Can nanotechnology enhance oil production?

Maersk Oil and the University of Copenhagen are currently working together to develop new ways of recovering oil from chalk.

The scientists involved in the project are applying nanotechnology to gain new knowledge about how oil, water and rock fabric interact – and to unlock oil that is currently inaccessible.

If the researchers do manage to find a way to extract trapped oil efficiently, it could help prolong the production of oil in the North Sea.

The project is also expected to deepen our understanding of how suitable chalk reservoirs are for storing CO2.

In fact, using nanotechnology to extract oil from chalk could help not only to reduce the amount of energy we consume when producing oil, but also enable us to use fewer chemicals and improve our environmental performance even further.


  • Nanotechnology can be defined as the engineering of functional systems on a nanoscale from 0.1 to 100nm.
  • The field encompasses a range of technologies that employ and blend disciplines ranging from physics and chemistry to biology and medicine.
  • Essentially, nanotechnology is based on knowledge of how individual atoms, molecules and materials interact.