professor Saeed Salehi and his PhD student Musaab Magzoub from Oklahoma University. Together, the team now work on developing a protocol for injecting the gel. Dr. Hussein is also working on making the formula more environmentally friendly, an important element in today’s world.

The discovery could greatly elevate the drilling process as it outperforms the gels currently available on the market. The team is also in the process of signing a MoU with a local company to commercialize the product for use. Dr. Hussein says, “Oil and gas are at the heart of the economy, and this research will promote knowledge and technology in this area – any development in this area will be good for the country.”
Learn more 

Dr. Ibnelwaleed Ali Hussein
Lead Principal Investigator of Project and Research Professor at Qatar University

Dr. Ibnelwaleed at the lab