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Application of Nanotechnology in well plugging and abandonment of depleted oil fields

School of Engineering

About the Project

When oil and gas wells do no longer produce enough hydrocarbons to remain economically viable, they become liability instead of asset. At that stage, operators are looking for the most economical, reliable solutions for responsibly abandoning the well. To prepare a well to be closed permanently, the service companies usually use cement plugs be placed and tested across any open hydrocarbon-bearing formations, across all casing shoes, across freshwater aquifers, and perhaps several other areas near the surface. Although cement is a strong material and has successfully been used in oil and gas industry for well plugging, failure of downhole cement plugs and annular cement sheaths can lead to well integrity problems and subsequent well leakages. With time and due to geo-mechanical stress from the formation, flow paths can form at the casing-cement or cement-formation interfaces, or in cracks within the bulk cement. Therefore, reinforcing and monitoring of cement plugs are necessary for any permanent well plug and abandonment activity. In this project, the student will use different nanofibers to improve the structural integrity of the concrete and test their performance in presence of saline water and acid gases. He/She will also test the electrical conductivity and capability of data transfer when nanofibers are added to the concrete.

Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a UK honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Petroleum Engineering or Civil Engineering or Mechanical Engineering or Electrical Engineering or Material Engineering with an essential background in nanotechnology, chemistry, cement and concrete.


• Apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering
• State name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor
• State ‘Self-funded’ as Intended Source of Funding
• State the exact project title on the application form

When applying please ensure all required documents are attached:

• All degree certificates and transcripts (Undergraduate AND Postgraduate MSc-officially translated into English where necessary)
• Detailed CV

Informal inquiries can be made to Dr R Rafati (), with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ()

Funding Notes

This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of the discipline of Engineering. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for Tuition fees, living expenses and maintenance. Details of the cost of study can be found by visiting View Website. THERE IS NO FUNDING ATTACHED TO THIS PROJECT

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