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New method to increase yield in crude oil production

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Partner keyword: 
Liquid fossil fuel
Energy management
Micro- and Nanotechnology related to energy
Environmental Engineering / Technology
Soil and Groundwater Pollution
Exploration Services
Oil, gas and coal
Other energy production
Other pollution and recycling related


A German university seeks licensees for a method to increase the flow rate in oil production by blocking water flow paths in sediments. A nano-goethite blocker is used to reduce the conductivity of sedimentary layers. The particles are non-toxic and easy to use. They furthermore adsorb contaminants.



Scientists at a German university developed a method for reducing the hydraulic conductivity of sedimentary or rock layers for the purpose of improving crude oil production. In this process, colloidal goethite iron particles, which are suspended in a liquid, are introduced into the sediment or rock layers via the drilling device. In the pores of the sedimentary or rock layers, the pre- treated particles gather to block the underground preferential flow paths of the water. Blocking the water flow paths optimizes oil production because the flow rate in oil production is thus increased.

In addition, the particles stop propagation of contaminants after accidents and damages. Sediment contamination is prevented or restricted through the introduction of non-toxic particles into the ground and the subsequent reduction of the water flow through the source. A secondary or tertiary degradation of petroleum in aquifers can occur and a progression of contamination in the subsurface can be prevented. The process has already proven itself in source remediation as it blocks possible flow paths in the remediation of heavy metal contaminants.

Industrial licensees from the fields of crude oil exploration and energy and environment engineering are sought to implement the method.

Advantages & innovations

Cooperation plus value: 
Blocking of water flow paths in oil extraction to improve the yield is a new method that has advantages as it uses non-toxic, inexpensive particles and is easy to use. It is more environmentally friendly offering these further advantages: • Blockage of flow paths in the rehabilitation of heavy metals. • Pollutants biodegradation of impurities in sediments • Contaminants are adsorbed by the particles in sediments • Prevention of contaminant propagation

Stage of development

Cooperation stage dev stage: 
Under development/lab tested

Partner sought

Cooperation area: 
The university offers licenses to interested companies for the invention and the patent application. Production capacities for the production of the particle suspension are available. Partners could be involved in crude oil, exploitation enhancement, energy engineering, geological sciences, environmental engineering.